Details on mid-cycle updates for the revamped Audi A5/S5 lines were released back in July, but the hottest version of the family waited until Frankfurt to show its more intensive face. As expected, the 2012 Audi RS5 looks every bit the part of a bona fide street terror, and backs that sinister level of show with an equal measure of relentless all-wheel-drive go. Unlike the present generation car, this latest iteration RS5 will be coming to America starting later this year (in early 2012.)
Adding well-honed edge to its visual character, the Audi RS5 boasts a unique front fascia with a recast grille that features a matte-aluminum frame encircling an anthracite grey honeycomb insert, bigger lower air intakes, a racing-style splitter lip and supplemental LED running lights. Its more prominently flared fenders filled with 19-inch forged-alloy wheels wrapped in 265/35 tires (or optional 20-inchers with 275/30s) are complemented by bespoke side sills and mirror housings while the revised rear fascia is highlighted by dedicated LED tail lamps, a large functional diffuser, a decklid spoiler that automatically extends above 75 mph and a pair of chrome oval exhaust outlets. Even the underbody gets its own set of aero-enhancing fairings.
The naturally aspirated 4.2-liter FSI V8 engine in the 2012 Audi RS5 is a carryover variation of the one used in the R8 supercar. Here, it develops 450 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque and redlines at a stratospheric 8,250 rpm. Backing it is an ultra-responsive and blindingly quick seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic sequential automatic transmission that can be shifted using the conventional lever or paddles on the steering wheel. That pairing should let the Audi RS5 streak from 0-60 mph in about 4.6 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph -- which can be upped to 174 mph upon request.
Like its Euro counterpart, our U.S. car will feature the latest iteration of Audi's Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system that can ship up to 70 percent of the motive force to the front wheels or 85 percent to the rears. This enhanced Quattro setup incorporates a self-locking center differential and can be fitted with an optional and adjustable torque-vectoring rear sport differential. All of the key vehicle settings in the Audi RS5 -- suspension, steering, throttle, shift programming -- are adjustable via its standard multi-mode integrated Drive Select Driving Dynamics controller system. In addition to three basic programs, Drive Select allows the pilot to mix/match these individual functions. The car's already formidable stopping power can be further upgraded by opting for the available carbon-ceramic brakes.
Keeping the high-velocity theme running strong, the RS5's cabin brings together bespoke accent trims that can be mixed and matched to complement the standard power-adjustable sport buckets done in Nappa leather and Alcantara. Other RS5 basics include a flat-bottom multifunction sport wheel, cosmetically enhanced gauges and a driver information system with an RS function screen to name but a few. Because man does not live by performance alone, Audi also offers creature comforts like heated/ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist, MMI navigation plus, Bluetooth online car phone and a primo Bang & Olufsen sound system.