2012 Audi RS5
By comparison, the similarly performing BMW M3 Coupe starts at $60,100 while the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe will set you back $62,305, so the RS 5 is priced at a premium. However, it does get some notable features its rivals miss out on.
For starters, the RS 5 comes with the Audi connect Internet connectivity feature, as well as the latest MMI Navigation plus system. This latter item includes such features as hard-drive navigation, a jukebox with 10 gigabytes of storage space, a DVD player and a voice activation system.
But what makes the RS 5 really stand out from the competition is its sophisticated all-wheel drive, which features a crown-gear center differential. Based on the quattro setup found in most of Audi’s lineup, the RS 5’s all-wheel drive system uses a self-locking crown-gear center differential, which can widely vary the amount of torque sent to the front or rear wheels. Under normal driving conditions, torque is split 40 percent front and 60 percent rear, but as traction changes, up to 85 percent of the torque can be sent to the rear wheels (or up to 70 percent to the front).
Power comes from a high-revving 4.2-liter V-8 rated at 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The engine is matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and drive is channeled to all four wheels via the aforementioned all-wheel drive system.
The complete package is good for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 174 mph. Stopping power comes from 14.4-inch steel discs, though for ultimate performance a carbon ceramic set with 15-inch discs is offered.
The RS 5 also comes with 19-inch wheels as standard, though we recommend going for the optional 20-inch set shod with beefy 275/30 tires. Another option we recommend ticking is the sports exhaust system, which gets black tailpipe trims and active acoustic flaps.
Some of the interior appointments, either fitted as standard or as an option, are 12-way power adjustable sports seats trimmed with Nappa leather, RS-design carbon fiber inlays around the dash and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Note, if you happen to prefer a convertible bodystyle, Audi is currently working on a new RS 5 Cabriolet, which we expect to be revealed later this year.