LIFE in the fast lane with Audi is invariably an exhilarating experience.

In the past, I have marvelled at the ground-breaking R8 Coupe and been astonished by the thrust of the RS4 estate.

And here we go again with the super looking and super fast RS5 Coupe, dripping with kit and explosive to drive.

Looking back at the R8 Coupe, I recall that when it was launched with a 4.2-litre V8 engine it could hit 62mph in 4.2 seconds.

The new RS5 will reach the same speed in 3.9 seconds from a 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo unit that produces 450PS and can propel the car to 174mph.

Those wanting the full-blown RS5 experience can also specify sport suspension with dynamic ride control, an uprated exhaust system, carbon fibre roof, milled wheels and dynamic steering.

But even the standard versions get the excellent Audi virtual cockpit first seen in the TT, quattro sport rear differential, wheel selective torque control and drive select (comfort, auto or dynamic), together with an array of assistance, connectivity and safety systems.

The design of this very special A5 derivative brings a touch of glamour and sportiness. Beautifully crafted, it also features special RS seating to cater for the thrilling acceleration.

In auto mode, the drive initially feels quite sedate as you cruise in comfort. Indeed, despite its credentials, the car is very easy to live with. Prod the accelerator and you have a wow factor to match the aesthetics, and if you switch to dynamic mode then be prepared for fireworks. I would save the comfort setting for longer journeys when the stiffer suspension might not be the ideal companion.

With 600 Nm, the new V6 holds a 170Nm advantage over its naturally aspirated predecessor, and delivers it to the tune of a charismatic soundtrack, reminiscent of that found in the RS4.

Aided by a 60kg overall weight reduction versus the outgoing car, the V6 bi-turbo is capable of up to 32.5mpg combined, corresponding to 197 grams of CO2 per km – an efficiency gain of 17 percent over the previous model.

But let’s be honest here. Once you start enjoying the acceleration you are unlikely to achieve 30mpg.

The bi-turbo’s copious power is deftly managed by the eight-speed tiptronic transmission supported by quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

For the most committed drivers, Audi also offers optional RS sport suspension, ceramic brakes and dynamic steering with RS-specific tuning.

Pronounced air intakes, gaping oval exhaust tailpipes, quattro blisters complementing widened wheel arches and an exclusive honeycomb design for the single frame grille are among the features that render the elegantly updated A5 body fit to bear the RS badge.

The standard LED headlamps with their dynamic scrolling indicators can also be upgraded to Matrix LED units capable of intelligently diverting their high beam around oncoming and leading traffic for maximum illumination, and for maximum visual impact the sizeable 19-inch alloy wheels can also be upgraded to a 20-inch design.

Defining features also abound in the upscale and lavishly appointed four-seat interior. Fine Nappa leather-upholstered RS sport seats position the driver perfectly in relation to the flat-bottomed multifunction sport steering wheel.

High-end technologies, including a head-up display and as many as 30 driver assistance systems are available from the options list to help the RS 5 remove even more layers of stress from every journey and leave drivers free to immerse themselves in the performance.