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.