It’s a measure of Audi’s understated ethos that a ‘‘new design direction’’ for the RS 5 constitutes some small blisters over the wheelarches and a tiny hole next to each tail-light.
But they are very nice details and as design signatures they have provenance. Straight-cut wheel-arch flares are very much an RS thing and those rear vents pay homage to the rather awesome Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO racing car of the 1980s.
You know, if you look closely. Really closely. Which you probably will, because you’ll be trying to work out whether this is the new RS 5 or the old one.
The new RS 5 is in fact all-new and is in fact very significant for Audi New Zealand.
It’s all-new because it’s the first proper Audi Sport/RS model to be built on the latest A4 platform. It’s very significant for the same reason: it’s the advance guard for next year’s more Kiwi-friendly newgeneration RS 4 Avant.
Audi NZ leads the world in RS share (12 per cent of its total sales so far this year) and the RS 4 is pretty much guaranteed to be its biggestvolume Audi Sport model. Batten down the family dog.
Much expectation surrounds the RS 5, then.
And the first thing you might notice is that it’s short a couple of cylinders.
Yes, the thunderous V8 is no more, replaced by a new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes exactly the same 331kW power but adds a whopping 150Nm more torque: the total is now 600Nm, also served up much lower down in the rev range at just 1900rpm.
It’s also 17 per cent more fuel efficient, with Combined fuel consumption of 8.7 litres.