Menace has always been one of the keys to Audi’s RS5 coupe, from the fat wheel arches to the rumbling evocative exhaust to the brutal straight-line performance.
That’s not going to change with the new model, but Audi is talking loudly and proudly about the RS5 debuting the new RS design language, partly in the hope that people don’t labour on the disappearance of its V8 engine.
Yes, the all-new RS5 Coupe uses the same KoVoMo Porsche-engineered bi-turbo V6 as the Porsche Panamera, and uses it to such effect that it extracts 331kW of power and 600Nm of torque from its 2.9 litres.
The all-wheel drive Quattro RS5 Coupe doesn’t suffer much in performance in the switch from the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 to force feeding of a V6, but it remains to be proven whether the sound can be as captivating.
Its 600Nm of torque is a full 170Nm more than the V8 could ever muster, and it’s available from 1900rpm to 5000rpm, while its 331kW of power pushes it to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds on the way to a limited 250km/h top speed (there’s an optional 280km/h limiter, too).
At 4723mm, it’s 74mm longer than the outgoing RS5, with its bulging wheel arches pushed out 15mm compared to the standard S5 Coupe’s bodyshell.
“The new Audi RS 5 Coupé is the gran turismo among the RS models,” Audi Sport GmbH CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, said.
“The high-performance Coupé combines elegant aesthetics with high everyday usability. The car’s V6 bi-turbo has been developed from the ground up and provides significantly more performance coupled with higher efficiency,” he said.
Winkelmann claimed its designers drew their inspiration from the wild and wicked 90 quattro IMSA GTO racers, which dominated the US racing circuits in the post Group B era.
It has a wider, flatter single-frame grille than the standard models, along with enormous air intakes for radiator and brake-system cooling.
There are also tinted bezels for the LED (and optional Matrix LED) headlights, while the car rides on 19- or 20-inch forged alloy rims and punches its emissions out of unique oval tailpipes.
The Porsche-sourced engine continues the current trend of “hot vee” engines, siting both of its turbochargers inside the vee-angle of the engine, and combines centrally-mounted direct fuel injectors with a short stroke to boost power and improve economy.
The high-compression Miller-cycle motor also lets the RS5 Coupe pull its consumption down 17 percent to 8.7 litres/100km (or 197 grams/km of CO2 emissions).
It’s also significantly lighter, pulling 60kg from the V8’s mass with the help of a BMW M4-style carbon-fibre roof, despite all the turbo plumbing, to weigh 1655kg.
Audi feeds its new-found V6 power through an eight-speed automatic transmission and permanent all-wheel drive, with 60 percent of the drive nominally headed to the rear end. The hard-turning sport differential is an option.
It rides on five-link suspension systems at both ends to increase suspension accuracy and ride quality, while sitting 20mm lower than the standard A5 Coupe.
It has the usual Audi Sport array of go-faster options for its go-fastest front-engined coupe, including the more aggressive Dynamic Ride Control damping system, carbon-ceramic brakes and sharper steering ratios.
Inside, the RS5 Coupe continues the Audi Sport (nee Quattro GmbH) love affair with black and diamond stitching. It introduces new bits to the A5/S5 Coupe’s cabin, including an upgrade to the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster to include feedback on torque, g-forces and tyre pressures.
It also boasts a dash-mounted shift light, which seems redundant given that it slushes through an automatic transmission.
The interior also delivers permanent internet connectivity via LTE and a wifi hotspot option. It also links smartphones via CarPlay and Android Auto.