Key Takeaways

  • The Audi RS5 is a coupe sports car with some serious horsepower
  • Mechanically, the RS5 is reliable. You should, however, get the automatic transmission fluid changed regularly to best maintain the 6 speed transmission.
  • Smaller and less frequently problems include hiccups in the electronics control unit.
  • The fuel injectors also need regular cleaning per Audi’s recommendation.
  • The RS5 is otherwise worth it for a seriously fun car that is ready for a long or short commute.

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When searching for a new or preowned higher end vehicle like the Audi RS5, you might want to know what gripes people have about the vehicle.

The Audi RS5 has relatively few mechanical issues. You’ll want to maintain your Audi RS5 in the way the manual suggests, especially with the transmission fluid. Other potential issues include worn fuel injectors and an electronics control unit that could quit.

We’ve written about car problems for many prospective buyers, including other high end vehicles like the Audi RS5. I’ve also worked at a dealership for several years and have heard just about everything when it comes to issues with new and used cars, so I’m careful about what to recommend. We’ll explore some of the mechanical and non-mechanical issues within the RS5 and whether or not you should consider one.

Table of Contents

Mechanical Issues with the Audi RS5


While this isn’t reported a lot, thankfully, it can be bad. The Audi RS5 uses a gearbox called the ZF or Mechatronic transmission, which offers 8-speeds to keep the vehicle both under control in more gears, and reasonably fuel efficiency.

Some owners say that you should take the manual recommendations to change the automatic transmission fluid oil roughly every 20,000 miles literally. Fresh transmission fluid keeps the transmission working well longer and enables the transfer of heat while providing the necessary lubrication for a vehicle that has some serious power.

We only bring this up as a mechanical issue or concern because if you haven’t owned an Audi or higher end sports car before, you’ve probably never changed transmission fluid in a vehicle or even laughed when a mechanic asked about changing it. Time to take it a little more seriously!

Owners on Audi forums have also stated that the transmission is difficult to diagnose as it is a complex machine. Audi has been known to replace entire gearboxes to avoid having technicians spend hours and hours figuring out how to repair problems.

Fuel Injector

The fuel injectors on the vehicle are programmed to send fuel into the combustion chamber at specific intervals based on the position of the pedal.  The RS5 has been known to produce a check engine light and code for fuel injector issues, which also included cylinder deactivation and a loss of power.

The solution to this, according to some Audi owners, is again to take the Audi scheduled maintenance seriously and have the fuel injectors inspected and cleaned on the regular by a certified tech.

One of the larger problems with fuel injectors is that if they fail, they can fail hard and flood the engine with fuel or cut if off completely, leaving either a potential fire or a stopped car.

Electronics Control Unit

An Audi RS5 has its fair share of electronics that control both the interior computers and the systems that manage safety systems. A few users reported the ECU dying fairly young, often because of a faulty wiring harness. Thankfully, it appears these happened fairly rarely and within warranty which is always good news for Audi owners who would otherwise have to pay the repair bill.

Worn brakes

Some drivers have reported that the brakes and rotors wear down quickly on the Audi RS5. We are going to be honest with this one that they are probably experiencing a two part problem. Drivers have said that the shape and thickness of the standard RS5 brakes are a little unusual. It’s also worth nothing that people who own a vehicle like the RS5 also tend to drive it like the performance vehicle that it is, and will probably wear brakes out faster than they would a typical commuter vehicle.


Lack of a V8

Audi stopped putting their famed 8-cylinder engine in the Audi RS5 in 2019. While the V8 didn’t provide much more power in the horsepower world and the 6-cylinder actually provides more torque with a turbo, some users feel that the 8-cylinder was better suited for the vehicle.

Part of the reason for this is what the Audi sounds like, which we are about to get into.

Engine sound

Drivers who buy sports cars tend to like the loud rumble of both the engine firing up and the exhaust note of unncessary gasses leaving the rear end. For a 444 horsepower engine, the exhaust note isn’t remarkable. It’s not the kind of sound that echoes around the city and turns head. Admittedly, it’s nice if you aren’t trying to wake up your neighbors or stand out.

Steering feel

The Audi RS5 has some electronic steering going on. While you can get Variable Ratio steering, commentators from Car and Driver lamented that it feels uneven and not quite right. While this is considered a sports car, it doesn’t feel like you are as connected to the road as other competitive vehicles.

Are the Audi RS5’s problems worth it?

Audi makes very nice cars that are generally reliable. The issues we reported on were relatively rare. You might also be happy to know that Audi takes good care of its customers for the most part, so problems might happen more than reported, but are fixed by Audi in a way that makes customers satisfied.

The RS5 is meant to be a small sports car, though it actually has some room for being a coupe. Tall frames still fit in, and you won’t have too much trouble getting in and out.

Drivers who are true sports car fanatics can find something to love and hate about the Audi’s turbocharged engine. As a 6-cylinder engine, it can still fly with a 3.5 second 0 to 60 time. The problem? As our non-mechanical issues list says, it’s a rather quiet acceleration and doesn’t have the guttural growl that the old 8-cylinder had.

But, we still like it. Is the RS5 “problems” worth it? 100%. If you are seeking a sports coupe to take on the open roads to and from work or vacation, it might be the right vehicle for you. The seats are also very comfortable and are fully ready for you to take both tight turns and long, straight road trips.  We didn’t address any problems with the interior or infotainment system because there aren’t any. It’s as nice as it gets for Audi and is serene enough that it could be part of the reason you can’t hear the engine all that well.

Audi also wants to help keep you safe with standard safety features like forward collision alert and automated emergency braking. Did someone or something enter the roadway unexpectedly? It brakes automatically to prevent a collision.

Who should avoid the Audi RS5? Well, if you are the kind of person who loves the sound of a bigger V8 cranking up, you might want to start somewhere else. Drivers who enjoy hearing the sound of a vintage car show parking lot emptying out won’t get the same nostalgia feeling or smell from the Audi RS5. Some people writing about the Audi RS5 within Audi forums also state that the RS5 is stuck between a fun car for the weekend and an actual sports car. We somewhat disagree with this sentiment, only because the RS5 is way more comfortable with a nice cabin than most bare bones “sports cars.”

Audi RS 5 Problems & Complaints: Are The Issues Worth Buying?

About The Author

Matt Meurer

Matt Meurer

Matt is a VW Master Technician since 2009 after proceeding through the ranks as a Team Leader and Shop Foreman. He has developed software to increase car dealership efficiency, managed 10+ techs, and instructed students at multiple high-performance driving events since 2011. He is also the lead mechanic, engineer, and driver for Blue Goose Racing.

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