There are countless models in the market that combine performance and practicality with aplomb, however, the list begins to dwindle a little when you expect them to provide elegance, luxury and class too. Audi has just launched the five-door RS 5 Sportback — replete with a classy cabin, lots of tech and a hefty 450 horses produced from its turbocharged V6 — so we grabbed the Nardo Grey tester to see if it can deliver it all...

Starting with its aesthetics, it features a wide Singleframe grille (with the quattro logo in matte black) flanked by a pair of large air inlets, a long, muscular hood, extended wheelbase, short overhangs, an RS-typical diffuser with oval exhaust tips, a surface-mounted spoiler lip on the boot and a set of 20in glossy black alloys which rounds off what is a subtle but sporty exterior.

It definitely makes a solid first impression and the good start continues when you swing open the doors revealing a smart cabin that is as well-appointed as ever. Finished entirely in black with carbon inlays it is able to accommodate five passengers (the second-row has ample headroom in spite of the coupe-like sloping roof and legroom too), the seats are wrapped in Fine Nappa leather and offer good levels of comfort but more importantly they’re very supportive and lock you in place when you drive spiritedly, while the flat-bottom multifunctional RS steering fits perfectly in your hands. Some of the tech includes a traffic-jam capable adaptive cruise control system, an 8.3in infotainment system and Audi’s digital cockpit (it replaces the gauge cluster with a 12.3in display and is one of the most intuitive set-ups around). This car isn’t exactly a saloon, a coupe or a hatchback but it has a tailgate of the latter which makes the boot far more usable (it boasts 465-litres of space). So far so good, but where this Audi really excels is on the move.


Photos: Stefan Lindeque

Its blown 2.9-litre TFSI is also used in Porsche’s Panamera and it produces 600Nm of torque and when you bury the throttle it pins you back to those RS-embossed seats taking just 3.9 seconds to hit 100kph. Mated to the V6 is a sportily tuned eight-speed tiptronic with quattro permanent all-wheel drive that distributes power to the axles in a 40:60 split. It is easy to push hard and when you do, its handling and grip really impresses — in fact, it is near impossible to unsettle. There’s no detectable turbo lag either and the surge of thrust is accompanied by one heck of a raucous exhaust note. With all of that power it’s a good job that the brakes are as strong as they are. They do a sublime job in bringing proceedings to a halt.

If you’re looking for something that can accommodate the family and double up as a rip-roaring supercar once the kids have been dropped off at school and the groceries are unpacked, then you needn’t look much further than this bahn-stormer. It can do the lot, and it does it all with class too.