We’re quite partial to the Audi RS5 in the halls of evo. Its combination of being able to cosset or conquer in any circumstance with equally impressive capability won us over during its tenure with us on the evo Fast Fleet. Now Audi Sport has applied the RS treatment to the more practical A5 Sportback body style for the first time, adding a third body style to the RS4/5 range.
Visually there are no surprises with the RS5 Sportback, as it shares pretty much all its aesthetic upgrades over standard A5 models with the RS5 Coupe. That is for the most part no bad thing, as the RS5 has added width courtesy of some typical RS box wheelarch extensions, and the same aggressive front and rear bumper treatments you’ll see elsewhere in the Audi Sport range.
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The car released in these images is an American-market car (you can tell thanks to the amber reflector elements in the headlights), reason being that North American sales will commence in the summer. An ‘on sale’ date for the UK and Europe has yet to be confirmed, but will likely be towards the end of this year.
Little has changed under the skin compared to the coupe, the Sportback featuring the same Porsche-derived 2.9-litre ‘hot-vee’ twin-turbo V6, producing 444bhp and 443lb ft of torque, connected to a slick eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The coupe’s Sport rear differential and quite excellent adaptive dampers are also present, although both will likely be relegated to the options list in the UK.
Although the RS5 coupe might lack the final degree of handling finesse of the BMW M4 Comp Pack, or the drama of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S, it does package most of the thrills found in those cars into a deeply desirable all-weather package. The addition of two rear doors and that opening rear hatch should only add to the RS5’s appeal if the notion of the RS4 estate is just too much to bear for some potential buyers.
Whether the RS5 Sportback is a worthy new body style or not, the RS5’s lack of direct rivals does put it in a class of one, unless of course the four-door BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 saloon are niche enough to be considered a rival.