Audi has revealed the lightly-refreshed RS5 and RS5 Sportback – that’s the five-door, to you and me. It’s now built around new user-customisable driving modes and a touch-screen interface. One of these new features is a very good idea.
Where before a driver was forced (quelle horreur) to cycle through driving modes via a button or dial, the 2020 RS5 will be endowed with an extra button, marked RS MODE and accessing two extra modes. These are user-customisable ones, allowing you to combine the fiercest engine and gearbox settings with the softest ride, for example, or a generally sporty attitude in tandem with lighter steering. Push the button and access your preferred combo with no more than two presses.
On the other hand, the – brilliant and frankly irreplaceable – MMI system is sadly now on the options list as part of a new ‘touch not turn’ interface philosophy. That’s a terrible idea, as anyone who drives lumpy roads while attempting to use a touch-screen knows, and will result in countless instances of people topping up their swear jars after accidentally pressing climate settings instead of media. Really, the rotary dial interface is absolutely fit for purpose. Why change it?
Elsewhere little has changed. There are a few microscopic styling tweaks to what is still one of Audi’s most handsome cars from the side and rear, and the 444bhp, 443lb ft twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 is unchanged. So is the eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox and permanent all-wheel drive.
Standard bounce is taken care of by a passive RS-spec steel spring setup, which can be optioned-up to a Dynamic Ride Control system that includes hydraulic roll- and pitch-stabilisation to reduce the lateral load on the coils. It adds three-stage adjustable dampers. As per regulation Audi form, the steel brakes can also be switched for carbon ceramics, albeit for the front axle only.
In Germany the prices for the new model start at €83,500, which is expected to translate to around £70,000 in the UK. There’s no grand fanfare for the model switchover; the old one will simply be phased out and replaced. The very lightly breathed-on RS5 is actually the one that completes Audi’s 25th anniversary year and rounds off a wholesale renewal of the model range. Someone could have at least pulled a cracker.