The RS5 comes with the Audi Drive Select controller as standard, and this changes the behaviour of the car according to the driving mode you select, by altering the responses you get from the engine, gearbox, throttle, steering and suspension. Rest assured, it’s not one of those systems where you can barely tell the difference. Select Comfort mode, and the RS5 is a very relaxed and civilised way to get around. The ride is compliant and comfortable at all speeds, the steering is light and manageable, and the gearbox swaps ratios smoothly and seamlessly, so you can waft about in total tranquillity.
Switch through the modes up to the sportiest end of the spectrum, and the character of the car changes unrecognisably. The suspension hunkers down to give tighter control over body movements, meaning body lean is much better suppressed in corners and the car doesn’t feel anywhere near as floaty on undulating roads. You feel a whole lot more from the road surface, but it adds to the feeling of increased sensation without becoming jarring or uncomfortable. The tighter control urges you to really attack every bend you come across, and when you do, you’re rewarded with incredible grip and traction courtesy of the wide tyres and permanent four-wheel-drive system. Meanwhile, the sharper responses you get from the gearbox and throttle also give you an extra element of control over how the car behaves. The steering also becomes weightier and more responsive, even if it doesn’t provide the feel some drivers might want from it.
Driving the RS5 is a very different experience to those you get in rear-drive rivals like the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63, and which you’ll prefer will depend on your preference, but there’s no doubting the Audi is one very capable and entertaining car in its own right.