This latest version of the RS5 made its official debut this week at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, bringing with it all the latest updates we saw introduced on the 2012 Audi A5 range.
Keeping most of the proportions of the pre-facelifted model, the new design sees the RS5 gain several sharp accents, more wheel options, and LED detailing.
Thankfully, environmental concerns haven't affected the drivetrain, with power still coming from a high-revving 4.2-liter V-8--one of the few, and possibly the last, naturally aspirated performance V-8s from Germany’s premium marques.
Closely based on the V-8 and V-10 engines from the R8 supercar, the unit in the RS5 pumps out a healthy 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque, and will happy rev well past the 8,000 rpm mark. In fact, its peak horsepower rating arrives at a lofty 8,250 rpm.
Hand-built at the plant in Györ, Hungary, the mighty powerplant launches the RS5 from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and will see it easily reach its electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission, which features paddle shifters behind the steering wheel and a launch control system for perfect starts.
2012 Audi RS5Enlarge Photo
Note, the crown-gear center differential works together with an additional torque vectoring system, which acts on all four wheels. If the load on the inside wheel is reduced too much while the car is being driven dynamically, that wheel is braked slightly before it can begin to slip.
If that’s not enough, Audi also offers its sport differential as an option. This feature actively distributes the power between the rear wheels via two superposition stages.
The brake system of the RS5 features large, internally ventilated wave brake discs measuring up to 14.37-inches in diameter. The steel friction rings with their wave-like outer contour are perforated and connected to the aluminum brake caps via pins. This direct structure reduces tensions, quickly dissipates heat. Carbon ceramic units are an option.
These reside within 19-inch forged aluminum wheels as standard, with 20-inch units remaining optional.
Upon request, Audi equips the RS5 with active suspension damping control, adjusted via the Audi Drive Select system inside the cabin. This system allows the driver to select between three modes--comfort, auto and dynamic--for the characteristics of the suspension, steering, the transmission and the throttle.
2012 Audi RS5Enlarge Photo
Other options include bucket seats with folding backrests or climate-controlled comfort seats with a ventilation function. The interior is bathed in black, with narrow chrome accents at the switches and control dials. Inlays are available in a choice of carbon, brushed or etched aluminum, a high-gloss piano finish or a light-colored stainless steel mesh.
The driver information system includes a special ‘RS’ menu with a lap timer and an oil thermometer. The pedals, the footrest and the buttons of the optional MMI navigation systems have an aluminum look, and similar treatment is featured on the door sills.
More options include a carbon design package for the dash and surrounding areas, a host of connectivity features, safety warning systems, and a Bang & Olufsen stereo.
Look out for the 2012 Audi RS5's showroom appearance early next year, but in the meantime click here for live photos of the car direct from its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. And for our complete coverage of the show, click here.