Audi RS5 driven

* Great pace, noise, handling and interior * Questions over steering and ride * On sale October; costs £57,480...

Audi RS5 driven

Audis RS performance wing produces powerful pound-for-pound fighters. The Audi TT RS outmuscles many of its featherweight rivals, while the Audi RS6 is the undisputed powerhouse of the heavyweight division. Say hello to a new middleweight contender.

Under the bonnet

Appropriately, the Audi RS5 packs a big punch. Its 4.2-litre V8 unleashes 444bhp close to its lofty 8500rpm rev limit, but acceleration is brutal from anywhere on the range, and the noise it makes is even more spectacular.

On the road

To keep all that power going where you point it, Audi has thrown all its technological know-how into the RS5. Theres a new, improved four-wheel-drive system with new centre differential, clever electronic aids and lowered, adaptable suspension.

It all adds up to very nifty footwork. The body stays impressively flat in any sort of corner, while ferocious grip and strong traction mean it munches through backroads quickly and securely. This ferocious grip would be even more exploitable if the steering offered more feedback.

The ride can be very raw, but switch the car from dynamic mode into automatic or comfort modes, and you adopt less aggressive suspension settings. It improves things greatly, but because we drove on flawless Spanish surfaces, we cant say for sure whether its compliant enough to cope with the UKs battered surfaces.

All in all, though, the Audi RS5 is an impressive package. Then again, with a price that pits it against the BMW M3 and Nissan GTR, it needs to be.

What Car? says
A beautiful coupe with beastly power

Ivan Aistrop