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2019 Audi RS5 Sportback: Green Zone

It snowed in Chicago today. Snowing in early April. A time when we're supposed to be wearing shorts outside sneezing from allergies. A time when the grass shifts from a dull brown back to a rolling green ant hill. A time when it's cool to start blasting Drake with the windows down. Well, Drake is cool to blast no matter the season. But Chicago weather doesn't stick to schedules. It does what it pleases with no rhyme or reason. And if you're the type that doesn't like spontaneity, you'll probably enjoy the clockwork-like engineering from the Audi RS performance department. 

The 2019 Audi RS5 Sportback is a by-the-numbers high performance luxury sedan. The single-frame grille, angular LED headlights, honeycomb intake aesthetics, and numerous muscular bulges are all directly copied from the Audi RS5 Coupe. It has the same 2.9-liter TFSI twin turbo V-6 engine, 444 horsepower output, 443 lb-ft of torque, and 155 mph top speed (174 mph optional). Its drivetrain is a tuned improvement upon the S5 Sportback featuring 8-speed tiptronic transmission, Quattro all-wheel-drive, multi-link suspension front and rear, and 19- or 20-inch wheels. Optioned up, 275/30 ZR20 Continental SportContact 6 tires are mounted on all four corners.

Minor chassis adjustments can be spotted on the RS5 Sportback. Its suspension rides 7mm lower. Its wheel arches are 15mm wider. And RS dynamic steering is an available option with ceramic brakes. Dynamic Ride Control is also part of an extras package, and a rear limited slip differential (Optional) adds a sense of security and sportiness. Standard fare for all Audi RS models is its torque-splitting differential sending 40% of its power to the front and 60% to the rear under normal conditions. Slip too much and up to 70% can be sent to the front or 85% to the rear. Curb weight is 4057 lbs (1840 kg).

Predictable luxuries and features continue on the inside. Passengers are cushioned with Nappa leather, honeycomb-patterned seats, perforated leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, Audi Virtual cockpit, shift lights, red contrast stitching, Alcantara knee pads, head-up display, and a full suite of safety assist systems. Its infotainment system provides Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wifi, and LTE connectivity. Its rear seats can be folded in 40/20/40 fashion increasing its rear cargo capacity from 17 cu-ft (480 liter) to 46 cu-ft (1300 liter).

In an uncharacteristic manner, Audi will be offering the RS5 Sportback only in North America. A nice surprise when Audi usually gives exclusives to the European market. Sales for 2019 Audi RS5 Sportbacks begin second half 2018. Audi RS5 Sportbacks are the only models purchasable in Sonoma Green Metallic paint.