Many an automaker will never directly state it, but there are numerous cases where a vehicle performs at a greater potential than it's billed to.
Now, Audi Sport's technical head, Stephan Reil, has gone on the record to absolutely state what we all pretty much knew already: RS-badged cars have long been underrated.
It's been totally on purpose, too. Reil told Australia's CarAdvice during the recent launch of the RS 5 that Audi Sport's practice of underquoting the performance is cars has all been for the benefit of customers and even journalists to ensure a car never falls short of its claimed performance.
Stephan Reil, Audi Sport gmbh
“I’ve been in this job for nearly 20 years, and with all the cars I’ve worked on, the performance numbers we published were conservative," Reil said. "So, if we say 3.9 seconds, you will measure, maybe, 3.7 if the conditions are fine, probably 3.8, but even under the worst conditions, you’ll do it in 3.9 seconds. But you will not find a 4.0."
So, really, it's been an excellent way to ensure there's no disappointment when a car clocks a one-tenth slower 0-60 time than what it's supposed to. From what Reil said, it doesn't sound like there's actually extra power hiding in plain sight, but the capability is ever so slightly underrated.
Lying normally doesn't elicit positive responses, but in this case, we suppose Audi and the RS models get a pass. At least the fibs were done in the name of performance.