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      05-21-2019, 02:36 AM   #1
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2019 Audi RS5 Sportback (B9) - Me Likey?

I wasn't originally going to bother with this because my personal opinion on cars doesn't really matter. As with most cars at this range, it's mainly just preference at this point. Whether it is the F8x M3/M4, C63/S, Giulia QV or the more recent Audi RS5 (Sportback), it is all preference really. Now it is different heading up towards up into a 911 but… for one reason or another I never been the type to "want" a 911. Never crossed my mind or really wanted one. I can get a GT3 but… I want the practicality. As of late, I have been looking more and more into the Audi RS5 Sportback or the Benz C63S as my next car in a few years. I like to look ahead and plan a bit before I even decide. So, through my uncle, the general sales manager that is a family friend at Porsche Downtown LA I was able to get my hands and test drive an Audi RS5 Sportback in Nardo Grey.

I will do my regular thoughts so, anyone who is curious about the Audi RS5 (B9), you can make your own opinion with the car. Probably got a few things wrong here and there but… just initial thoughts of mine. Also, I'll put as many photos from my silly iPhone X as I can.



~ I was disappointed with the fact that the RS5 doesn't have the Audi DSG (DCT) that you can find in the Audi R8. Think it had something to do with the DSG can't handle the Torque so, Audi put in an 8-speed Tiptronic Auto, I believe it is the ZF 8-speed. When I drove the car, it was pretty clear this was an auto. It didn't have any of the normal DCT behaviors I am very accustomed to. The shifts were pretty fast and on point, I was able to hear some minor burbling on downshifts but upshifting wasn't dramatic. I still love my DCTs though and still disappointed not to have it in the B9 RS5. My love of DCTs in general is how I got into cars to begin with, so not having it in another car would be disappointing.

~ My uncle, who was with me, noted to me later that the RS5 seemed very tame and quiet in comparison to my M3. Granted my M3 is modded (non tune but with Akrapovic Evolution w/ Stock Downpipe) but the RS5 is either way better noise insulated or the car is just quieter in general. It was a bit more difficult to hear the V6 in the car. I can still hear the engine just not as much, I was barely able to hear the exhaust rumble and I drove the car mostly in Dynamic Mode which tells you something. Maybe this was intentional by Audi but it isn't a visceral feeling like the M3/M4, it is muted interior wise. From what I gather, the V6 in the Audi RS5 is also in the Panamera 4S.

~ Steering was light, lighter than I thought it would be with a car like this. It was still pretty direct which is good. Though, that might be due to the Dynamic Steering the car was optioned with and that kind of fiddles with the steering ratio a bit. Though, I can see that being kind of a good thing for street driving or driving about in the parking lot. I didn't feel or get any dead spots in the steering but it was light. I didn't feel as much of the road through the steering either. Not really sure if is due to me not changing the steering (feel) before hand or it is just like that from the beginning.

~ This is more of a minor thing on my part but I like Audi not tacking on more $$ on your fastbacks or sportbacks, which in BMW terms, Gran Coupes. BMW has always charged more for their Gran Coupe cars but Audi doesn't, least not with the RS5. The MSRP of the RS5 Coupe is the same as the RS5 Sportback. Which also leads me to say, I found out the Sportback version is new in 2019, it wasn't available for 2018 when the RS5 Coupe was initially released in the States. So, yeah that's something I learned too.

~ I am not 100% sure but I didn't find the suspension jarring. That could be due to my M3 being what it is (stiff) so, I very rarely find cars at this price range that are stiffer than my F80. Even with the KW DDC (which helps a LOT by the way) the RS5 is noticeably more comfortable. I do not think I would feel fatigue in the RS5. While I did drive in Dynamic Mode the entire time, I didn't change the settings so, I have no comparison I can do, that was a bit of an oversight on my behalf. Though the Downtown LA roads are a bit bumpy and during the drive I felt the road but again it wasn't uncomfortable, in fact I found it better (comfortable wise) than our Macan S (I am not kidding btw).

~ Interior is good albeit very minimalistic. The way the leather in the seats are designed are definitely better than the outgoing F80/soon to be gone F82. Although BMW seems to be changing this up with the G-chassis cars. One strange thing I noticed was, the RS5 has no option for leather dash unlike the M3/M4 or the C63(S). I am honestly not sure why this is the case since, as most of us current F8x owners would tell you, having a leather dash makes a big enough difference (especially with the F8x). It would be the same for the RS5, wish it was an option.

~ Audi's Virtual cockpit is good. I will be first to admit I was skeptical about this to start off with but it is very good. The amount of ways you can customize it is rather impressive, and it shows you a lot of information just straight up right there. From your standard RPM gauge to odometer, g-meter, navigation, your phone, all of your settings are available pretty much right there. It might be a tad bit too much shoved there but, least you can customize it. One thing I would nit pick with is the Gasoline gauge and Engine Temp gauge is put on the side with the display showing you some white bars instead. Also, with the amount of info, you can get from the virtual cockpit, it sort of renders the Heads-Up Display a bit pointless actually. Really not sure if you would need both.

~ But because the Audi virtual cockpit is good, I find the regular MMI and the design of it, slightly out of date. Maybe Audi focused too much on the virtual cockpit but it reminded me of the older BMW iDrive 4 and the older Benz infotainment (more so the Benz infotainment). It is a bit out of date to me but it doesn't lag, fast to react, and my control nob is there, which I like. I guess, so long it works it is okay but Audi definitely needs to update their MMI. Maybe… refresh? :P

~ I don't like the iPad design. I never will. I really dislike the slapped-on design and I wish Audi would stop doing this. My huge gripe with it.

~ Might be getting old or something but I like the way the B9 RS5 looks. Which is strange because I'm not a huge fan of Lexus cars. Something about the current RS5 makes me like it. You can tell that it is an Audi RS because, for the most part Audi does an enough good job separating their A, S, and RS cars apart. Which isn't something you can always say with Benz AMG cars. I have learned to look at Benz so I can tell for the most part but it is difficult if you don't know what to look for. It is very easy when it comes to Audi and BMW.

~ I was surprised by the fact that I didn't feel the weight of the car like I thought I would. It could be due to the Torsen AWD (had to be sure via… THE INTERNET! :P) that hides the 2-ton weight of the B9 RS5. I won't comment on track feel of the car because… well I don't drive on track so I don't know. I'm glad the B9 RS5 has the Torsen AWD, I don't like Haldex. In the '18 Audi S3 I drove months back, even driving on the street, I was able to feel the S3's weight gets thrown about a bit especially during turns, which is surprising (hope it isn't the case for the RS3).

~ The ZF 8-Speed in the Audi RS5 is, about what you would expect from the ZF 8-Speed. I took an educated guess that BMW M division did something to their version they shoved in the F90 M5 but something about the unit in the B9 RS5 doesn't feel as dramatic? I wanted a bit more emotion from the tranny but didn't get it. This is, again why I prefer DCTs.

~ The backseat in the Sportback is useful. I got my uncle to jump in the rear seat to see how just a normal person would be and it looked and felt fine. Didn't feel too claustrophobic and you can get in and out decently. It isn't like a SUV where it's just more room but it's enough. Don't expect to fit someone in the rear middle seat though because the AWD makes that hump pretty protruded so, don't expect to fit an adult there. Best for 4 people in the car.

~ I like having physical buttons for HVAC controls which the B9 RS5 has.

~ Oh last, random observation on my part. You open the door by pulling up slightly. Uhm... I don't think I ever had a door open this way. Don't have to go out of your way to pull up all the time but the first several times I opened the door, I noticed the handle goes up. A bit strange but hey...

~ P.S. I found out a few things after posting this. I found the explanation for the light feel steering is due to the Audi Dynamic Steering, which automatically adjusts the steering ratio based on the car's speed. Lighter at low speeds, heavier on high speeds. That does explain a lot during my drive and honestly, I like it. I switch often between Comfort and Sport on my M3, so not having to play with it is a good thing. Although, I want to drive the RS5 without it to be certain if I like it or not.

~ P.S. You also, cannot remove the Panoramic Roof option. It is standard and you have to live with it. Too bad! :P



After getting my hands on the B9 RS5, it is… pretty much already my list of cars to get. I get this might be a weird opinion (?) but there is something about the RS5 I like. Now, I haven't driven the C63S yet so. I am not the type to buy a car strictly because of the V8 noise. For me, it has always been about the entire package, not just one thing the car is known for. I am personally more attracted to Audi cars than I would be with Benz but that is just me.

Photos below! Again, silly iPhone X photos.
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      05-21-2019, 02:39 AM   #2
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      05-21-2019, 03:49 AM   #3
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Nice - too big tho
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      05-21-2019, 04:00 AM   #4
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I was surprised the Q8 had no leather dash option either, seems like a bad move. Makes such a big difference in the luxury feel of the car.

Hate the iPad display thing. Just looks lazy like the designers decided to slap it on there and call it a day. Same with Mercedes.
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      05-21-2019, 08:54 PM   #5
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Looks very much like a 4 GC, in terms of it's form and function. While there are definite differences in where the engine is and the trim level/power, the function of the 4 GC concept is top notch, so taking it to a few performance levels higher, unlike BMW does, is a welcome concept. If this car was a few years earlier, I probably would have gotten it, S5 or RS5. Interestingly, it's got plastic in all the same places as my chevrolet, I just don't see the huge differences in interior that people claim. Still, nice car and I love the function of it. Those rear hatches are so damn useful.
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      05-21-2019, 10:46 PM   #6
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Looks very much like a 4 GC, in terms of it's form and function. While there are definite differences in where the engine is and the trim level/power, the function of the 4 GC concept is top notch, so taking it to a few performance levels higher, unlike BMW does, is a welcome concept. If this car was a few years earlier, I probably would have gotten it, S5 or RS5. Interestingly, it's got plastic in all the same places as my chevrolet, I just don't see the huge differences in interior that people claim. Still, nice car and I love the function of it. Those rear hatches are so damn useful.
Actually that is something I'm confused with too. There is no additional options for full leather option. Those of us with the current F8x, it makes quite a difference look wise with soft touch plastic vs full leather dash. Considering what the RS5 is really built for (aka more comfort vs F8x's more performance) to not have a full leather dash option is pretty confusing. I can forgive the door areas but the dash not having that option seems to be something either Audi overlooked or for a reason I do not know about.

One thing I did forget to add too, there is no way to delete the Panoramic Roof. It comes standard with all RS5 (B9) and you have no say about it. The RS5 Sportback is already 4,000+ lbs, what's to it for Audi to give the full leather dash option?
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      05-22-2019, 09:19 AM   #7
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Pretty car, but I'm not a big audi fan. I think you get a better performance with an M car. To the initial point, it's really about personal preference vs a solid good or bad type of thing.
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      05-22-2019, 10:37 AM   #8
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I like Audi but it would be nice if they did a better job of closing the gap between the RS5 and the M3/M4 with respect to performance. Audi always seems to have the advantage since the last two generations have been released after the M3/M4 has been released but they still find a way to make it heavier, slower and handle worse.

On a side note, nice interior as always! OP, thanks for sharing your thoughts and providing pics.
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      05-22-2019, 10:48 AM   #9
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I definitely prefer the coupe over this middleman. And I like the dark green color it comes in, but I think id still drive a m4 over it.
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      05-22-2019, 10:52 AM   #10
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The local Audi dealer rolled out a few examples to the most recent car show and i fell in love with the looks. But the first part of your review makes me a bit disheartened. Nevertheless, i appreciate the opinion and time spent writing this up
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      05-22-2019, 11:28 AM   #11
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The local Audi dealer rolled out a few examples to the most recent car show and i fell in love with the looks. But the first part of your review makes me a bit disheartened. Nevertheless, i appreciate the opinion and time spent writing this up
Before I even drove the car, I knew it wasn't going to be like a BMW M car. It was extremely clear it wasn't going to be hardcore, visceral feel.

I like the car for what it is but yeah the price point is a bit of a problem if you're expecting to get something more.
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      05-22-2019, 04:41 PM   #12
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If you browse the Audi forums, there are quite some debates whether a RS5's price is justifiable compared to the S5. I do feel that the RS5 doesn't look any more different inside and out to separate it from the lower S5 and if I had to choose between the two, I'd probably go with the S5. Bit fan of the Sportback look from Audi.
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      05-22-2019, 08:19 PM   #13
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The light steering feel isn’t just the dynamic steering. I had a 2018 S5 for 4 months (before I took a bath by trading it in) and one of my major complaints was light steering — and I didn’t have the dynamic steering package.

FWIW, I loved the S5 on the test drive (as I was mostly enamored with the cross stitched leather seats and the virtual cockpit display), but it turned out to be a rattle trap that wasn’t fast, wasn’t terribly distinct from the A5 appearance wise, buggy virtual cockpit and MMI software, underwhelming B&O speakers, and just not fun to drive. Also, those awesome leather seats still cut corners — they are fabric on the side closest to the console. And my particular car kept making weird engine sounds.

In contrast, the 2018 C43 that I had (I took a bath on that one also) was an incredible car. It was luxurious, relatively fast for what it is, and pretty fun. I got out of it because I wanted back into an M after realizing the next class down isn’t for me, but I have a lot of respect for MB after driving that car for 8 months.
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      05-22-2019, 08:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by to_riffic View Post
If you browse the Audi forums, there are quite some debates whether a RS5's price is justifiable compared to the S5. I do feel that the RS5 doesn't look any more different inside and out to separate it from the lower S5 and if I had to choose between the two, I'd probably go with the S5. Bit fan of the Sportback look from Audi.
If you're looking purely from a performance standpoint, then yes the RS5 is very expensive for what it is. Considering the Benz C63S Sedan (yes the S version) is literally $400 more MSRP at $74,600 then you would have some issues justifying the price of the RS5.

However, like I said though. I went into driving the RS5 knowing it is a different experience than a BMW M or Benz AMG so, I am not as bothered by the price point. There are a lot of options in the Audi RS5 you do not really need as Audi USA shoved in a lot of options as standard. The only one I would point to is, Dynamic Steering and Bang and Olufsen. Those are the only two I would absolutely get.

nirvanayoda Oh that's good to know. Again, i would need to drive the RS5 w/o it to know for certain but I would guess this is different between the S5 and the RS5 with or without it. I would be extremely surprised if this wasn't the case.
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      05-22-2019, 10:00 PM   #15
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Also, those awesome leather seats still cut corners — they are fabric on the side closest to the console.
That fabric side of the seat keeps it from squeaking against the center console. I actually wish more cars did that.
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      05-22-2019, 10:17 PM   #16
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I was surprised the Q8 had no leather dash option either, seems like a bad move. Makes such a big difference in the luxury feel of the car.

Hate the iPad display thing. Just looks lazy like the designers decided to slap it on there and call it a day. Same with Mercedes.
The Q8 actually does have a leather dash option. The A6, A7, and A8 as well
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      05-22-2019, 10:51 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by New2Roundel View Post
Pretty car, but I'm not a big audi fan. I think you get a better performance with an M car. To the initial point, it's really about personal preference vs a solid good or bad type of thing.
But there is no M-car 4 series Grand Coupe.
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      05-23-2019, 08:54 AM   #18
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That fabric side of the seat keeps it from squeaking against the center console. I actually wish more cars did that.
We can agree to disagree on this -- I've never had squeaking in other cars. I've also seen the reason cited as the leather will get torn up by the seat belt receptacle, but I'm not concerned about that either.

But really, that's a trivial complaint. I traded the car for many other more serious reasons. I just thought I'd point that out as a minor point that annoyed me given how incredibly nice the leather/seats otherwise were.
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      05-23-2019, 09:09 AM   #19
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the steering wheel and seats look dope.

car is way to sterile tho. Audi seems to lack a true sports car. It would probably fit my needs better....but for some reason I drive the M3. Oh I forgot....manual
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      05-23-2019, 09:19 AM   #20
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Looks amazing!!
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      05-23-2019, 09:59 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
That fabric side of the seat keeps it from squeaking against the center console. I actually wish more cars did that.
We can agree to disagree on this -- I've never had squeaking in other cars. I've also seen the reason cited as the leather will get torn up by the seat belt receptacle, but I'm not concerned about that either.

But really, that's a trivial complaint. I traded the car for many other more serious reasons. I just thought I'd point that out as a minor point that annoyed me given how incredibly nice the leather/seats otherwise were.
I still like it. Do you frequently try to caress the side of your seat?

Of course my current car has full cloth, so that might explain my preferences anyway.
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      05-23-2019, 01:50 PM   #22
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I drove one (a coupe) before I got my M6 and was comparing it to my 6.2 C63, the 4.0 C63, M4, M6 and others.

To me it seemed to be more like an S4/S5 rather than an RS product. In particular I didn't like the drivetrain - the engine just dies after 5000rpm or so. Some other factors were the 8AT and the suspension - none of it added up to an RS and it really just wasn't that exciting. I think this video summed it up well:



If it had the 7DCT or had an engine that went a bit harder up top I think it could be a great car.

One last thing - the plastic dash is rubbish and I don't understand why people think Audi interiors are great. The full leather available on the 3 series upwards from BMW makes the entire car so much better.
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