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2024 Audi RS 5 Sportback: Prime Positioned

Experienced by Leon Brittain

Impressively, Audi continues to deliver more hits from its RS department in the form of sport-transformed cars and SUVs. I recently flew behind the wheel of a 2024 Audi RS 5 Sportback donned in a Sebring Black Crystal Effect color scheme. The prodigiously talented German machine served as my chariot for a week of long journeys up and down Highway 95 with drive time quickly passing by like McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagles.

There is something special about RS models from the four rings of Audi Sport. The RS moniker is Audi’s artistic vision to transform their quattro AWD roadrunners into German works of art. Formed by Quattro GmbH, Audi’s high-performance division, RS translates to RennSport, which in turn equates to “racing sport.” With assertive acceleration, impressively quick shifting, and superior dynamics, the RS 5 Sportback’s power is absolute. At one point, I was running late to Dulles Airport due to a road closure, so I had to navigate around the city, which entailed an extra 15 miles. No problem as the 5-door coupe danced through traffic like Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and put me into the arrivals terminal only 5 minutes behind schedule. For context, the RS 5 Sportback came to the U.S. in 2018 to provide more diversity to the RS lineup.

The RS 5 Sportback is boosted by a bi-turbo 2.9-liter V6 TFSI engine distributing 444-horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Paired with Audi’s stellar 8-speed Tiptronic transmission with paddle shifters, grabby brakes, an RS sports suspension, and a quattro sport rear differential, the RS felt more track-ready than road-ready. And thanks partly to quattro all-wheel drive, the vehicle maintains high-speed grip in addition to handling adverse weather conditions with aplomb. The RS 5 Sportback continues to set the bar high as Audi seeks the respect and affection of fans of performance packages such as BMW’s M and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG roster. Its capabilities are indicated by a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and the aggressive growl from the sports exhaust system. Expect 18 city and 25 highway mpg from your German roadrunner.

Aesthetically, my black Sportback gave off a sinister appeal with design and performance techniques that added cinematic depth. Audi upgraded this model with the heavily bundled $10,300 Competition Package that enhanced the RS 5 with 20″ 5-Y-spoke rims, Pirelli P Zero Corsa motorsport tires, an RS sport exhaust system, red brake calipers, matte carbon front splitter and rear diffuser, matte carbon exterior mirror caps, and high-gloss black Audi rings and badges. Its top track speed has increased from 155 mph to 180 mph. Moreover, the vehicle sits low so make sure to stretch before entering. This package is definitely money well spent!

Slide into the sports-oriented cockpit to witness more Competition Package highlights, beginning with the RS carbon matte inlays, Pearl Nappa leather and Dinamica race seats with honeycomb stitching and massaging capabilities, and an Alcantara steering wheel, center console, and shift lever. The red-edged seat belts and RS floor mats stand out as well. Wide metal pedals, Audi MMI Navigation Plus, a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting plus package, and a Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system increase the allure of the RS 5 Sportback. However, the speaker grilles need to be made of designer metal instead of plastic for this level of luxury.

To alter the engine, transmission, and steering engagement, go into the Audi Select settings and transfer between Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic (Sport). In Dynamic mode, the response is quicker, the engine becomes animated, and the growling from the exhaust increases. Furthermore, RS 1 and RS 2 selections allow drivers to preset specific habits when called upon. Dynamic mode with the transmission in manual was my preferred means of getting around town. A “power” and “torque” gauge can be observed from the digital meters behind the 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel.

With a starting MSRP  of $78,900 (excluding the $10,095 destination and delivery fee), Audi incorporated a few new standard features into the latest model. These include Audi Active Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Parking System Plus, and Remote Engine Start. I’m not sure what took them so long, but my wife is unhappy that her 2022 Q8 wasn’t available with this feature, especially on cold winter mornings!

Nevertheless, once you get moving in the 2024 Audi RS 5 Sportback things will heat up like a furnace and take you places in very short spurts of time. Enjoy that!

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