Scratching the sports car itch
Everyone, a petrolhead or otherwise, has a fast car story to tell. This might not even involve a supercar or even a sports car. It is more often than not their own daily driver, which has been pushed hard out of necessity, or simply for the thrill of it.
I have had my share of such experiences and while they were scary/thrilling, depending on how you look at such things, I still hadn't had a proper sportscar experience. That changed when the 2018 Audi RS5 coupe was present in office a few days ago. It was here for a road test and there was spare time for me to take it out for a quick spin.
I went into the entire experience with half a mind to just hold on and not crash the second I stepped on the throttle. I was grossly mistaken. The RS5 is right up there at being the ideal car to cut your teeth in the world of sports car driving.
The RS5, especially in the shade of red that we had it in, looks quite intimidating, given how easily Audis can look unremarkable these days. The patented sportscar tantrums of a low ride-height and a somewhat unnecessarily big front splitter are present and accounted for. But work around these minor niggles and the car is a revelation for any newbie sportscar driver.
At city speeds, it is no harder to drive than a regular A4 sedan. The engine does not make a racket and the interior is spacious, although a bit too similar to a standard A5. Visibility is excellent too. Power delivery is smoothly metered out and the suspension is not uncomfortably stiff. The steering doesn't have much feedback but is precise. The short amount of lock available and the shape of the wheel accentuate this feeling of precision.
But then you find yourself an empty stretch of road and put your foot hard down. For a sportscar novice, the next few milliseconds are, at first, frantic; but this soon turns to exhilaration. Just the sensation of speed is a massive high. But in this situation too, you can feel the RS5 working in the background to stop the situation from getting out of hand. The bellows and the pops and crackles are all present but you clearly feel the traction control keeping things grounded.
The half an hour that my colleague and I got to spend in the car were all straight line runs. By the end of it, we were about as confident as anyone could be behind the wheel of a car in this short span of time. It is highly unlikely that anyone with my level of driving skill could have said the same thing in a Jaguar F-Type or a Ford Mustang. The dynamic setting in the car brought about a sense of urgency but fear or anxiety was never the underlying feeling.
For a first timer like me, the Audi was a great stepping stone to understanding how to work with a fast car. But this exact trait will likely make the RS5 seem a bit reserved or distant to people more used to being around a quick car. There is no doubting its capability, but in my case at least, the RS 5's inherent docility was more than welcome.
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