Audi gives mid-life nip/tuck to its potent and practical RS4 and RS5 twins
For some time now, Audi has been at the forefront of the performance car scene, offering a broad range of track-honed models in a range of body styles and applications.
From the mid-engined, high-revving V10 R8 coupe, to the pint-sized, five-cylinder turbo RS3, the German brand’s Audi Sport performance arm has an offering for every petrol-head.
Some of the most popular and recognisable Audi Sport models are its mid-sized offerings, namely the RS4 Avant wagon and RS5 Coupe and Sportback, which have touched down in Australian showrooms with a number of updates to keep buyers happy.
But while most updated models usually come with an increased sticker price, Audi Australia has done the opposite – slashing prices across all three grades to make to make for an even more palatable buying proposition.
The RS4 kicks off the range at $147,900 plus on-road costs, representing a $4629 drop over the outgoing model, while both RS5 grades asks $150,900, marking a considerable $6800 drop in sticker price.
Competition for the RS pair comes from the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S sedan ($165,835) and wagon ($168,535), as well as the BMW M3 and M4 pair, which are yet to be revealed in new-generation guise.
Now you might be thinking that with the drop in asking price, Audi has probably quietly dropped a few features off the standard equipment list, right? Wrong.
Audi Australia says no equipment has been left off the new range, in fact new features have been added, along with a number of styling tweaks, particularly on the refreshed RS4.
From a design perspective, all grades now sport a wider, more aggressive iteration of Audi’s singleframe grille to bring them more in line with the rest of the Audi Sport range, with the grille mesh finished in gloss black for a more menacing look.
The RS4 has undergone a significant facelift to look more like the RS5, with restyled Matrix LED headlights that feature on all variants and a string of small vents along the bonnet line which pays a subtle homage the legendary Quattro of 1984.
RS5 versions add Audi laser light, which helps give the lights a longer throw at speeds above 70km/h, while features such as 20-inch Audi Sport alloys, gloss-red RS brake callipers and signature oval-tipped twin-exit exhaust pipes carry over.
Updates continue inside the cabin, starting with a new 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen, which removes the button/dial and is said to feature 10 times the computing power of the interface it replaces.
Smartphone mirroring is included as standard, as is DAB+ digital radio and a 19-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Other carry-over standard equipment extends to Audi Virtual Cockpit, Nappa leather trim, an extended upholstery package, heated electric seats with massage function, a flat-bottomed RS multifunction sport steering wheel, wireless charging, convenience key, stainless-steel pedals, illuminated RS door trim, auto-dimming mirrors, privacy glass and a panoramic sunroof.
An electric tailgate with gesture control is also standard on the RS4 Avant and five-door RS5 Sportback.
Under the bonnet, no changes have been made to the smooth and potent 2.9-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 engine, which continues to produce 331kW at 6700rpm and 600Nm of torque from 1900-5000rpm.
Like all Audi Sport offerings, power is sent to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, with an eight-speed automatic handling transmission duties.
Dragging the RS4 from standstill to 100km/h can be completed in 4.1 seconds, with the RS5 is 0.2s quicker to the landmark figure. Both have an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
Two new customisable drive modes – named RS1 and RS2 – have been included in the update, and are accessible via the new RS Mode button mounted on the steering wheel.
The history of the RS4 started at the turn of the century, with the reveal of the B5-generation RS4 Avant in 1999, kicking off the trend of hot wagons that still continues today.
Powered by a 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6, the original RS4 pumped out 280kW/440Nm, and served as the performance flagship until the generational model changeover in 2006.
Next up was the fan-favourite B7 generation, underpinned by a grin-inducing 4.2-litre aspirated V8 producing 309kW at a heady 7800rpm and 430Nm at 5500rpm.
The first RS5 touched down in 2010, also using a 4.2-litre V8 increased to 331kW at 8250rpm and 430Nm, offered solely in coupe body style.
Whether it is a performance coupe, sedan or wagon you are looking for, chances are the Audi RS4 and RS5 will fit your bill.