NEW AUDI RS5

A big hitter in the Audi Sport line-up with captivating mix of looks, road presence and turbocharged performance.

Design: Evolution of classically handsome, beautifully proportioned coupe shape with extra muscle, curved bonnet line and very shallow glasshouse. Big air intakes, blistered arches and fat oval pipes signal intent. Four usable seats give it GT pretensions.

Driver’s Seat: Cabin strikes brilliant balance between sporting and cocooning. There’s quality in every surface or switch – from the cross-stitched leather seats to the Alcantara on door cards and flat-bottomed steering wheel – and tasteful RS touches are applied with restraint. 

Interface: It’s well established in Audi range now, but Virtual Cockpit instrument display still dazzles for clarity and function. Central MMI controller with simple menu buttons makes accessing info about as intuitive as any system.

Start-up: With a twin-turbocharged V6 replacing Audi’s brilliant, high-revving 4.2-litre V8, there’s no V8 burble to tug at heartstrings, just a gruff eruption and muted idle. Identical power output but new engine offers far superior torque.

Cruise: Transmission advances allow conventional 8-speed auto for smooth but instant shifts. Effortlessly accelerative, with 600Nm on stream at just 1900rpm, and comfortable with it in the right ride control setting. Dynamic proves too stiff for motorways, resulting in unwelcome bounciness.

Overtake: Surges ahead through a massive mid-range as the two turbos between the cylinder banks dominate proceedings. Seamless and scintillating straight-line grunt from flat torque curve thrust.

Unleash: Reduced up-front weight contributes to pancake-flat cornering and sharp turn-in in Dynamic setting. Its tightly-wound nature and weighty steering wouldn’t be out of place on a track. Comfort introduces more roll but greater feel through the bends. In either mode, Quattro AWD and wheel-selective torque control are a recipe for remarkable agility and stability.

Configure: An RS interior styling package will shout RS credentials for an extra $4000. Budget $20k for full carbon styling package and carbon roof, or $15k for ceramic brakes. Hard chargers might be better served spending $3800 on rear sports differential.

Buy one: RS5 commands a $30k premium over S5 – a very fast and desirable car in its own right – but the sum of the RS-spec improvements makes for a hugely desirable package despite absence of V8.

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AUDI RS5

ENGINE 2894cc V6 twin-turbo

POWER 331kW (445bhp)

TORQUE 600Nm from 1900rpm

TRANSMISSION 8-spd auto

DRIVETRAIN four-wheel drive

LENGTH 4.69m

WEIGHT 1665kg

WHEELS 20-inch ‘five-arm’ alloy

TYRES 275/30 (f) 275/30 (r)

0-100km/h 3.9 secs

FUEL CLAIM 8.7L/100km

PRICE from $152,900

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