Tips, Tricks & Trends

First-Generation Audi RS5: Good Deal or Money Pit?

When perusing the online classifieds for cars to put in our dream garages, we often find ourselves looking at first-generation Audi R8s and sometimes even old Ferraris. But when it comes to more realistic choices, the Audi RS5 always seems to catch our attention. Not the fire-breathing, twin-turbocharged newer RS5s, but the older, pavement-pounding V8-clad RS5s. They are indeed more affordable now, but is it worth it to buy one?

Raw German muscle

2013 Audi RS5 Coupe

The first-generation Audi RS5s arrived on U.S. shores for the 2013 model year. Back then, they came in coupe and convertible form and had a brawny V8 stuffed under the hood. Like unicorns and toilet paper, this V8 was something of wonder as it produced 450 horsepower at an astronomical 8,250 rpm and 317 lb-ft of torque from 4,000-6,000 rpm.

Mated to this magical powerplant was a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that transmitted the power to all four wheels thanks to Audi’s renowned quattro system. For those keeping score, a 4.2-liter V8, all-wheel-drive car sounds like super-car statistics, and you would be partially right. In fact, the aforementioned R8 had a 4.2-liter V8 and all-wheel drive, however, the Audi RS5 in question actually had 20 more horsepower than the R8 at the time.

Looking at these simple statistics could make any car enthusiast’s mouth water. Keep in mind that the RS5 has four seats and looks unassuming in comparison to an R8. Now, do you see why it’s so tempting?

2013 Audi RS5

The harsh reality

When scrolling through the current 2013-2015 Audi RS5s for sale, they’re popping up in the low $20,000 to $45,000 range nationwide, depending on the mileage and condition. The lowest current listing is for a 2013 Audi RS5 with 119,000 miles on it for $20,988. That doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Looking at Edmunds’s True Cost of Ownership calculator (which gives you a breakdown of the projected 5-year cost to own) for the 2014 Audi RS5, it shows the other side of the story. According to Edmunds, the repair costs could add up to about $9,385 and the depreciation hit would total to about $20,457.

When adding up all of the repairs, insurance cost, depreciation, taxes paid, etc., that “affordable” Audi RS5 could cost over $72,000 in the end. Assuming you keep the car for 5 years and drive it 15,000 miles per year.

While this is just one example, and the experts at Edmunds and their handy calculator are still speculating based on certain parameters, it’s a harsh reality that needs to be faced. Older Audis, and German cars in general, can be very expensive to fix and insure. So be prepared.

2013 Audi RS5 Interior

Is it worth it?

We’re not saying that you need $70,000 in anticipation of buying a first-generation RS5, but having some money squared away for any unforeseen repairs is probably a good idea. You just might need a lot of it for this particular model. Luckily, we didn’t see too many maintenance issues for the 2013-2015 Audi RS5. In fact, on Carcomplaints.com, there is nothing noted for that car.

That’s not to say that the car is bulletproof, but chances are, if you can afford one of these RS5s and the maintenance/repair bills, then it could be worth the 4-second 0-60 times. Especially considering the car was about $70,000 when it was new.

On the other hand, from an objective point of view, is spending $20,000-$40,000 on a performance car that might cost an arm and leg later on worth it? To the average buyer, probably not. In that case, just buy something more practical.