Ever since I started writing about cars, I’ve been using a MacBook Pro. I’ve only upgraded my laptop once, to what is virtually an updated version of the same thing.
To the naked eye, they are identical. Maybe there are some bits that are better, but it’s all the same to me. The only time I ever open my laptop is when I need to respond to an email, draft contracts, print a document, or write an article — kinda like what I’m doing at the moment. For those purposes, any laptop will do. However, I do not like change. This is probably why a Porsche 911 has started to really appeal to me.
I thought it was age, but it turns out it’s my averseness to change. It is of course, the same story with my telephone. I still use my iPhone 7 Plus, because apart from the ridiculous retail price of the latest model, they’ve removed the haptic button — and that bothers me. Operating it is different, and I don’t like different — for it won’t take very long before I make a fool of myself.
Ironically, I don’t seem to have a problem driving a different car every week. Although less frequent nowadays, it hits the same principle. They all have different layouts, engines, and on-board computer systems — yet it’s bearable to me. Although, most brands are somewhat related under one giant family tree, in reality, they’re still quite different from each other. Think about it. I was at a family gathering recently, and I noticed how all of my mom’s siblings are very different from each other — yet they come from one set of parents and grew up in one house. Their age gaps aren’t that far apart either.
I suppose there are some siblings who will opt to put the seat adjustment controls on the door, while some will choose to put them on the seat. There will be those that will bless with you a gear lever to shift, and there are idiots who will give you a round knob. Yet despite these differences in design applications, I’ve yet to back one of the cars up on a tree. In luxury cars most especially, the way you operate various controls are set instinctively. They’re human. BMW even has this thing called Gesture Control, which allows you to play Harry Potter, if that’s the kind of thing your girl gets off to.
Guided by innovation.
Before I left for the United States to address a family emergency, I drove the Audi RS5. Unless you’re a bit of a car geek, you’ll have some trouble resetting the nitty-gritty data that’s buried deep in the heart of the car’s computer. These things have gotten quite complex over the years, but to operate the car? Peanuts. It’s as easy as breathing.
Pull the gear lever to ‘Drive’, and you’re off. No fuss, no drama at all. I pulled out to EDSA, and as soon as I went over the bumps that usually simulate what landing an Airbus A380 is like on the moon, I was left completely baffled. The car ironed out all the bumps and turned them into fluffiest of blueberry pancakes.
Completely caught off-guard with the supreme ride quality, I had to double-check if I was indeed driving a full-blown RS model. So as soon as the road opened up, I buried the throttle — and all it did was make me light-headed. Strange. I did it a couple of times and noticed that my eyes couldn’t keep up, yet my body was in a state of complete zen. And then I caught what was causing my senses to fail. Apart from the dizzying speed at which the fast Audi launches you into the rear of a bus, it is the lack of sound that distorts the experience the most.
There’s a muffled noise from the engine, but it’s like listening to someone else blast their music from another room. You can hum to it, but it doesn’t get you in the groove. It doesn’t make you want to dance, and an Audi with an RS badge should make you want to get on top of a table and dance like you’re on your second dose of ecstasy. This experience makes me loathe the idea of a Tesla even more. All speed, no foreplay? Forget it.
“Ticking the optional sport exhaust is a non-negotiable. Without it, it’s like having sex with three layers of condoms on your manhood.”
I woke up one morning, well afternoon really, lit a cigarette, and stared at the RS5 for a bit. If I’m honest, I was never a fan. There was something bland about its predecessor that has managed to carry over into this new one. And based on the past couple of days pottering around town, it’s left me dry. It’s a fantastic car, no doubt — but a fantastic RS Audi? Not really. It fails the goosebumps test quite dramatically.
It looks exquisite from the front, but loses inspiration towards the back. It’s gone soft. And nothing signs off on that more than the massaging seats. Why? Audi RS cars used to be rabid Rottweilers in heat, not neutered Poodles. Albeit, maybe this one is show quality. After pondering for quite a while, I eventually got hungry and decided that I’d grab a burger in Tagaytay.
The lap and mind of luxury.
With nothing to bother me at all from the task of driving on an empty twisty road, I pressed yet another set of buttons that set the car into ‘Dynamic’ mode, a feat I wasn’t able to exploit in city traffic. I wish I could list down everything that this mode does, but I can’t be bothered to research right now. Basically, there’s an instant eagerness from the engine to rev harder, much clearer lines of communication with what the wheels and tires are up to, and a chassis that reacts like it just buried its head on Tony Montana’s office desk.
The car is wired. In essence, it turns this vanilla luxury coupé into an RS5. And while there’s a little bit more noise on ‘Dynamic’ mode, ticking the optional sport exhaust is a non-negotiable. Without it, it’s like having sex with three layers of condoms. What’s the point? In this day and age, wherein carmakers are swapping large displacement V8 engines for puny little turbocharged blenders, the least they can do is compensate with some exhaust noise. Is that too much to ask? Make it standard.
Break the mold.
The RS5 isn’t small, but in the correct settings it’s nimble. The Quattro® all-wheel-drive system increases the car’s limits to levels that 95% of us will not reach. The God-like grip allows the clumsiest of drivers to fire out of corners like Fernando Alonso. There aren’t even enough revs for this engine. You will be tapping on the redline like you did in prom night. It may not scream like the old V8, but it pulls even when you’re in the wrong gear. It’s silent and precise like a hitman, versus the older car which was more like a wired Colombian drug lord firing an AK-47 aimlessly at the sky. The problem is, I prefer the latter.
The RS5 looks similar to the older car. And being averse to change, I should like it — and I do. Except, I don’t love it. As a car to drive on real roads, it is stellar. It’s easier to live with than the likes of a BMW M4 or a Mercedes-AMG C63 S. However, if it isn’t going to set my heart ablaze or give me a hard-on when I hop out, there is absolutely no reason why I would pick it over an RS4 Avant. The wagon has an extra pair of doors, rear seats for adults, infinitely more versatility in storage space, and a locally-specced sport exhaust as standard. And to top it all off, it has infinitely more pedigree and is an absolute beaut. In Sonoma Green, it is to die for.
Beast of Burden.