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Audi's monstrous cabriolet

18.06.2013

THERE'S no shortfall of compelling qualities in the Audi RS line-up, as we experienced at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone. The RS family is the performance arm of Audi�s range and this ever-growing brood means customers and petrolheads can, for the first time, enjoy a wide selection of pure-bred performance cars that possesses a concentration of sporty characteristics.

At our disposal were the newly launched Audi RS5 Cabriolet and its hard-top sibling, the RS5 Coupé, as well as the TT RS, RS4 Avant and the new R8. It’s certainly an impressive gathering of titans, each with their own distinctive personality traits.

But the main attraction on the day was the newest member of the family - the RS5 Cabriolet, which is identical to the coupé, but loses its roof to give new meaning to drop-top performance.

Fitted with a soft top, the electrically retractable roof can recline in 15 seconds and will take 17 seconds to close, but you will have to operate it at speeds of up to 50km/h. Thereafter you’re free to unleash the beast and enjoy the growl of the potent V8 powertrain echoing through the cabin.

The heart of this Audi is the renowned snappy revving 4.2-litre V8. Its competitive top-end power, combined with a healthy torque spread means the car is content to chug along in traffic or you can throw the revs right to the limit and enjoy the 331kW of power at your disposal.

The slick-shifting gearbox - in the form of a seven-speed S tronic - means you can get this 4.6-metre German marching from zero to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds and go on to achieve a top speed of 250km/h. But if a greater need for speed is required, the top end can be turned up to 280km/h upon customer request.

Despite its elegant class and apparent wild side, this Audi also boasts a decent fuel-consumption figure of 10.7 litres/100 km and combined Co2 emissions of 249g/km.

The adjustable driving modes allow the driver to tweak and tailor the RS5 to fit any driver’s style, from the engine-wrenching hooligan who wants all-out performance to the softer, tamer driver who still enjoy a peppery and responsive drive.

Like the rest of the RS range, the suspension and seating is firm in order to deliver an agile drive that supplies plenty of feedback to the driver, while the lightning-quick throttle reaction ensures you are always connected to the car with a reassuring response, which is complemented by some rather hefty halting power, courtesy of the big red Brembo brakes with enough stopping power to halt a barge.

The cabin is refined, as expected, and boasts such luxuries like 3G MMI navigation with voice control, RS-styled front sport seats and an RS steering wheel, to name but a few.

The rest of the RS line-up share many of the same impeccable traits, but it’s what’s to come from the Audi stable that is sure to get motoring enthusiasts excited, with the announcement of the RS7 Sportback and the RS Q3, which will be launched locally in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The RS7 Sportback will be available with a twin-turbo V8 mill, producing 412kW of power and 700Nm of torque, while the RS Q3 will be the first performance model introduced in the premium A-SUV segment. This derivative will house a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine, which produces 228kW and 420Nm of torque.

Further details on these products will be available closer to the local launch later in the year. The RS5 Cabriolet will retail for R986 000 and includes the standard 5-year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan. See below for the other RS models’ pricing.

Pricing:

Audi RS4 Avant:                   R893 000

Audi RS5 Coupé:                  R926 000

Audi TT RS Coupé:                R748 000

Audi TT RS Roadster:             R783 500

Article written by Stuart Moir
18.06.2013
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