At the most recent 2017 Geneva Motor Show, we saw the unveiling of the new Audi RS5 Coupe. Only in its second generation, the RS5 took a big leap forward and is now packing some very impressive specs. Gone, though, is its naturally-aspirated 4.2 liter V8, replaced by a smaller, turbocharged V6. BMW’s own M4 has a similar story, as its predecessor’s 4.0 liter free-breathing V8 was also replaced by a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine. In its new Competition Package form, the M4 competes very well with the new Audi RS5, so let’s see how they compare.
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The new second-gen Audi RS5 uses a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, an engine co-developed with Porsche. That 2.9 liter makes 450 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque which, when paired with an as-standard eight-speed automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive, helps the RS5 get from 0-60 mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds.
With its level of power and performance, the Audi RS5’s prime competitor is the BMW M4 Competition Package. That car makes 444 hp from its twin-turbocharged I6 engine and 406 lb-ft of torque. When paired with its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the M4 Comp Pack can get from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
Being that these two cars are so deadlocked in terms of performance and cost roughly the same amount, we though it’d be a good idea to compare the two, at least in terms of styling, since no one’s driven the RS5 yet.
From the front, it’s really tough. Both cars looks so mean and so aggressive that it really is a toss up. To be completely honest, I think the Audi RS5 is a bit better looking. Its lines are sharper and it’s just a bit bolder, in my opinion. But I really wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking the opposite. I just like some of the little touches on the RS5, such as the brushed aluminum trim around the grill and on the lower lip spoiler. I also really like how it says “Quattro” at the bottom of the grille, which actually reminds me of the backward “Turbo” on the old-school BMW 2002 Turbo. To me, the RS5 just seems more special.
At the back, I think the BMW M4 takes it. Whereas the RS5’s face seemed more special, the M4 has a more special looking rump. Its quad exhaust pipes make it look like something special and powerful, whereas the two big ovular exhausts on the RS5 look like any bro-racer’s aftermarket exhaust system. Plus, the M4 has a little ducktail spoiler integrated into its rear deck, where the RS5 only has a seemingly tacked on lip.
In profile, this is really tough again. Both cars, to me at least, are just tremendous looking. Sure, that little black piece of trim down the side skirt of the RS5 looks a bit childish but I’m a bit childish as well, so I kinda like it. I also like the hood bulge of the M4, which looks old-school and gives it a sense that there’s a ton of power underneath. The M4’s overall profile is prettier than the RS5’s, with a smoother roofline and nice curves. But the RS5’s shoulder line, accentuated rear wheel arches and fat C-pillar give it a more muscular, aggressive look. The wheels on the RS5 are cool but the M4 Competition Package’s are stunning.
Inside, I don’t think it’s much of a competition (pardon the pun). The Audi RS5’s cabin just screams special, whereas the M4’s just looks like a 430i M Sport’s cabin with carbon fiber trim. The seats in the M4 Comp Pack are cool, because they have holes in them, but so are the RS5’s, with their hexagonal red stitching. The RS5 has alcantara and leather everywhere, with an alcantara-covered flat-bottomed steering wheel, a sea of red contrast stitching and the massive Virtual Cockpit screen. It’s a triumph in that it looks and feels special and sporty.
We haven’t driven the Audi RS5, as it’s far too new and Audi hasn’t given press the opportunity yet, but we have driven the M4 Competition Package. The latter is a fantastic driving car, with sharp steering, a great chassis and a fantastic engine. It’s really one of the best performance cars on the road. So the Audi RS5 is going to have to be damn good to compete. However, if I had to choose a car to take home with me, based on just looks alone, I’d probably take the RS5. It’s just a stunning and special looking car.