The 2012 version of the Audi RS5 has been tweaked. This understated tarmac-shredder is now faster, more fuel efficient and kinder to Mother Nature, but only a bit.
The car’s hand-built 4.2-litre V8 engine now spews 6g/km less CO2 than before, dropping the car from Band L to slightly lower down in Band L, where the showroom fee is £790 and a paper disc costs £435.
Petrol takes you ever so slightly farther, too. Economy is up by 0.7 of a mile per gallon on the combined cycle, to 26.9mpg, and the RS5 now needs just 4.5 seconds to reach 62mph — down from 4.6 seconds. You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.
This staggering torrent of improvement is courtesy of a new electromechanical steering system that, unlike traditional power steering setups, saps no power at all from the engine when the driver isn’t turning the wheel. These systems are notorious for affecting the way a car feels when cornering, so it remains to be seen whether the miniscule benefits it brings are worth the loss in steering feel.
Thankfully, there are several, more noticeable, changes. The RS5 has restyled LED lamps front and rear. Also, when you’re hanging out there on the ragged edge, as you will be when you’ve fully disengaged the ESP, it will be important to know that Audi has taken the time to subtly reshape the bonnet with sharper and more pronounced contours.
Inside, the 2012 RS5 now sports a three-spoke, flat-bottomed steering wheel, revised switchgear, Bluetooth, cruise control and a sat-nav as standard. The cruise control can be upgraded with a radar sensor to maintain a reassuringly safe gap at anything between 19mph and the limited 155mph top speed. You’ll be on your own if you pay to remove the limiter and want to cruise at 174mph, but with optional carbon ceramic brakes, it’d be rude not to.
The £58,725 Audi RS5 is available from April 2012.