If the internal combustion engine is here to stay, so too it seems, is the trend of downsizing it. Carmakers are still going down this route and we’ve bid farewell to several screaming V8 and V12s which has been upsetting to say the least. We still cry over the loss of the 6.2-litre V8 from the Mercedes AMG models or the 6.0-litre V12 that used to power Aston Martins. We know why of course; economy and emissions are two major factors and so in their place have come more efficient turbocharged engines. They don’t emit the same roar anymore — but it’s not all doom and gloom for us petrolheads as Audi proves in the shape of the brilliant new RS 5 Coupé.

Yes, it has lost two cylinders and that is a pity because the old V8 was tremendous. However, it has gained two turbos and that basically means you can wipe those tears off because this thing is blessed with brutal performance. Sure, the naturally aspirated V8 was the best thing about the previous model but it’s been ditched for a twin-turbo V6 and will be missed — but not for long because the new heart beating under the pumped-up bonnet is sublime.

Photos: Stefan Lindeque

The all-new 2.9-litre TFSI makes the same 450 horses as the old 4.2-litre unit however, it boasts 170 more Newton metres of torque making for an incredible total of 600. And, due to a by-product of boost there’s a reduction in fuel consumption too so this blown motor — which also does the bizz in the Porsche Panamera 4S — achieves every target that it set out to and that includes planting a huge grin on your face when you bury the throttle. Do so and it’ll sprint to 100kph from rest in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 250kph. For maximum fun make sure that the Audi drive select system is in Dynamic. It’s shed 60kg (it now tips the scales at 1,655kg) and this has worked wonders for its efficiency with it sipping back just 8.7 litres per 100km (it’s 17 per cent more efficient than the previous model).

The magical motor is mated to a sportily-tuned, eight-speed tiptronic with optimized shift times to the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive with a rear bias (40:60 split) and this ensures you are glued to the corners. In fact, you can take them with your foot floored.

Photos: Stefan Lindeque

So, it is impressive to say the least but then you’d already be bowled over with its aggressive aesthetics — not to mention the Sonoma green metallic paint which is an exclusive option for this car. The designers drew inspiration from the distinctive racing details of the Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO and so up front it features huge air inlets while the single frame grille is wider and flatter than in the regular A5. Next to the squinting headlights are additional lateral air intakes and outlets while the wheel arches have been widened by 15mm giving the body a muscular appearance. Around the back, it packs a diffuser out of which protrude a pair of oval tailpipes and the surface-mounted spoiler lip is a subtle but nice touch. It rides on huge 20in wheels which fill up the arches well.

A sporty ride is guaranteed thanks to the new chassis; it has a five-link arrangement at the front and back paired with adaptive dampers and with the loss of weight too, the newbie feels more agile than before and with all four wheels digging in for traction you’re filled with confidence and are able to push it far harder than you thought you could.

Photos: Stefan Lindeque

The interior, swathed with black Fine Nappa leather, is loaded with tech and kit. You are certainly not left wanting when it’s got tri-zone climate control, ambient LED lighting, and Audi’s MMI infotainment system with an 8.3in display, sat nav, DVD player, 10GB hard drive storage, DAB radio, smartphone integration and a 10-speaker audio system. The chunky flat-bottomed RS multifunction sport steering wheel feels great in your hands while the Audi virtual cockpit provides all sorts of information from tyre pressure, torque and g-forces.

The old V8 was one of the last great atmospheric engines but overall the previous RS 5 wasn’t as good as its rear-driven rivals from BMW and Mercedes. It’s a different story now; this second-gen model rights all the wrongs of the original. It is an accomplished and rapid all-weather grand tourer and if the M4 and C63 AMG weren’t worried before, they will be now.