The Audi A5 is one of (if not the) best looking vehicles that Audi makes. In the S5 trim, with its 354-horsepower direct-injected V-8, nobody's arguing that the coupe is short on power. However, there's no such thing as too much of a good thing, which is why we're grinning ear to ear at the announcement of a new, more powerful RS5 variant due to bow at the 2010 Geneva auto show.
The RS5's V-8 retains the same displacement as the S5, a healthy 4.2-liters, as well as its direct injection system, yet manages to make 96 more horses worth of power without forced induction thanks to a bit of engine tuning magic learned while developing the Audi R8 halo car. The RS5 now generates 317.15 pound-feet of torque and 450 horsepower at a lofty 8,250 RPM. That same motor will also achieve a projected 21.8 US mpg, but probably not at the same time.
Power is transmitted through a seven-speed, S-Tronic, dual-clutch, automated-manual transmission that features three drive programs--auto, comfort, and dynamic--and a launch control program. Audi's trademark Quattro all-wheel drive system benefits from the automaker's latest generation of torque vectoring technology, which lets power be distributed laterally between the rear wheels for more responsive turn-in, as well as a new trick: a self-locking crown-gear center differential that maintains a standard 40/60 front to rear torque bias, yet can transfer as much as 70-percent of available power to the front or as much as 85-percent to the rear on demand. Keeping the wheels stuck to the tarmac is an updated suspension package, yet oddly no Audi Magnetic Ride control.
Inside the cabin, the RS5 will put give the driver the capability to adjust the aggressiveness of the steering, transmission, differential, engine, and exhaust system with the drive select system. Drivers that opt for the latest generation of Audi's MMI system (with a 40GB hard drive and Nvidia powered 3D graphics) will also be able to build a custom drive select program on the unit's 7-inch color LCD.
After its debut in Geneva, the 2010 Audi RS5 will go on sale in Europe starting in spring 2010 for the low, low price of $105,656 (77,700 euros). Audio hasn't announced plans to bring this uber-car to North American shores, but Audi's quoting of U.S. mpg rating is a bit telling. Stay tuned to our continued coverage of the 2010 Geneva auto show for more details as they emerge.