Hello Gorgeous – Sports Car Test Drive Audi RS5

Kristin Treager Audi RS5When I first saw the Audi RS5, I exclaimed (in my best Bar- bara Streisand voice), “hello gorgeous!”Not only is the RS5 visually striking, but it’s paired with one heck of a power plant. Under the hood you will find a 4.2 Liter engine which produces 450 horsepower. This is the same motor that is featured in the popular Audi R8 super car…that’s pret- ty exciting considering this is a pas- senger vehicle! Though the engine is impressive, what really makes this car special is its transmission. The RS5 fea- tures a seven speed dual clutch auto- matic transmission with paddle shift- ers. As a race car driver, I am skeptical about streetcars with paddle shift- ers. They often won’t let you up shift when you want nor downshift when you want, completely defeating the purpose of having paddle shifters in the first place. But the RS5 rises above this common problem. The CPU will protect you from over revving the motor, yet for the most part, the com- puter will let you downshift when you desire. The car even has an auto- matic blipper which rev matches your downshift for a seamless transition.
My only complaint is that if you ne- glect to use the paddles for an ex- tended period of time, the car reverts back to automatic mode…even with the “dynamic” setting selected. My suggestion to Audi…“let me do what I want to do!”If I want to be in auto- matic mode I’ll change it myself! Also, the display screen doesn’t conspicu- ously show you what gear you’re in while using the paddles. There is a teeny-tiny little number that you have to search for on the screen. And really, who has time to play hide and seek with the display screen when you’re taking a late apex turn at 90 mph? That being said, the dynamic duo of the R8 engine and 7 speed transmis- sion results in extremely quick accel- eration. The kind of acceleration that any race car driver and wanna be race car driver can appreciate. At 75 miles per hour, the aerodynamic system deploys. The integrated wing spoiler raises up automatically to increase aerodynamic downforce; perfect for fast sweeping turns on track (or on the street if you’re so inclined). This spoiler feature can be manually over- ridden to remain in the “up” or “down” position. As you speed past 75 mph and hit 160 mph, the RS5 is notice- ably cool, calm, and collected. No vi- brating. No shuttering. The car squats down and charges on. Any “push” or “understeer” you’d experience from an all wheel drive car is mitigated by the 40/60 all wheel drive split.
Of course you can’t talk about speed without talking about brakes. Though the standard brake package offers an improvement over the S5 brakes, for another $6,000 you can complete- ly upgrade to the carbon-ceramic brakes; not necessary if you’re just zip- ping around town, but a good invest- ment if you plan to track this car on high speed touring days at your local roadcourse.Themotto“TruthinEngi- neering” rings true on track. The RS5 is the perfect car to take you from the boardroom to the race track in the blink of an eye.

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