2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback Unveiled at the New York Auto Show

The 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback is a performance-focused, tech-packed five-seater.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first-ever 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback, unveiled on Wednesday, March 28 at 2018 New York International Auto Show. The RS 5 Sportback is a very interesting answer to a question most of us never even thought of asking: Did we really need an RS 5 Sportback in the first place? 

At the launch, Michael-Julius Renz, managing director of Audi Sport GmBH said that "the Audi RS 5 Sportback is a completely new offer for our customers. Our progressive interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupe has neither a predecessor model nor a direct competitor." "The sportback offers the ultimate in functionality with maximum performance," he added.

Like the RS 4 Avant and the RS 5 coupe, the Audi RS 5 Sportback is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine which produces 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a quick-shifting eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and sends power to the pavement via the Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, which splits the power asymmetrically 40:60 percent between the front and rear axle. To further enhance the vehicle's driving dynamics, the traction control system along with the standard sport rear differential manages power distribution for maximum acceleration with minimal slip. 

Audi engineers claim that the 2019 RS Sportback will sprint to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in less than four seconds and will be electronically limited to 155 mph. An optional Dynamic Plus package increases the top speed limit to 174 mph. 

Like the Audi RS 4 and RS 5 models, the RS 5 Sportback receives some substantial chassis upgrades like a lightweight, redesigned front five-link suspension, a standard RS sport suspension which lowers the RS 5 Sportback's ride-height by 7 millimeters when compared to the S 5 Sportback. An optional RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, which combines steel springs with adjustable dampers for various driving conditions, is also available. Regardless of the suspension option selected, all RS 5 Sportback models come standard with Audi's drive select system which offers four driving modes: Comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. 

The exterior design of the RS 5 Sportback is inspired by that of the Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO. Compared to the S 5 Sportback, the RS 5 is 15 millimeters wider on each side and the flared box fenders provide cues to the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system. In order to further differentiate the RS 5 Sportback for its lesser siblings, Audi designers have fitted it with a wide and flat single-frame grille, large RS-specific honeycomb air intakes, matte alu-optic front spoiler with Quattro script, matte alu-optic exterior mirror housings and high gloss black side sills. At the rear, the Audi RS 5 Sportback is easily recognized by the RS-specific diffuser, oval RS exhaust pipes, and a high gloss black rear-lip spoiler. 

The interior of the RS 5 Sportback features seating for five occupants and includes RS accents along with driver-focused technologies. In order to make the driver feel comfortable and in control of the vehicle, the cabin features Audi's hallmark wing-design wraparound dashboard with driver-oriented controls. Like other Audi RS models, the RS 5 Sportback features S sport seats with RS embossing; a flat-bottomed, perforated leather RS sport steering wheel and gear selector, and stainless steel pedals.

Just because it is an RS model does not mean that the Audi RS 5 Sportback does not come standard with a host of communication, luxury and safety features. Like all current Audi models, the RS 5 Sportback features standard Audi smartphone interface, which can be paired with Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. Audi's virtual cockpit and full-color head-up display are also included. The RS 5 Sportback also features additional information in the virtual cockpit like tire pressure levels, torque output, a shift light indicator and a g-force meters. All of these gauges are exclusive to RS models. 

In addition to communication and luxury features, the Audi RS 5 Sportback also includes a host of standard active and passive safety features. Some of them consist of Audi pre sense basic, Audi pre sense city, Audi side assist, rear cross traffic assist and Audi pre sense rear. Optional safety features consist of adaptive cruise control with stop and go and traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, Audi active lane assist and high beam assist. 

At the unveiling, Audi didn't announce the pricing range for the RS 5 Sportback, but we do know that it will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2018. More information about the model will be revealed closer to the launch date. 

Audi RS 5
The Drive