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- Highs Aggressively graceful design, entertaining to drive enthusiastically, more back-seat and cargo space than the coupe.
- Lows Exhaust note isn't always inspiring, ride quality suffers with stiffest damper setting, businesslike interior lacks personality.
- Verdict The RS5 Sportback is a beastly four-door with a practical hatch, but it could use more charisma.
Performance precedes practicality on sports coupes such as the Audi RS5, but the 2022 RS5 Sportback successfully balances those two attributes. Although the four-door Audi has the sleek shape of a sedan, there's a cleverly disguised hatchback opposite its intake-dominant face. It's that menacing front end, blistered fenders, and 444-hp twin-turbo V-6 that separate the RS5 hatch from its less eccentric family members: the four-cylinder A5 Sportback and the 349-hp S5 Sportback. The RS5's engine doesn't always make beautiful music, but its union with a snappy eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive moves it with dogged determination. Its sharply tuned chassis also helps deliver an entertaining driving experience, even if the sportiest damper setting causes a jittery ride. With a racy and roomy interior and myriad luxury features, the 2022 RS5 Sportback is fabulously functional, but it'd benefit from more character and warmth.
What's New for 2022?
For 2022, the RS5 Sportback receives several enhancements and updates. The new RS Design package adds floor mats with the "RS" logo; microsuede on the center console, shifter, and steering wheel; and seatbelts with red accents. The new Bronze Styling package includes black exterior badging, as well as a front spoiler and rear diffuser in matte carbon. Plus, it adds a set of bronze 20-inch wheels with summer performance tires. And the cabin gets accented with bronze stitching. Not satisfied with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph? Now, with the new Dynamic Plus package, that limit is lifted to 174 mph. The upgrade also brings with it a carbon-fiber engine cover, gray brake calipers, and ceramic front brakes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the new Sonoma Green metallic paint is the perfect hue to draw even more attention to the already assertive-looking Audi. We'd also choose the 20-inch five-spoke anthracite-finished wheels, which also requires the Black Optic package. This includes a set of summer tires and other gloss-black exterior accents. The Dynamic package tickles our fancy, too, thanks to its red brake calipers, specially tuned RS suspension, and throaty 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, 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 setting, Dynamic. We also tested the RS5 Sportback at the track, where it hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and closed the gap between 50 and 70 mph in just 2.9 seconds. The audacious Audi ripped down the quarter-mile in just 11.8 seconds at 115 mph. These results show that the RS5 can hang with the more powerful 505-hp Alfa Romeo Giulia QF. They also reveal the benefit of all-wheel-drive traction, which helped the Audi's takeoffs compared with those of the rear-drive Alfa.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The RS5 Sportback is estimated to earn 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 and hear the engine roar. 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 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