More than a year after it was first revealed, Audi has introduced the new RS5 Sportback to the UK alongside an updated version of the coupe. Both the more-door and normal version of Audi’s 450hp V6 range-topper come with the same 3.9-second 0-62mph time and limited 155mph top speed, but are now offered exclusively in Sport Edition format and will be limited to just 250 examples of each for 2019.
Audi told PH that the restricted volume is a result of limited global production, which perhaps suggests sales were not as high as originally expected - or that another version will succeed the present cars in 2020. Either way, it pushes the starting price of Audi’s RS5 models to £68,985 apiece – making the coupe over £4k more expensive than the old entry variant and ranking it dangerously close (£800 to be exact) to AMG’s V8-powered C63 coupe. The Sportback’s is £1.5k pricier than the C63 saloon.
However, neither AMG can claim to be a low volume model, plus Audi’s decision to upgrade the RS5s to Sport Edition spec as standard means there’s plenty of kit to tempt you away from Affalterbach. There are 20-inch anthracite alloy wheels, tinted glass and black trim for the grille, window and door mirror surrounds - differentiating the model from the launch car - and the more vocal Audi Sport exhaust system is included for a matching soundtrack.
Inside, you get Nappa leather and Alcantara trimmings, with contrasting diamond stitching on the RS Super Sports seats that are also exclusive to the Sport Edition trim, piano black trim and a panoramic glass sunroof. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with Apple Carplay and Android Auto are both present and correct, alongside its top-spec satellite navigation and LTE internet technology, hill hold assist and Audi’s Parking System Plus. Now, with the Sportback’s arrival, the RS5 also offers storage space for up to 480 litres of luggage with the three-part rear bench up or, with it folded down, up to 1,300 litres.
Fans of Audi Sport’s effortlessly quick M4 rival will be pleased to hear that none of the technical makeup has been changed. The turbocharged 2.9-litre engine retains its peak 450hp output alongside a maximum 443lb ft torque figure, with up to 60 per cent sent to the rear wheels via clutch-based Quattro hardware. All cars get an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox and active limited-slip differential, as before. Tempted? With only 500 cars due, we wouldn’t hang about.