BMW and Audi have approached their sporting coupe flagships in different ways. The current M3 features vastly different body panels to the regular 3 Series in addition to a carbonfibre roof. But with the RS5, Audi's only modifications over the handsome coupé on which it's based are the addition of flared wings all round and new plasticwork front and rear. Though subtle, they help to emphasise the RS5’s potency.

They’re claimed to be reminiscent of the original Quattro, but although we can’t see it ourselves, they do look good.

There's an understated elegance about the RS5

Place an S5 and an RS5 alongside each other, and you'd spot the subtle differences easily, but it's harder to pick out an RS5 as one of Audi's most prestigious sports models from a crowd except by noting some detailing.

Audi has entirely altered the RS5’s front bumper. The air intakes – foglight housings on other A5s – are more angular and made to look more deep-set by the protruding splitter.

Xenon headlights and daytime running lights are standard, and unchanged from other A5 models, and the standard 19-inch alloys look great and certainly don’t need to be any bigger, even though two 20-inch designs appear on the options list.

Enormous oval exhausts dominate the back end, along with a rear wing that lifts automatically when you reach speeds of more than 75mph, or it can be lifted permanently via a button in the cabin.

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