Styling updates are not surprisingly the first to make an impact in the new RS5. They include a slight revision to the single frame grille design, sharper and more pronounced bonnet contours, new 'solid band' wraparound LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights, new look front and rear bumpers and a new '10-spoke' design for the 19-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the most noticeable enhancements are likely to be the addition of Bluetooth mobile phone preparation, cruise control, DVD-based satellite navigation and Audi Music Interface iPod connection to the standard equipment list for this updated model. The cruise control system can also now be upgraded at extra cost to the adaptive system with braking guard, which uses radar sensors to control distance from traffic in front of the car between 19 mph and 155 mph, and can also initiate partial braking or full deceleration if its sensors detect an impending collision.
Interior design changes extend to a new flat-bottomed RS three-spoke steering wheel and detail improvements to the air conditioning, Multi Media Interface, mirror adjustment and electric window switchgear, the gear lever and the instrument stalks. New look optional inlays are also now available.
As before, the high-revving, naturally-aspirated 4.2-litre V8 that is hand built for the RS 5 and is closely related to the V10 that powers the R8 sports car delivers 45 0PS at 8,250 rpm and peak torque of 430 Nm at between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. It launches the coupéfrom rest to 62 mph in 4.5seconds, and where possible on to an electronically-limited 155 mph top speed, which can be elevated to 174 mph if the extra cost speed limit de-restriction option is specified.
A combination of technologies from the Audi modular efficiency platform, including a recuperation system, enables the high-tech V8 to consume significantly less fuel on average than its direct competitors. Combined economy of 26.9 mpg and CO2 output of 246 g/km are respectively slightly higher, and slightly lower, than before.
New electromechanical power steering which demands no input from the alternator while in the 'straight-ahead' position works in favour of efficiency, as does the familiar seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission with its long top gear, fast shifts and steering wheel paddle control.
Like all RS models, the RS 5 Coupé applies its power to the road with Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive, which in this instance is enhanced by the crown-gear centre differential that can vary the distribution of torque between the front and rear axles at lightning speed and over a wide range. Up to 70 per cent can flow to the front or as much as 85 percent to the rear, as necessary. The default 40:60 ratio of the rear-biased configuration ensures sporty handling. The electronic stability program (ESP) also integrates a sport mode which ensures that it intervenes at a later stage. It can also be switched off entirely.