The never-ending battle for the best non-SUV daily driver wages on. I wish there was a way to determine a winner, but there are just too many to choose from. One fine, fine choice is the Audi RS5.
Many members of Exotic Car Hacks are on the hunt for a high-performance daily driver that fights depreciation and holds value even with fair to moderate usage. Bonus points if the car is under $100k.
That is exactly what the Audi RS5 is, and while it may not be as talked about as the Mercedes S63, or the BMW M5, I think it should be.
Whether you are looking at the older V8 variant or want something with the newer tech and the turbo-charged V6, we have the answer to the question you are now asking yourself, is the Audi RS5 suitable for me?
My personal favorite in the RS line is the RS6. That thing is just the ultimate daily driver to me, but it is a bit out of the under $100k price range, which makes the RS5 so appealing.
If were to compare another RS in the same price range, the RS5 has a more favorable drive than the RS7. Every RS7 I have ever driven has a little bit of a tighter suspension than I would prefer in my daily driver.
The RS5 is nimble, shorter, and more planted, making taking this car to and from work, out on the highway, and even down a drag strip exciting and engaging.
The RS5 has had two different engines, a naturally aspirated V8 in the early body style and now the twin turbo-charged V6 in the newer generations. However, both are tuned to the same 450 horsepower with a 0-60 time of just 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 178 miles an hour. Pretty speedy.
Audi RS5 Common Problems
So the RS5 can be a little tricky regarding the issues it is notorious for, as it can be pretty expensive to fix the things that go wrong.
The V8 is known to have carbon buildup in the engine, which translates to intake valve issues.
The V6 is known to suffer from spark plug and ignition coil failure when you get into the higher model examples.
Both models seem to have issues with their transmissions, mainly thermostat failure, solenoid failure, and so on. Thankfully, continuous maintenance will negate a lot of those from occurring.
Oil leaks, coolant issues, and electrical issues also plague the RS5 and mainly most RS model Audi’s regardless of the trim.
Now this may sound scary – but don’t worry. Remember, these cars are labeled as daily drivers and so the more mass-produced cars that get good highway and city miles put on them whilst also being higher performance can typically have these issues.
A great way to ensure your potential RS5 is free of these known issues is to get the car PPI’d. Most reputable shops are able to perform these pre-purchase inspections on these Audis for just around $300-$400.
Audi RS5 Cost of Ownership/Maintenance
Audi’s are quite easy to own and maintain, most RS5s are out of warranty at this point unless you are buying a 2021+ model (which I don’t recommend as you will lose on depreciation – written in 2023). This may seem scary to the average person, car hackers know that an out-of-warranty car is nothing to fear.
You should already be friendly with or know a local mechanic who is trusted and respected in the exotic and luxury car space. An Audi is a beautiful Volkswagen, so doing routine repairs and maintenance is not too challenging and may even be cheaper than you think. Sure, it won’t cost the same as your neighbor’s Jetta, but it won’t be as much as my Bugatti, that is for sure.
Given these cars are daily drivers more than anything else, most of your cost of ownership will come down to wear and tear stuff such as service, tires, and maybe even brakes. Thankfully, all of this can be done at a trusted shop for pennies on the dollar compared to what a dealership would cost you for the same work, and you won’t have to deal with nosey salesmen.
Audi RS5 Trim Differences
The Audi RS5 is the highest trim level of its make/model/class.
Best Audi RS5 To Buy
When it comes to the best RS5 to buy, I really want to focus on the difference between the generations.
The 13-15’s are much cheaper in terms of asking price. But given these are nearly 10-year-old cars, they need to be PPI’d BIG TIME. There is no way to go around that, and it is not the thing you want to cheap out on. That $300 could save you thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs.
The brand new 2021 and up generation are a bit too new and may experience hard hits in their depreciation schedule. Right now (2023) it would not be wise to get into.
From a hackability standpoint, I am going to encourage you to look into the 18-19 year range for the RS5. They have shown good time-based depreciation, and given their age, and the improvements in Audi construction over the last 6-7 years, they are far more reliable than the previous generation.
Obviously, the higher the sticker, the better, with the base models being typically around the $69k range (nice), and a loaded example with exclusive paint and other high ticket options would be about $85k.
Bottom line, the RS line for Audi is solid. They make great daily drivers whether a wagon, an SUV a full-body sedan, or a midsize four-door. They are cars that often get overlooked in favor of other makes and models that are maybe more infamous, but that is a mistake. These cars are prestigious, fair to maintain and hold their value well in the current market. So if you are wondering what daily driver to add to your lineup, I would consider the RS5 or one of its family members.