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Audi’s All-New RS5 Coupe Is Lean, Mean, and Best in Green

The 444 hp two-door shines bright on a test-drive in Arizona.

Beyond the eccentric world of supercars, green is not a typical color for an automobile. Be it the design of the vehicle, the hue of the paint, or any number of other factors, green cars hardly ever pan out. There are, however, some models that are made for the color—icons like the Jaguar XKSS, Aston Martin Vantage, and Toyota Land Cruiser to name a few. Audi now hopes its all-new RS5 will join this exclusive club.

Our first look at the 2018 Audi RS5 and its available Sonoma Green paint job comes mere moments before we climb into the driver’s seat. Juxtaposed with the tangerine landscape of Scottsdale, Ariz., the RS5 dazzles in the afternoon sun. Sharp creases along the hood flow into a wide honeycomb grille. Massive air inlets fill the corners of the front fascia like swollen cheeks on a pouting toddler.

The 440 hp Audi RS5 Coupe.

The 2018 Audi RS5 steals the scene in Sonoma Green.  Photo: Courtesy Audi AG.

In profile, the RS5 brandishes 20-inch milled cut and forged wheels over six-piston carbon-ceramic front brakes (steel units come standard). The coupe’s tapering roofline—notched at the C-pillar—sweeps into a thin-lipped spoiler. An available black optic package lacquers dual oval exhaust ports and an aggressive rear diffuser in gloss black. Traditional Audi Sport subtlety contends with the RS5’s rich green exterior—a color that transforms from emerald to forest in changing light.

Inside, leather bucket front seats pair with a perforated leather wheel and shift lever for high-end appeal. Sporty accents include carbon-fiber trim for the dashboard centerline, door trays, and console and Alcantara door inserts. Audi’s brilliant 12.3-inch digital driver display reshuffles mapping, multimedia, and telemetry data according to the driver’s whims.

Audi bills its new RS5 as something of a grand tourer, with supercar-like performance and luxury-car ride quality. Powering the A5 halo model is a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, delivering 444 hp—and 443 ft lbs of torque—to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Prompted by launch control, the RS5 slaps from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 174 mph. Such tenacious acceleration goes unmatched within the RS5’s competitive set (which includes the BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63, and Lexus RC-F).

The interior of the 2018 Audi RS5.

Interior features include carbon-fiber accents and a 12-inch driver display.  Photo: Courtesy Audi AG.

Handling finesse is the result of mechanical and electrical components working in perfect harmony. Complementing the standard RS-tuned suspension, torque vectoring, and limited-slip rear differential, Audi Sport offers Dynamic Ride Control with three damping settings (Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic) and an anti-roll system. On the winding, undulating road to Bartlett Lake, the RS5 flaunts its agility and poise. Every corner is a credit to the car’s 5,000 hours of Nürburgring testing.

Back on Scottsdale’s smooth, open highways, the RS5 settles into astonishing momentum. Illegal speeds arrive so quickly and imperceptibly that we must rely on cruise control to avoid an encounter with one of the state’s patrol officers. It is only at slower speeds, in fact, that the RS5 shows any fault. Regardless of damper setting, the RS5 remains overly firm for our liking. Traversing more weather-torn roads, we fear, would yield some harshness of ride.

At $70,000, Audi’s Sonoma green dream is a beauty, a brawler, and the color of our envy.

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