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Named for Rennsport, the German word for Racing Sport, Audi's RS models are quickly gaining on M and AMG competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The RS 5 is a high-performance sibling of the A5 and S5 coupes, and new to the U.S. market for 2013.
Bred to race, the RS 5 features a 4-liter direct injection V8 that cranks out a massive 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated-manual transmission sends power to all four wheels via Audi’s built-to-race quattro all-wheel drive system.
According to Audi, this powertrain nets the RS 5 a 0-to-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds -- this means it's quicker than a Porsche 911. The RS 5 has a top speed of 174 mph.
But the RS 5 is about more than speed. It comes as well-optioned as you can possibly imagine with a base MSRP just north of $68,000. That’s not bad for a four-passenger coupe that can hang with some of the top sports cars on the market today.
The RS 5 is not without its flaws, however. The lack of an adjustable suspension is a definite negative -- when you're stuck in constant racing mode, ride quality can approximate that of a go-cart on a cobblestone road. Another glaring oversight is the fact that, while Audi stresses value in its RS lineup, the RS 5 still costs much more than its closest competitors: the BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Cadillac CTS-V.
The high-performance Audi RS 5 comes in a single trim level – 4.2 – but it has more than enough features to satisfy just about any buyer. Standard features include: a sport suspension system; electro-mechanical steering; automatic xenon headlights; a dual exhaust system with silver tips; 19-inch wheels; an RS 5-specific body kit; tri-zone climate control; a flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; a panoramic sunroof; 12-way power front seats wrapped in Nappa leather; and an Audi concert radio with 10 speakers and AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM capabilities.
BMW's famed luxury, slightly cheaper and stylish body, but less power and slower to 60 mph
Plenty of horsepower, faster to 60 mph and luxurious, but no all-wheel drive and more luxury than sport
Monstrously powerful V-8, just as fast to 60 mph and lower price, but standard rear-wheel drive and low mpg
Refined track car, Porsche legacy and good mpg, but very expensive, slower to 60 mph