Driven: 2015 Audi RS5 Coupe
Welcome Dr Jekyll, or should I say Mr Hyde?
Anyone that is familiar with the story of the mad doctor ultimately knows that it revolves around multiple personality disorder, but with a physical nature. Why I reference the classic tale of Dr Jekyll and not the modern day Hulk rendition is that the car I would would like to pair the above mentioned story is better suited to the troubled Dr and beastly Hyde, rather than the calculated Bruce Banner and his destructive green counterpart.
Most modern cars try to be everything in one tight package. Yes this mammoth Range Rover can tackle off-road surfaces, yet the limousine interior is capable of a 0-100 km/h time that would frighten most featherweight sports cars. You have multiple modes for multiple features.
Some manufacturers get these split personality switches spot on, while others, well the car just gets louder, more uncomfortable and a little more annoying.
So what have Audi produced with their RS5? The make and model being a bright blue 2015 4.2 litre, s-tronic German Executive. Well, it is a little confusing as you expect the car to be exceptionally comfortable in comfortable mode, yet face-ripping in dynamic or individual mode, yet it isn’t.
The RS5 is mixed and almost quirky. Now R750 000 is a lot of money to spend on “used quirky” executive coupe, but give me a second, let me talk you through this.
The car is beautifully put together like most four-ringed German cars, but the RS badge always adds an extra touch of “nice” to the car. The RS sports seats position you exactly where you need to be, not too low, not too high, snug yet firm in the middle of the seat. The amount of natural light and open-views around the car are just sublime and the controls feel polished and firm.
Yet, when you fire up, what could arguably be one of the best motors on the market, the quirks seem to awaken. No, not from the engine note, and not from the baritone exhaust, these are perfectly aligned with the car’s persona. But rather from the drive.
Once on the road, with the RS5 set in comfort (Dr Jekyll) mode, you realise that the ride is still a little too stiff. This evidently is not from the suspension settings but rather from the super slim low-profile tyres, but you would assume that it would still be a little softer. Another noticeable quirk is that RS5 tends to rumble as you ride along. So the exhaust is not completely set to quiet-mode either. Then there is the wind noise. This apparently is an unintended feature of all larger Audis. It has been well documented, from multiple journalists that once the needle peaks over 92 km/h, there is a slight “ph-weeee-eeep” of wind noise from either the driver or passenger side window, not both, just the one. A quirk I can deal, but one that I would never expect from a high-end coupe like this. The RS5 also barely ticks over 2 500 rpm as it flips through gears, this makes it really efficient. The fuel consumption is around 9 or 11 l/100km combined on the open-road and city driving, not bad for a V8.
So one can say that in comfort mode, Dr Jekyll is the kind of doctor that has a slightly uncomfortable consulting room with an unnoticeable wheezing nostril. Yet is efficient, precise and rather affordable. Not perfect, but gets the job done, and does it well.
Another thing that Dr Jekyll doesn’t like to do is show off infront of, well anyone. The large, aggressive grill and slight rumble of the exhaust is quite contradictory to the above statement, but in Dr Jekyll mode when burying your right foot into the floorboard from a standstill, the RS5 does this weird thing where it accelerates, but in a cautious manner. A bit like Usian Bolt blasting off the start line, in a pair of soft wooly slippers.
So take a note, if you want to create an acceleration-reaction video with your grandmother, remember to flip the switch to Mr Hyde, dynamic,mode.
The first indication that you have flipped from the good Dr to Mr Hyde is that at idle, the revs take a slight jump. The steering becomes a little firmer and heavier and the throttle response is fractionally more sensitive, but not completely frightening.
Flipping the switch to Mr (monster) Hyde, your expectations and awareness levels are automatically heightened. The moment you squeeze the right pedal you can feel the torque transfer between the front and the rear of the car as each tyre seeks to grip as much tar as mechanically possible. You are forced into the backrest with your knuckles tightening around the steering wheel. The rev needle flips past four, five and six thousand revs without complaints as the s-tronic system lines up the next gear like a line of well placed dominos.
Yet the acceleration is not beastly, it does not warrant a trip to the chiropractor the next day, and it definitely will not rattle any loose house windows for the next four blocks. Mr Hyde is a little civilised. The all-wheel drive keeps the car stable and rooted to the road, always! This doesn’t mean it isn’t fast, no sir, it is, but it manages to propel you forward very quickly, but in a gentlemanly fashion. Almost like Usian Bolt blasting off the line in a Savile Row 3 piece suit.
So, what have Audi actually managed to produce with the RS5? Well, it is neither obnoxiously perfect, nor is absolutely flawless, but rather exactly what you should get when buying a sports coupe, sport being the key word. Audi haven’t made this car to fit every buyer profile across all markets. They have manufactured a car that simply eats as many miles as you need it to, a car that fits the profile of someone that loves to drive without having to adjust the entire setup. It is not too soft, too hard, too loud, too aggressive or too thirsty. It is a true sports car.
It has always been said that if you need to cover a large amount of ground quickly, you should do it in a large Audi. In my opinion, the large Audi at the top of the list should be the RS5.
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