Back in the Eighties, BMW came up with the idea of making an innocuous-looking saloon that was very fast and “utterly beautiful” to drive, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. It was called the M5 and it quickly earned a reputation for being one of the world’s great cars. So great, in fact, that other manufacturers strangely baulked at even trying to compete. Competitors did eventually arrive, but Mercedes’ offerings were not quite the same – more muscle cars in Hugo Boss suits – and Audi’s lacked the Beemer magic.
Now, that’s all changed, says Clarkson. BMW has taken its eye off the ball somewhat in recent years, and its rivals have all woken up. Audi has just launched the RS5 coupé, and it’s “borderline sensational”: alarmingly quick off the mark, with a “bitey front end and a waggly tail”. It’s good looking too. This is a car that will have you grinning.
The new model certainly looks the part, says James Disdale in Evo, with muscular styling, pumped wheel arches, and a front bumper “crammed with intakes and sharply defined creases”. Inside, few rivals come close for quality or upmarket appeal, with impressive levels of kit as standard, including sat nav and Nappa leather seat trim. And for all the car’s “indecent haste” off the line – 60mph comes in less than 3.9 seconds – the car is impressively easy going. As a car to use everyday on everything from city streets to motorways, the cultured Audi is unrivalled.
It’s also a very capable long-distance cruiser, says Christofer Lloyd in Car. If you’re in the market for a boldly styled, rapid and grippy four-seat express, the new Audi RS5 is about perfect.
Engine: 2,894cc six-cylinder twin-turbo
Torque: 443lb ft
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds