When an automaker builds a performance model of a vehicle, such as the Audi RS5 which is part of the A5 lineup but with a lot more of the power needed, some automakers will try and gain an advantage in the numbers, but not Audi. This brand has been in the habit of offering us numbers for speed and performance that are understated for over twenty years and its done this for some very simple reasons, which make perfect sense when you consider what an automaker has to put up with.
One of the first reasons for understating performance numbers is for the customer benefit. If under perfect conditions a car performs a certain way, the brand doesn’t want the customer that tests out their time to reach sixty mph under less than ideal conditions to be disappointed. For this reason, you might be able to make a run to sixty in the RS5 in as little as 3.7 seconds, but Audi may tell you it takes as much as 4.0 seconds to offer some buffer that could be experienced based upon the conditions of the road or the tires you’re riding on.
Another reason to keep these stated numbers more conservative is for the journalists in the crowd. The automotive journalist community is a fickle bunch and until they see something in person they have a tendency to question whether or not a vehicle can actually perform the feat mentioned. For this reason, Audi stated the R8 could make the run to sixty in 3.2 seconds, which is blindingly fast, but this car has been clocked making this run in as little as 2.6 seconds. This buffer of time is for the journalist and the customer benefit to keep everyone happy with what they hear and see.
In addition to showing numbers in this way, Audi has a much better understanding of what we drive than we do. Most of us want to hear impressive horsepower numbers, thinking this is what we feel when we drive when in reality we’re driving the torque of the car. For this reason, Audi kept the RS5 at 450 horsepower but pumped up the torque to 442 lb.-ft. The other part of this is when the torque is delivered, which makes a huge difference. The RS5 delivers this torque between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm, making it a car that can peak early, which makes it more fun for us to drive.
The folks at Audi seem to know a lot about performance, perception and how we think and drive. The new RS5 is a car that can be one that’s a ton of fun for you to experience from behind the wheel with its improved torque number and low-end delivery. If you decide to drive one of the Audi Sport models and have fun from behind the wheel, keep in mind you might be able to beat their stated times on a regular basis because they like to undersell the overall performance offered by Audi.