Oh heck yes it is! Nature has been on my side (so to speak) both times I’ve tested an RS 5. The coupé saw me making a run from Manhattan to upstate New York and back in a downpour, while the RS 5 Sportback also squired me through a heavy rain, between New Jersey and New York City.
The all-wheel-drive setup — Audi’s legendary Quattro system — fills you with confidence when the conditions are terrible. This is a fast and powerful machine, this Audi RS 5, capable of blasting to 60 mph in less than four seconds. But unlike, say, a rear-wheel-drive-only, high-performance sedan, you don’t have to sweat the stability on slick roads. For my money, the RS 5 is just about the best high-grade car you can buy for miserable weather.
On other fronts, it’s simply capable. BMW’s M-Sport cars are wilder, Mercedes AMGs have more bling. (And as for Porsches, corporate siblings of Audi, the motor in the Panamera S also sits under the hood of the RS 5.)
My tester came with almost $4,000 worth of drive-assist features, and I’m proud to say that I used almost none of them, apart from the top-view camera. (The Traffic Jam assist feature of the adaptive cruise control is useful, but I was only briefly in a traffic jam.)
The bottom line on the Audi RS 5 is that it’s absolutely crammed with tech while also serving as a spectacularly versatile daily driver that can be instantly transformed into a near-race car. It has, in a word, range. The turbo V6 provides lagless power, abundantly spread through the RS 5’s gearing; ask for some pop, and the car is happy to deliver. The steering is crisp, and the suspension can be set for severe tightness, enhancing feedback. You’d be both dragster quick in a straight line and agile around corners in this thing.
Plus, the Sonoma Green Metallic paint job is GOR-JEE-US! I couldn’t take my eyes off it. And it received numerous envying stares during my testing adventures.
At nearly $100,000, the 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback sure ain’t cheap. But in the realm of serious performance and luxury, it’s a winner. I quickly forgot about the old RS 5. However, I do now want to get my hands on the coupé, for a proper updating of impressions. Stay tuned!