Turbocharging is the trend today, as car manufacturers turn to forced induction to aid their downsizing programmes for better efficiency and emissions – even BMW couldn’t resist the lure of turbos! However, nothing beats the joy that a sweet, high-revving naturally aspirated engine delivers, so when rumours that the Audi RS5 is to come with a NA V8 (we also saw the 8000-plus rpm tacho in the leaked brochure images), we at paultan.org got properly excited.

Well, it’s confirmed now. The RS5 is powered by a 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine (also found in the old RS4 and R8, but with higher output here) which produces peak power of 450 bhp at 8,250 rpm, while torque is rated at 430 Nm produced between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. Audi promises that this hand made engine will be “right at home even at high revs – almost like a race engine”. Intensive fine-tuning of the dual-branch intake and exhaust system allows the undersquare engine to breathe freely; four adjustable camshafts and tumble flaps in the intake manifold facilitate mixture formation.

The R-tronic semi auto gearbox in the R8 haven’t received favourable reviews, so Audi has developed a twin-clutch, seven-speed ‘box for the RS5, which was specially reinforced to accommodate the high-revving V8. There’s also a launch control program for effortless traffic light drag racing.

The RS5 is no lightweight at 1,725 kg, but still manages 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds while top speed is capped at 250 km/h. Audi can increase that to 280 km/h upon request. Yes, please. Ingolstadt is also proud of the RS5’s comparatively frugal nature – fuel consumption is 9.3 km/l, far less than its main rivals, says Audi.

Like all RS models, the RS5 comes with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, but the self-locking crown-gear center differential is a new development. It’s compact, light and attains a high efficiency ratio. Thanks to its package of plates, the differential can widely vary the distribution of torque between the front and rear axles – up to 70% can flow to the front or as much as 85% towards the rear. The standard ratio is rear biased at 40:60. A rear axle differential that actively distributes torque between the rear wheels is optional.

This “new quattro” operates in conjunction with electronic torque vectoring, controlling all four wheels. If one of the inside wheels becomes imbalanced while the vehicle is on the limit, the system slightly decelerates the wheel to cancel wheel spin, resulting in improved traction while “generating a yaw moment which aids cornering”.

The speed-dependent servotronic steering in the RS 5 is especially taut, claims its maker. The standard Audi drive select allows the driver to switch among three modes – comfort, auto, and dynamic – to adjust steering, gearbox, differential, engine and exhaust system. If your RS5 is equipped with the MMI navigation system, you can customize your own profile. The rear spoiler automatically extends at a speed of 120 km/h and retracts at 80 km/h.

Feast you eyes on the officially released gallery after the jump!

[zenphotopress number=999 album=859]