Aside from that mid-engined marvel the R8, it remains a sadly rare experience to be able to heap praise on the dynamic abilities of a new sporting Audi. They’ve tended to be cars set up to be too stiff, understeer too much, communicate too little.
But it seems Audi may at last have twigged that its front-engined sports cars need to do more than look good and go like hell. The new RS5 is not cheap – in fact at £57,450 I’d say it was pretty dear – but it appears to herald a much-anticipated and long-awaited change of heart from Audi’s engineers.
The engine we know – it’s the same 4.2-litre V8 found in the R8. But unlike its mid-engined stablemate it can be harnessed through a proper double-clutch transmission, so now it has seven gears as well as quicker, smoother shifts than any R8 could imagine. It sounds just as good at 8250rpm, at which speed it’s giving precisely the same 444bhp as it does in the R8.
But it’s the chassis I want to focus on, because at last here we have an Audi that really handles. Yes, it will generate huge lateral adhesion, which I expected, but it also has poise, balance and feel, which I did not.
So now and at last Audi has a sporting coupé that is ﬁnally as good as it looks, that is as fun to drive as it is easy to live with. I wouldn’t fancy the fuel bills much, but with such a ﬁne engine, a chassis to match those looks and a spacious interior, there’s little else to fault here. And that’s the ﬁrst time I’ve been able to say that about a front-engined Audi in far too long.
ENGINE: 4163cc, eight cylinder
TOP SPEED: 155mph
POWER: 444bhp at 8250rpm
FUEL/CO2: 26.2mpg, 252g/km
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