2018 Audi RS5 Second Drive: Swift Progress

– Phoenix, Arizona

The new 2018 Audi RS5 may not make any more horsepower than its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean there are no improvements. Weight is down by 132 pounds, torque is up by a whopping 126 pound-feet, and the sprint to 60 miles per hour takes 0.8 second less than before. Oh, and fuel economy has improved, too. What those figures don’t tell you, though, is this: the RS5 is a stupid amount of fun to drive.

On wide, open, sweeping roads outside Phoenix, the new Audi RS5 shines in the way it can devour tarmac. I open the throttle, dive into bends, and sweep around corners at speed. With the adaptive suspension dialed up to Dynamic mode and the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo2 tires grabbing hold of the road, I carry lots of speed through bends as I hurtle the car through Arizona. This is a car that nudges me, encourages me, nay begs me, to drive faster.

2018 Audi RS5

Motivation comes from a biturbocharged 2.9-liter V6, replacing the 4.2-liter V8 that revved to a delightful 8,250 rpm. This application of the 2.9-liter mill is unique to the RS5; though it’s related to the one in the Porsche Panamera, Audi specs different cooling and intake plumbing, a new crankshaft, and a different compression ratio. Its 444 horsepower output rating is identical to the V8’s, but there is not only more torque (443 lb-ft versus 317), but it arrives from 1,900 rpm whereas the V8’s wasn’t available until 4,000 rpm. In other words: there’s more grunt more often. The 0-60 sprint takes just 3.7 seconds if you ...