In this latest instalment of our XvY reviews, Brad and Dennis take a box-fresh Audi RS5 Cabriolet south through Sydney’s Royal National Park onto the charming town of Berry to compare notes on Audi’s latest RS saloon car. From Berry, we explore the winding back roads through Kangaroo Valley before cruising the highway back to Sydney.
XvY sees two generations of city dwellers review products and experiences. Each reviewer lives well in the city and has high expectations of what products and services can deliver. Yet due to age and differing interests, each brings his own set of expectations and experiences. Brad, the Gen Y-er, loves technology, engines and speed whilst Dennis, the Gen X-er, looks for design, luxury and handling in his cars. In this test, we look at the performance, looks and overall feel of the new Audi RS5 Cabriolet.
Taming a lion – Audi RS5 Cabriolet in the eyes of Gen Y
The only place you’re likely to hear the same sound is at your local zoo, that is if it keeps lions. The 2014 RS5 Cabriolet purrs at a low RPM and roars aggressively over 3000 RPM, leaving the hairs on the back of your neck all over the finely finished leather interior. Many physiotherapists will be kept in business as long as this car is on the road; necks simply cannot turn quick enough to see you pass by. It’s important to note however, that the sound is the main reason they turn. Whilst the RS5 is a beautiful looking car, one of the best in its class, it’s not a super car, nor should it try to be. It doesn’t have you saying “wow, did you see that”, more “that’s a nice looking car”. With four comfortable seats and a reasonably sized boot considering the retracting roof, this could still pass as a part-time family vehicle with a whole lot of torque. I do stress “part-time” because a lion needs to hunt more than it needs to rest.
This car was clearly made to go fast, let’s face it, with a 450bhp V8, Quattro all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed dual clutch S-tronic gearbox it would be rude not to have a go. We would, however, suggest that you obtain shares in Shell before allowing the beast to run rampant in dynamic mode as we did. With a price tag of just under $200K, you get all the bells and whistles; leather interior, Bang and Olufsen stereo, automated retractable roof, paddle shift gears, RS sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, 18-inch RS brake system with wave discs (optional: 19-inch ceramic brake discs with carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic brake discs at front), 19-inch forged aluminum wheels etc.
This car commands and deserves respect. It is one of the best all round performance Cabriolets on the market. The feeling you get when you put your foot down, change gear using the paddle shift and hear the sound of that finely crafted V8 with the wind in your hair is simply magnificent. Suddenly you go from an every day driver to one that should be wearing a racing helmet and overalls. Two weeks on from the experience and I’m struggling to wipe the grin off my face and my colleagues have had enough hearing about it.
An elegant performance vehicle worthy of any Gen X-er
The first thing you notice about the RS5 is that it is a restrained and elegant vehicle. Its’ refined appearance is not overburdened with excessively flared arches and sporty badges. This is not a preening sports car in the supercar mold, rather it is a powerful vehicle that comfortably seats four and can be used as your everyday drive. In many ways, the RS5 looks a lot like some of the other milder-mannered Audi’s in the range; that is until you start the engine.
The RS5s’ V8 has a delicious growl. Taking off, it is the orchestral noise, not the flared arches that turns heads. Audi, it is claimed, fire a drop of petrol into the hot exhaust when changing gears to help create the perfect noise. All we can say is that you never, ever, get sick of the sound. It is majestic.
The overall performance of the car is impressive in most settings, although let’s be honest, it spent most of its time in dynamic mode; 0-100 is in an impressive 4.9 seconds. Driving with the top down is great fun, although there is quite a lot of wind buffeting which may annoy some drivers day to day. Through the corners the RS5’s ceramic brakes and Quattro drive system makes you feels safe and in control. This is not a car that feels like it is going to get away from you.
Overall, I really enjoyed the RS5. Its’ engine noise is superb, the design elegant and handling rock solid. The RS5 Cabriolet is everything a powerful daily drive should be; nice to look at, practical and super fun when you are ready to hit the country roads.
RS5 Cabriolet kindly supplied by Audi Centre Sydney | Written and photographed by Dennis Lindsay & Bradley Fay
Berry NSW: we stayed at Lillian’s Cottages, ate delicious fish and chips from the newly opened Sakana Fresh, finishing with a donut from the Famous Donut Van for dessert.