In a country with low-speed limits, we sure have an unquenchable thirst for high-performance motoring.
For example, Australia constantly sits in the top five global rankings for buyers of the hottest Audis, those that wear the RS badge.
And in late 2017 Audi added another jewel to their fastest fleet. The $156,600 Audi RS 5 Coupe.
The first RS 5 was an absolute cracker and with expectations running hot, the job of this sequel was all that much harder.
But after a run across several Targa Tasmania roads in this latest Audi RS 5 coupe, I am convinced Audi shops will have plenty of buyers queuing up to get their hands on it.
Gone from this second-gen Audi RS 5 coupe is the V8 power-plant and in its place an all-new, all-alloy 2.9-litre, bi-turbo V6 that packs more punch than Floyd Mayweather.
Armed with 331kW and 600Nm, zero to 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds sees you vanish faster than a fart in a fan factory.
An eight-speed tiptronic gearbox sweeps through the cogs and when pootling along the latest Quattro all-wheel drive splits the power 40/60 front to rear. When you up the tempo it can send up to 85 per cent of power to the rear wheels through the centre differential and electro-mechanical rear sports diff.
Although the new bi-turbo V6 has the same power output as its V8 predecessor, it whacks out 170 more newton metres of torque from just 1950rpm and is more efficient, so it’s a win-win. And while the bent-eight bellow is no longer heard, the bi-turbo bark is a purposeful note.
Sitting on an all-new MLBevo chassis with all-new front and rear suspension layout, the new RS 5 has been to see Jenny Craig and dumped 60kgs.
Audi takes its design inspiration for the RS 5 from their race-winning Audi 90 IMSA GTO racer of the ‘90s and features a wider, flatter single-frame honeycomb grille, air intakes and outlets, pronounced bulges on the 15mm wider wheel arches filled by 20-inch alloys, large oval exhausts and rear diffuser. Despite all the go-faster body tweaks it retains the sculptured beauty of the A5/S5.
I expect nothing less than perfection when it comes to Audi interiors. After all, they are the best in the business and the living area of the RS 5 coupe doesn’t disappoint.
The sumptuous black interior is draped in the finest Nappa leather. Electronics control the adjustable side bolsters, lumbar support and massage settings. A though support is manually adjustable. The seats are finished in a quilted pattern with alcantara inserts. Flashes of carbon fibre, low-sheen brushed metal surfaces and chrome highlights dial up the premium look and feel.
On the entertainment front it has Audi connect – a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple Car Play and Android Auto and a superb 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System with 755 watts.
My personal favourite, the futuristic 12.3-inch ‘Virtual Cockpit’ lets you toggle between screens to bring up audio or car settings, sat-nav, phone or a sports dash.
There’s also an 8.3-inch MMI touch screen with everything bar the kitchen sink in it and thanks to the console-mounted control wheel scratch pad or voice activation, it’s a breeze to operate.
While space is plentiful for the driver and front seat passenger, it’s somewhat cosier in the rear of the 2+2 for taller folk due to the sloping roofline. It’s comfy enough once you are in with a surprising amount of legroom, but getting in and out does require a degree of gymnastic dexterity.
Audi has loaded a pile of extra goodies into the standard RS 5 spec sheet that includes Tri-zone Climate Control, Dynamic Ride Control with adaptive control dampers, LED headlights and DRLs, a sunroof with sunshade, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assistant and distance indicator, keyless entry and start, heated, folding and auto-dimming exterior mirrors and the mesmerising rear indicators that strobe outwards in the direction you are turning.
You also get privacy glass and headlight washers, auto wipers and headlights, the superb leather D-shape steering wheel, drainpipe-size RS exhaust and 30 colour choices for the interior lighting, plus a beautiful frameless interior mirror and RS badging.
Audi says RS 5 buyers like to individualise their cars and attack the options list with gusto. Obligingly these include a $4900 carbon-fibre roof, $11,900 ceramic brake discs and $1600 for milled 20-inch alloy wheels. On top of that are a couple of option packs, Technik and RS Design, that parcel a number of options together.
When I drove the S5 its power was impressive, but the RS 5 is in a different league again.
It has enough power to run a small country and its 600-newton metres delivers relentless, linear, mind-warping shove at all revs when you tickle the right pedal. It’s brilliant.
So too is the bark of the V6 bi-turbo soundtrack, so good in fact we rolled down the windows just to hear it that bit louder.
New to this Audi RS 5 is five-link suspension and employing the Drive Select and adaptive dampers results in cornering prowess and cornering forces that are, frankly, incredible. Throughout the drive I explored each of the five settings available, Eco, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual.
Auto was great as a set and forget option and on the freeway Comfort and even Dynamic worked well on the smooth surface, but on the twisting, cambered, and at times washboard surfaces of the Targa Tassy roads, I went for Individual mode that let me choose Dynamic for power, gearshifts and steering and Comfort for the suspension for maximum pliability and it did an excellent job of flattening the bumps and undulations. The Hankook tyres dished out loads of grip so I could get stuck in through corners and it felt like it was welded to the road. The drive was rewarding, entertaining and engaging and way too short, I didn’t want it to end.
Equalling the performance of the engine was the brakes; massive red six-pot callipers and huge drilled discs with huge stopping power and a progressive feel underfoot. If you want to fling an Audi RS 5 around a track on a regular basis, there are the optional carbon ceramic brakes for an additional $12,000.
When it came to safety technology, Audi pretty much ticked all the boxes in the catalogue with the RS 5.
Standard kit includes Park assist that steers the RS 5 into a parallel or perpendicular space, 360-degree cameras, ‘Audi pre-sense city’ with Autonomous Emergency Braking and pedestrian detection, stability and traction controls, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brake Force distribution, Brake Assist and six-airbags, all come standard.
The Audi RS 5 also has tyre-pressure-monitoring, adaptive cruise control, with a speed limiter and adjustable distance detection, active lane assist, ‘Audi pre-sense front’ (provides collision mitigation up to 250km/h), collision-avoidance assist, blind spot warning, parking assistance with front and rear cameras, rear cross traffic assist, turn assist (monitors oncoming traffic and prevents you turning right into on-coming traffic at low speeds, exit warning system (alerts you to cars and cyclists approaching from behind when opening doors), and auto high beam.
To the eye, the Audi RS 5 retains the graceful beauty of the A5 coupe. To the heart is a powerhouse of pure driving enjoyment.
Head to your local Audi dealer and be exhilarated.
For more information on the Audi RS 5 click here.