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Car review: Audi RS 5 Sportback

It’s the second-fastest accelerating Audi coupe in India, 0.6 seconds slower to 100 than the electric RS e-tron GT, but the way the RS 5 Sportback does the sprint marks its arrival in style, and high-decibel sound.Unlike the RS e-tron GT that accelerates quietly, the RS 5 Sportback’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 screams at the top of its six lungs (cylinders), producing loud cracks-and-pops.With electrification taking over the car industry—and even Audi spending its monies in the development of pure electric cars—the RS 5 Sportback is possibly the last of its kind in the world.The screaming twin-turbo V6, the fraction-of-a-second lag when you floor the accelerator pedal and then the launch, vibrations from the steering wheel … you won’t find any of this when electric cars take over in a decade or two.

What is the RS 5 Sportback?

In Audi’s dictionary, a sportback is a car that combines the traits of a sedan, a coupe and a hatchback. The RS 5 Sportback has the cabin dimensions of a sedan, the sloping roofline of a coupe and the rear door of a hatchback. It’s the best of three worlds.RS is taken from the German word RennSport, or ‘race sport’. It’s the high-performance car division of Audi, just like M is to BMW and AMG is to Mercedes-Benz.But unlike AMG cars that look quite similar to regular Mercedes-Benz cars, RS cars are distinctively different from regular Audi cars and turn heads everywhere.

How does it drive?

Its engine develops 450 peak horsepower and 600 Nm peak torque, and takes it from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds.Thanks to the all-wheel quattro drive system, the car’s traction is superb, and on sharp turns and good tarmac the RS 5 Sportback doesn’t lose grip even at speeds above 100 km/h. On loose gravel, however, the car appears to glide. Suspension is stiff, and while driving on broken roads a lot of tyre noise and vibrations enter the cabin.The cabin is roomy enough for four adults—the rear sloping roof doesn’t eat much into headroom—and the boot space is huge (enough for another four adults lying down).At Rs 1.09 crore (ex-showroom), the RS 5 Sportback is Rs 80 lakh cheaper than the RS e-tron GT and Rs 34 lakh cheaper than the BMW M4 Competition Coupe—the only two more or less similar cars in the Indian market (the former electric and the latter petrol).For once, even an RS feels value for money. And it’s the last of its kind.

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 | Power: 331 kW (450 hp) | Torque: 600 Nm | 0-100 km/h: 3.9 seconds | Top speed: 250 km/h | Price: Rs 1.09 crore | Competitors: Audi RS e-tron GT (Rs 1.89 crore), BMW M4 Competition Coupe (Rs 1.44 crore)

(Prices are ex-showroom)

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