SEPANG, Nov 19 — The ultimate test of a fast car is to see how it performs on hot laps of a racing track, which is why Audi recently brought the new RS5 to the Sepang F1 circuit for a test drive.
Updated for 2013 with fresh front end styling that includes sleek new headlamps, the RS5 is to a racing circuit what a cheetah is to the savannah, in that it's agile and lithe. And almost nothing can catch it.
At its heart is a mighty 4.2-litre V8 engine carefully bolted together by human hands — RS cars are built by the car-maker's quattro subsidiary, which has a mandate to take Audi's luxury cars and give them the sort of horsepower you normally find in Maseratis and other exotic machines.
Thus, the RS5 has 450bhp under its curvaceous bonnet, enough to hit 100kmh in just 4.5 seconds, making it quicker than your average Aston Martin.
Sepang's 800m-long straights has a way of making even powerful cars feel slow, but the RS5 blazes down them so rapidly that you half expect it to leave parallel trails of fire on the tarmac behind it.
It never struggles for traction either, and with the wailing V8's power spread among all four wheels the Audi is pretty much impossible to unstick out of corners.The facelifted RS5 has a new electric power steering system, and brake discs that are slightly lighter for improved ride comfort. But it is tough to notice either of these in the frenzy of a hot lap, especially since the Audi has a way of making it feel like someone has pressed the Fast Forward button — and isn't letting it go.
Still, the salient point is that the RS5 is a car of depth, offering not just stupendous pace on the track, but genuine comfort off it.
The cabin has racy touches like carbon fibre trimming and sporty bucket seats, but it also provides a soothing environment in which to recover from, say, a strenuous day at the racing circuit.
Engine: 4,163cc V8, 450bhp & 430Nm
Performance: 250kmh, 0-100kmh 4.5 seconds, 10.5L/100km, 246g/km CO2
Price: S$422,950 with COE — Today