As the Audi RS5 Sportback’s swollen fenders imply, this hatchback sports sedan is built to handle aggressive driving with practicality in mind. As the four-door version of the RS5 coupe, the RS5 Sportback is weaponized with a 444-hp twin-turbo V-6, big brakes, sticky tires, and a fortified suspension that lowers the ride height and gives it an intimidating stance. These performance improvements put it a cut above its more civilized four-cylinder A5 Sportback and 349-hp S5 Sportback versions, but still not quite in league with super sports sedans like the BMW M3 and Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. The RS5 Sportback sends its power through an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system that delivers exceptionally grippy launches. Its myriad of luxurious features and roomy interior make it a comfortable performer. The sport suspension’s comfort mode delivers on that promise with an impressively supple ride, and even the RS-tuned exhaust is more subtle than sharp. The 2023 RS5 Sportback might not be wild enough for everyone, but its attention to comfort and style make it a well-rounded choice with plenty of scoot.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
Audi adds an optional Competition package for the RS5 Sportback that dials up the aggression. The Competition package includes a more tautly damped suspension, sticky Pirelli Corsa P Zero streetable track tires, and a special RS exhaust system that adds more businesslike thrum to the RS5’s refined soundtrack. Ascari Blue is now a paint option while Sonoma Green and Turbo Blue are no longer offered.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Picking the best RS5 Sportback is as easy as choosing the right paint color. We think the optional Mythos Black metallic paint fits the RS5’s somewhat disguised performance attitude. We'd also choose the 20-inch five-spoke anthracite-finished wheels, which require the Black Optic Carbon package. This includes a set of summer tires and carbon fiber exterior accents. The Dynamic package tickles our boy-racer fantasies, too, thanks to its red brake calipers, specially tuned RS suspension, and sport exhaust system.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The RS5 Sportback's sole engine choice is a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 that makes 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It pairs with a paddle-shifted eight-speed automatic transmission that routes that torque to all four wheels. Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system not only maximizes traction, but it also can direct more torque to the rear wheels when needed. Our first drive revealed that the car is stable at autobahn speeds and a hoot to hustle around corners, with well-controlled body motions and predictable handling. The adaptive dampers provide a smooth ride in all but the sportiest Dynamic setting. We also tested the RS5 Sportback at the track, where it hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. That shows that the RS5 can hang with the more powerful 505-hp Alfa Romeo Giulia QF and 503-hp BMW M3 Competition, at least up to 60 mph, though those two pull ahead by the quarter-mile mark. Credit the Audi’s all-wheel drive traction advantage off the line relative to the rear-drive Alfa and Bimmer.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The RS5 Sportback gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Compare that with the Giulia QF's ratings of 17 mpg city and 25 highway, as well as the Mercedes-AMG C63 sedan's 17 mpg city and 26 highway. The last RS5 Sportback we ran on our 75-mph highway route—part of our extensive testing regimen—earned 26 mpg. For more information about the RS5 Sportback's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the RS5 Sportback shows off the company's typically sophisticated design and exemplary build quality. The driver faces a handsome flat-bottom steering wheel, behind which sits a large 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. A pair of stubby paddle shifters is mounted on the wheel, should you have the sudden desire to drop a gear or two and charge into your favorite set of esses. The RS5's cabin is also highlighted by intricately stitched seats that feature heated and cooled surfaces, as well as massaging functions for front-seat passengers. The car's lengthy roster of standard equipment includes ambient interior lighting, a panoramic sunroof, and three-zone climate control. Those who want even fancier amenities can opt for a head-up display and nappa leather upholstery. Of course, the Sportback's longer dimensions and four doors make it a more practical alternative to the RS5 coupe. While the Sportback still isn't ideal for transporting five people, its rear seat is roomy enough for two, even if its sloping roof intrudes on headroom back there. And the hatch body provides more cargo space than the coupe.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Unlike the new MMI infotainment interfaces featured in the Audi RS7 and RS Q8 crossover, which have dual touchscreens entombed in their dashboards and center consoles, the RS5 Sportback has a single 10.1-inch touchscreen that protrudes from the middle of its dash. Not only is it bigger than the 8.3-inch display it replaces, but the new system is no longer manipulated through the rotary controller and touchpad that once lived on the car's center console. Despite the switch to mostly touch-sensitive controls, the setup responds quickly and has large icons that are easy to activate without much distraction. Every model comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, built-in navigation, and wireless charging. A more powerful Bang & Olufsen stereo is optional.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The four-door hatchback can be equipped with driver-assistance technology such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, self-parking assist, and more.
For more information about the RS5 Sportback's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi has competitive limited and powertrain warranties that align with high-performance luxury rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance