Q1_2020 quattro Magazine Feature: Nemesis Autosport Audi RS 5 performance at a Crossroads

word/photos: George Achorn

Though it may seem obvious, it’s actually quite rare that the serious performance aftermarket crosses paths with Audi corporate. There are the typical shortcomings: either the brand’s reluctance over modifying its products or the aftermarket’s aesthetic being rarely on the same wavelength as the brand design. When the paths do cross, as they did recently with Audi Sport performance parts, it is something to behold… and in this case something to emulate and expand upon. 

Like the rare crossing mentioned above, examples of dealerships working effectively with the aftermarket are few and far between. One such instance is Delaware’s own Nemesis Autosport. You see, they’ve got an intimate working relationship with Audi Wilmington, and the proof is in the coupé you see here. 

What’s the magic? For starters there’s Thomas Mihok, Audi Wilmington’s General Manager. Mihok started at Audi Wilmington washing cars, helping pay for his automotive passion. When we first met him, “Tommy” was sporting a cleanly modified S5. That same passion has stayed with Mihok in the time since, offering him acute insight into what enthusiasts want. It’s why his dealerships overperforms in performance car sales. 

Mihok is proud to point out that his store is the #1 R8 dealer in the eastern region. Audi Wilmington is also a corporate sponsor of nearby New Jersey Motorsports Park, where an Audi Wilmingtonowned S3 serves as safety car for the circuit. This gives them access to all member days and public events, not to mention track days for dealership clients. 

Even on their home turf, Audi Wilmington’s commitment to enthusiast passion is obvious. The cold winter night we rolled in to photograph the RS 5, one could clearly spot Tommy’s own track prepped B8 A5 tucked away in the dealership’s glass vehicle handover module at the edge of the showroom. Though the dealership was under construction at the time, there were an uncommonly large number of performance Audi models in the parking lot and a generously merchandised showroom with more Audi collection swag like hats, shirts, and drinkware than we think we’ve ever seen in one place short of an Audi Forum. If you’re ever headed by on nearby I-95, it’s worth stopping in for a visit. 

As a side project, Mihok is a third owner of Nemesis Autosport, a performance startup operated in partnership with his brother Tim and Ben Pagett (a.k.a. “Mops” on Audizine). Nemesis began catering to performance customers in Delaware for years and has more recently expanded their reach. One of its most recent projects was this RS 5 Coupé. 

An advantage of being in the dealership from daytoday is an intimate knowledge of cars that come available. Tim Mihok was looking for something new to help show Nemesis’ own prowess at building cars, so when a client of the dealership walked away from a newly arrived Florett Silver RS 5 Coupé, Tommy gave him a call and the brothers Mihok came up with a plan. 

No, the car wasn’t some rare Audi exclusive paint code, or even a flashy color. That said, Florett is an excellent basis on which to build a car with an underlying Audi Sport factory theme. The Mihoks had been inspired by the recent Audi R8 RWS, Audi Sport customer racing launch livery cars and, of course, the aforementioned Audi Sport performance parts packages for R8 and TT RS. Given all this, plus the fact that Audi races the RS 5 in the DTM, they wanted to build a car that looked like Audi Sport would have built had they wanted to apply the same performance parts philosophy and design language to the brand’s grand touring RS 5 Coupé. 

It’s not like this would be a strict OEM+ less-is-more build. The Audi Sport performance parts packages on R8 and TT RS are edgy and extreme by factory standards, setting a new paradigm for what might look factory… at least factory Audi Sport. 

Parts from the aftermarket were carefully chosen to replicate the visual appeal of the Audi Sport performance parts portfolio. The underlying theme was carbon fiber and augmented aerodynamics with more carbon fiber. From Maxton Design, the pair sourced a front splitter, side skirts and rear diffusor. They also went with carbon dive planes for the front bumper sourced from the ABT Sportsline’s RS 5-R program, and carbon fiber mirrors from Audi’s own parts bin.  

Care was used in choosing a rear deck-mounted wing because the wrong look could appear tacky, while the right look would match the designs chosen in the Audi Sport performance parts lineup. Here, they went with the GTC200 wing from APR Performance, and fabricated their own Nemesis custom endplates and Audi Sport logo to closely match the factory performance parts design. 

Some very subtle Audi red accents complete the look… both at the front and the rear, and also under the hood on the Capristo carbon engine cover. The theme continues on the red-lined matte black 20×10 BBS CIR Nürburgring Edition wheels wearing Pirelli P Zero tires… positioned perfectly thanks to ET 25 offset plus 10mm spacers. 

The cabin is similarly augmented, though the black leather with Crescendo Red stitching and carbon fiber beltline trim is already a handsome base. To this, Nemesis added an ABT carbon fiber shift knob, taller PD aluminum wheel-mounted shift paddles, and an Audi Sport badge mounted on the center console pulled from the parts bin of the R8 LMS and R8 RWS models. 

As you might expect, performance enhancements were important in this build. Engine and power upgrades come from ABT Sportsline’s 503 hp ECU upgrade with intercooler, while AWE Tuning was tapped for their Touring exhaust system and carbon fiber Airgate intake system. 

Handling and stance was improved via installation of a height adjustable springs from ABT Sportsline. Beyond that, further rigidity comes from use of an 034Motorsport strut brace and chassis mounts. 

All told, the final result of the RS 5 makes for a handsome package. It’s not as aggressively transformed as say an ABT Sportsline RS 5-R, nor is it as mildly subtle as an OEM plus build devoid of any aero. In fact, we’d wager that if you threw on a set of factory Audi Sport performance parts wheels (not made for the weight or offset fitments of the RS 5 for what it’s worth), it’d likely fool most knowledgeable Audi aficionados into thinking a line of performance parts had been launched for the RS 5. Given the context of the build, we think that’s the ultimate compliment for Nemesis Autosport.