David Lin­klater.

Waitaki Herald - - MOTORING -

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.

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