The new Audi RS 5, Mercedes-AMG C63 and BMW M4 are triplets, the same but different, locked in an endless sibling rivalry. They are overpowered coupes from Germany with an affinity for carbon-fibre and contrast-stitched leather. All will hit 200 km/h effortlessly. They eat Autobahn for breakfast.
For 2018, the RS 5 is all-new. While we'll miss the roar of the old model's V-8, that car always left us cold. It was unsure what it wanted to be, less than the sum of its spec-sheet. The new RS 5 is down two cylinders, but gains a pair of turbochargers, muting the noise but delivering a bigger wallop of speed, more of the time. The 2.9-litre V-6 — an engine shared with the Porsche Panamera — makes 450 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque from 1,900 rpm.
What's it like? The new RS 5 fixes the old model's biggest issue: the bone-shaking ride. The variable dampers set to comfort mode transform it into a cushy long-distance cruiser. The cabin is library-quiet. The steering is numb, but with Quattro all-wheel drive the RS 5 defaults to neutral handling. No drama, just easy, comfortable speed.
The boxy wheel arches are reminiscent of the 1980s ur-Quattro, but only hardcore gearheads will appreciate that.
Which of the triplets you might select depends on how you drive. The M4 is a prickly race car and the C63 is an indulgent muscle car. The RS 5 knows what it is now too: a grand-tourer for all seasons.
The Audi RS 5 will arrive in Canada in the first months of 2018. Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect it to be close to the outgoing model's $84,000 figure.