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450hp RS5 Sportback puts the boot into performance. Image by Audi.

450hp RS5 Sportback puts the boot into performance
Rocketship five-door Audi is genuinely practical.
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What's this then?

Why, this is an Audi A5 Sportback, just the thing for the gentleman or lady who fancies an attractive car, but still wants something with a 480-litre boot and reasonable room in the back seats.

Why does it have RS badges all over it?

Ah, no reason. Carry on.

No, hang on, this is the RS5 Sportback, isn't it?

Yes, alright, this is the RS5. We were hoping you wouldn't notice so that we could get an order in ahead of you. This Sportback model lifts the 450hp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and quattro four-wheel drive from the two-door RS5 coupe, but adds the extra doors and space of the Sportback body.

It's a little more muscular than standard - the wheelarches are 15mm wider, and they wrap over 19-inch (or, optionally, 20-inch) wheels. The gorgeous Sonoma Green paint job is exclusive to the RS, and to give it some more visual welly, there are honeycomb grilles, gloss-black trims, matte-finish 'quattro' script in the front air intake, and oval pipes for the sporty RS exhaust system.

I'm guessing it's quick?

Well, with 450hp and 600Nm it was hardly going to be slow. The 1.5-bar pressure twin turbos are mounted at 90-degrees to the engine, with split intakes and exhausts, which Audi says shortens the fuel paths and improves engine response. The RS5 Sportback will hit 60mph in just 3.9 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 174mph.

Keeping all of that in check is a quattro four-wheel drive system which is biased 60 per cent to the rear wheels, and the five-link suspension sits the car 7mm closer to the ground than a standard Sportback. You can also go for RS Sport Suspension Plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), ceramic brakes and RS-specific dynamic steering.

On the inside, as well as that practical boot, you get RS sports seats (which can be swathed in honeycomb Nappa leather if you like), special RS displays for the 'Virtual Cockpit' digital instruments, and even a gearshift light for when you're using the automatic gearbox in manual mode.

"The Audi RS 5 Sportback is more than just an international trade fair novelty - it offers something new to our customers. Our innovative interpretation of a five-door high-performance coupe has neither predecessor models, nor a direct competitor," explains Michael-Julius Renz, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. "The new Audi RS 5 Sportback will carry the RS genes out onto the road."

When can I have one?

Sales start later in 2018.

Neil Briscoe - 28 Mar 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Audi A5

2018-03-10: Driven: Audi A5 Sportback

2018 Audi RS 5 Sportback revealed. Image by Audi.2018 Audi RS 5 Sportback revealed. Image by Audi.2018 Audi RS 5 Sportback revealed. Image by Audi.2018 Audi RS 5 Sportback revealed. Image by Audi.2018 Audi RS 5 Sportback revealed. Image by Audi.

2018 Audi RS 5 Sportback revealed. Image by Audi.     - Audi road tests
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