2018 Audi RS 5: Audi Sport Takes on the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupes
"Lots of cool cars coming from Europe." That's how Audi of America president, Scott Keogh, describes the next two years in which eight new maximum-performance Audi variants will be crafted and dropped into the U.S. market. The Type-AAAs masterminding these super-Audis come exclusively from Audi Sport in Germany, the newly branded, in-house-but-independent Audi arm that caters to delivering nth-degree performance and design to the company's products.
Audi Sport is aimed square into the heart of Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M divisions, which means they live for Track Day first, followed by a stylish drive home with no apologies. At the Beijing and Paris auto shows, two more of the eight all-wheel drive Audi Sport models coming to the U.S. got their debuts: the 400-horsepower 2018 TT RS and the 2018 RS 3. Now at the New York show, Audi pulled the veil off of another player in Audi Sport's 24-month U.S. onslaught: the 2018 Audi RS 5.
Audi Sport difference
Enticingly, the RS 5 announcement comes right on top of the launch of the 2018 Audi S5 coupe and its 4-door cousin, the S4, a pair of elite performers superbly willing to trigger your adrenal gland all day long. The Audi Sport difference, however, is that while the S5, like the Audi A5, is built on a factory line—with the extra power and performance added there—the RS 5 gets a more personal treatment. It's built at the Audi Sport facility in Neckarsulm, Germany, where Audi Sport engineers are tasked with creating "the most extreme expression of a particular model in design and performance," Audi USA Vice President of Product Management Filip Brabec tells us.
For the RS 5, that means a 450-horsepower biturbo V6 that cranks out 443 lb-ft of torque. Mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, the RS 5 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about 3.9 seconds and tops out at 174 miles per hour. Outside, the coupe's muscular demeanor is apparent, right down to the 20-inch forged-alloy wheels, and it possesses one of the most sinister grille, intake and headlight treatments around.
For the moment, not much detail is finalized about the U.S.-bound version of the 2018 RS 5, which is scheduled to appear in early 2018. European iterations, however, include carbon-ceramic brakes and a beefier multilink suspension that lowers the car by nearly an inch versus the standard Audi A5.
As for the other Audi Sport models coming to the U.S. over the next two years, Filip Brabec isn't ready to spill. We'd bet that the obvious is likely—an Audi RS 4—and that the hot-like-fire small luxury SUV segment can't be ignored. The Q5 is ripe for RS treatment. Then, when we asked about the possibility of an Audi Sport version of the 2018 Audi A5 Sportback hatchback, Brabec's response was a grin: "You can't rule it out," he said.