2018 Audi S5 (Euro-spec)
Engine downsizing is hitting the performance segment againâthis time with the Audi RS5. The previous naturally aspirated V-8 is being jettisoned in favor of a twin-turbocharged V-6 for the new RS5, which is the ultimate expression of Audi’s mid-size coupeâthe new version of which so far has been revealed only in A5 and S5 form (above). Despite the lower cylinder count, the new RS5’s engine will comfortably beat the outgoing car’s in terms of power and torque.
The new powertrain marks the end of naturally aspirated engines at Audiâwith the exception of the 5.2-liter V-10 in the R8. The last RS5 was fitted with an old-school, high-revving V-8, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It produced 317 lb-ft of torque, and its 450 horsepower came at a lofty 8250 rpm.
The new, 90-degree, 24-valve, 3.0-liter V-6âcode-named EA839âwill deliver its maximum power (which we estimate to exceed 450 horsepower) at far lower revs than the previous engine, and it also will make well over 400 lb-ft of torque. Fitted with direct fuel injectionÂ and variable intake valve lift, the aluminum-block-and-head engine will be far more efficient than its predecessor.
Audi could have used the DL501 seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but North American customers are so fond of the initial torque multiplication offered by torque-converter automatics that the brand decided to switch for an eight-speed automatic instead. This one is supplied by ZF, and it is so quick and sophisticated that it should be hard to notice a difference once the car is at speed. There is no manual transmission option.
Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, although the torque split has a strong rear bias; Audi’s sports differential and dynamic power steering also will help give the RS5 the agility of its rear-wheel-drive competitors. And itsÂ weight will be lower than the outgoing model by at leastÂ 50 pounds.
The zero-to-60-mph time is predicted to be just over fourÂ seconds, with top speed governed at 174 mph, although the RS5 theoretically could touch 190 mph or so. It also promises to be far louder and more aggressive than the S5.
Once again, the Audi RS5 will come as a coupe and as a convertible. The hardtop is slated for a mid-2017 launch, and will compete with the BMW M4, the Cadillac ATS-V coupe, the Lexus RC F, and the Mercedes-AMG C63 coupe. Additionally, Audi may offer an RS5 Sportback. If that car is green-lighted, it is likely to be offered in the U.S. market, as well.