Taken in isolation, the RS5 is a success, not just as a front-engined Audi but by the standards of any premium sports coupé, capable of isolating its occupants from the more tiresome elements of long-distance driving, but engaging them when circumstances dictate. 

Its breadth of ability expands wider than those of Nissan's utterly focused GT-R, the overtly cosseting Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupé and the comparatively impractical 911 Carrera, even if it could do with a few ounces more steering feel.

We'd give the M3 the nod ahead of the RS5

For a front-engined Audi, the RS5 has new-found levels of throttle adjustability and a near GT-R level of drivetrain complexity, but only in extremis, when you can feel torque shuffle from corner to corner.

Should it be more engaging? Arguably, a little, and without active steering there's a chance it might be more immediate in its interaction. And the option of a manual transmission would be nice, too.

Even so, the weighty RS5's biggest problem was the existence of the more agile, more able V8 coupé with a propeller on its nose; more so when supplied with the Competition Pack. As the next-generation Audi RS5 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, its competition has changed slightly with its competition from BMW extended to the M3 and M4, while the latest AMG C 63 has pushed its way into the frame. 2017 then, will be when the hot coupé battle lines are drawn again.  


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