Audi A7 versus Audi RS5 – “Audi”ble war

There is a certain thrill factor which is catching up amongst the Indiandrives staffers nowadays. Or rather if I put it, exactly today. The reason being that both the Audi A7 as also the Audi RS5 are coming in for a comparison test. Both the Audis being launched recently, aren’t seen much on the roads and imagine this, the office parking lot is already cramped with a Tata Xenon 4×4, a yellow Mitsubishi Cedia Sport, Hummer H3 and many more exotics nonetheless a 2003 Mercedes S-class. That apart, the regular run of the mill cars like BMW 5 series, Honda City and various other stuffs are present. But then still, seeing a relatively new car and one which is yet to be seen on the Indian roads is definitely a thrill of sorts. More to it when one is actually getting to experience it first hand. There is generally a question when a buyer goes out to buy any of these machines and that is  “Which one to buy”. The question arises since both are available at almost an arm stretch of each other. Both are sports tourers with almost equal seating capacity.

If it’s the color distinguishing thing, then definitely the RS5 scores a point here. Its bright red color definitely is an eye turner whereas the Audi A7 in India with its sort of yellowish grey doesn’t look to distinguishing. In the car world, most of the testers have a car which they keep pinned to the pedestal and it is always this car which is used as a measuring tape vis-à-vis other cars that come to the arena. To be frank enough, none of the Audi cars are my favorites and that is for sure. Sure, I do like to be seen in them but then the desirability thing doesn’t cut in. Infact owning smaller cars is what I like. Strange as it may sound. The Audi RS5 in India is a coupe which has similar pretensions to the original Quattro model which came into being in the late 80s and started the Quattro thing for Audi. The RS5 looks the aggressive part though than the A7, which looks a bit docile. The designers at Audi don’t have much of a work to do, I guess. A single designer bored of his work must have put in the wide goatee grille and done the obvious copy paste job on all the rest of the models. Its very easy and cost effective. Good thing that they decided to change the alloy wheel patterns of both the cars and this has made a hell lot of difference to the scheme of things. However, personally, I don’t feel like either of the two alloys wheels would be very outrageous in their approach. Audi, please check out the Spyder alloys that Skoda gives with its RS models. Oh, from the sides, the RS5 looks shrunken while the A7 looks as big as the Audi A6. Both have coupe like sloping rooflines towards the rear and the A7 feels like a RS5 with extended boot. From the rear, there is nothing much to distinguish both the cars. They look the same in here. Well, Audis are Audis and there is no distinguishing here but then the overall red color of the RS5 would definitely overwhelm you and it did for me also.

Opening the doors of the RS5 coupe revealed that there is not much to differ in here as well. The typical Audi cabin quality is all too obvious and opening the doors of the A7 also didn’t reveal much of a marked difference. While everyone would say that the build quality is good and stuff, I would beg to differ. Its not that the panel gaps are uneven in places or stuff, but it is just that the all aluminium body wouldn’t be able to take the abuse so well as the other iron ones do. But then the RS5 is touted as a sports coupe and frankly speaking, I didn’t find too much of sporty elements or things floating around the cabin. Okay, do drilled aluminium pedals count in as sporty bits? Well, they would have definitely done the trick in a small hatch like the Swift but for a manufacturer of Audi’s proportions, those are some bits which are to be expected. Where is the R badged steering wheel or for that matter where are the bucket seats? The seats are of the same configuration as in the A7 and even the A6. There is obviously no distinction between these interiors. The headsup display is there in both the cars and while am not a fan of gizmos, there is the MMI interface which gives one access to all the menus and their sub menus. Very nice to use and tactile also. I loved this part the best in the car. Both the cars have rear seats but the ones for the A7 are usable while the ones in the RS5 are there for only show. See, I have got a nice car for Rs 80 lakhs and it has 4 seats. You can only use two but. That would be quite a statement for many to say. Boot space, needless to say is more in the A7 and the RS5 falls just shy of its mark. For the same interiors and at a lesser price, it would be the A7 that would win my vote, afterall, practicality is something which am sure everyone would associate with. Unfortunately the massaging seats that many wanted to have a go at were absent in both the cars. Maybe the options list has got it then.

To check out if the Audi RS5 is the same docile thing that the interiors portray, one slight dab at the stop start button was enough to bring the monster to life. It was more like I was expecting a Maruti 800 like 3 pot clatter but then the ultra refinement of this motor blew me away. Just to check how things would work out, a slight dab on the accelerator produced a mad howl. The throaty masterpiece that the 4.2 liter lungs were pouring out was enough to ask some of the birds sitting on the nearby branches to take a quick exit. To them, it must have seemed like a nuclear bomb has been let loose or something. All the vocal chords that I could exercise would never be able to meet up with the throaty roar that this car emits. This engine and gearbox combination really got me hooked up and all the turns that were there were dispatched off with a nonchalance that was never seen before in all my tests. The Quattro affords a leech like grip and needless to say, even in the rains that Mumbai has been encountering for the past some days, there was no dearth of grip from the tyres. However, not much fun can be had by kicking out the rear of the car since the electronic aids immediately come on and warned me that this is not something to be done in this car. Emotionless is one which I would coin for the steering wheel of the RS5. It does its job very well and infact can be called as a good steering wheel but like most of VW’s steering wheel offerings, even this one fails to excite on the emotions count. Instead of the Quattro, I prefer the rear wheel drive setup offered by BMW for its cars. Some of the staffers were really impressed that I could drive so beautifully, only to realize that it was the car making a Schumacher out of me rather than the other way round. As for the ride quality, that aluminium body had me in a doubt there but the RS5 manages well on this front as well. For all the potholes that Mumbai had to throw at it, the RS5 absorbed them quietly with a smirk on its face saying “Is that all you got”.

For the Audi A7, there is no lurking beast under the big bonnet and it doesn’t like corners as much as the RS5 does. The best thing that it does is take things sedately in a corner and turn on its charm in a straight line. Its very easy to get this car to drift unlike the RS5, which actually is a role reversal sort of thing. The RS5 was meant to be a chuckable thing while the A7 was supposed to be more composed. Ride quality is similar to what the RS5 offers but in a bit more absorbing fashion. Quite loved its ride quality over the RS5’s. The handling, as discussed before, is almost the same as its smaller A4 and A6 siblings. I quite loved the way the steering wheel communicates. It definitely has some soul into it after the somber thing that the RS5 seemed to be. The diesel engine too sounded muted and elaborate use of the right foot didn’t seem to so anything much other than seeing the rpm meter climb up and bounce back. But then on the move, this diesel is deceptively fast in a straight line. Not too much of confidence to throw it around the corners inspite of the all wheel drive system installed in it. The gearbox is also quick but knowing that there is a diesel out there, not too much needs to be done as all the torque is available from a very low rpm.

Its not about fuel efficiency that we at Indiandrives wanted to do this comparison. Just for the sakes, the RS5 returns an overall 7.8 kmpl while the A7 dials in a cooler 10.3 kmpl. Being a diesel also means being lighter on the wallet by a big margin. However, when the cost factor comes in, it is pretty much similar and as in all the cases, the much less practical thing costs more. The Audi RS5 price in India stands at Rs 76 and comparing this to the Audi A7 price in India of Rs 64 lakhs, it is but natural that desired buyers would be thronging for the A7. But, I did forget one important thing in this price bracket and it is the snob value thing. This the RS5 with its flared wheel arches offers in plenty. Moreover, pure petrol cars rarely fall out of favor from enthusiasts and this is what the RS5 does. I go for practicality and would choose the A7 happily over the RS5, but not many would think like me and still go with the RS5. Well, its your money after all and the urge to splurge can be understood with the set of wheels one chooses.

Image source zigwheels

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