450-horsepower Audi RS 5 Cabriolet on the way

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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In Audi-speak, the alpha designation "A" stands for a base car with respect to performance criteria, followed up by an "S" for cars with a little more zing. If you want to step up to something capable of inducing rollercoaster levels of joy and fear, plan to spend much more on an "RS" car.

In the past it was common for Audi's RS models to be left off the menu in Canada and the U.S., but word has it the new RS 5 Cabriolet is headed our way sometime next year, so you'd better start saving your pennies; it starts at €88,500 (that's euros in case you didn't notice, or about $110,000 CAD).

The beautifully sculpted car features an equally stimulating 4.2-litre FSI V8 tucked between the front struts, capable of spinning out 450-horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque for a resultant 0 to 100 km/h sprint of just 4.9 seconds and speed-limited 250 km/h terminal velocity, although this can be raised to 280 km/h upon request. A paddle-shift actuated 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch sequential gearbox is standard, connecting through to Audi's quattro all-wheel drive that's set to a 40:60 front/rear default torque split, unless conditions dictate up to 70-percent to the front or alternatively, 85-percent to the rear. A set of 19-inch forged aluminum rims wrapped in performance rubber keep the RS 5 Cab locked down to the tarmac, while a 20-inch wheel and tire package is optional.

Audi remains dedicated to fabric convertible tops, this one featuring a special foam layer for noise reduction. It's hard to argue with their speed of operation and capability of being raised or lowered while driving, not to mention arguably more agreeable aesthetics. The RS 5 Cabriolet's roof opens or closes in a mere 15 seconds, while doing so can take place at speeds of up to 50 km/h. The roof also takes up less cargo space than a retractable hardtop would, stealing just 60 litres of the 380-litre trunk when lowered, while the rear seatbacks can be tumbled forward for stowing longer items.

Styling details include a hexagonal single-frame grille with a matte aluminum surround and honeycomb insert, finished off with an RS 5 badge in anthracite. Just below, the front apron features larger air intakes before tapering outwards to splitter edges. Ground effects continue down the sides, divided only by muscular wheel cutouts. A tasteful matte carbon spoiler rests on the rear deck lid, while at the base of the body shell a unique rear diffuser includes a honeycomb insert and a set of large elliptical exhaust pipes. RS defining aluminum-look mirror housings are part of the package too, while the windshield frame is also surfaced in anodized aluminum. The lightweight metal surrounds the side windows too, as well as the top compartment lid. Audi is offering the RS 5 Cabriolet in eight exterior colours, while the top can be had in black, gray, red or brown.

Inside, a 3-spoke perforated leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel with a flat-bottomed rim is more about style than the additional legroom. Power-adjustable leather and Alcantara sport seats boast heavy bolstering for optimal lateral support, although Audi offers manually-adjustable buckets for purists or climate-controlled comfort seats with a ventilation for those who can't stand the heat.

The RS 5 Cabriolet gets a black interior with a light gray roof liner, while chrome, high-gloss black and carbon fibre add a sense of occasion to the cabin. And there's no shortage of RS badging inside either, just in case you forget what you're driving.  

Audi will begin RS 5 Cabriolet deliveries in Germany next spring, with North American sales expected later in the year.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Audi, 2013, RS 5 Cabriolet, $99,999+,

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