The 2012 Audi RS 5 facelift has been revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, ahead of its anticipated Australian launch in 2012.

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The refreshed model adopts the mid-life styling enhancements first previewed by the updated 2012 Audi A5 and S5 ranges, revealed in July.

With the standard A5/S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet ranges not due to reach European showrooms until the end of the year, it will be sometime in 2012 before the range-topping RS 5 Coupe arrives in Australia.

The 2012 Audi RS 5 showcases the brand’s latest design language, which gives the new model a sharper and meaner appearance overall. The new single-frame grille is finished in a high-gloss anthracite grey honeycomb material and is bordered by a matt aluminium outline. The standard xenon plus headlights sit within narrow strips of LED daytime running lights.

The bonnet now has sharper edges, while the bumper features larger openings, reminiscent of the splitter edge on a race car. The overall impact is the creation of a lower and wider front-on stance.

The rear lights now feature LEDs and continuous light strips, while the oval-shaped dual exhausts have been integrated into the redesigned rear bumper.

Inside, the thick-rim, flat-bottom multifunction leather steering wheel is new, along with the remodelled ignition key, gear knob and steering column stalks. The black instrument gauges have white lettering, and when the ignition is switched on, the red speedo and tacho needles race to the limit before returning to zero.

The 2012 Audi RS 5 carries over the mechanical package from the previous model. That means the 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine continues to produce 331kW of power at 8250rpm and 430Nm of torque between 4000-6000rpm.

Accelerating from 0-100km/h takes just 4.6 seconds, and although the standard RS 5 has an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h, the engineers at Ingolstadt will bump that up to 280km/h if you ask politely.

The brawny V8 is teamed with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission that sends power to all four wheels. Audi’s famous quattro all-wheel drive can send as much as 70 per cent of power to the front, or as much as 85 per cent to the rear, depending on how hard you push it.

The new speed-dependent electromechanical power steering system provides a more precise road feel and supports the driver with slight steering corrections when braking on surfaces with varying amounts of grip.

The RS 5 is 20mm lower than the A5 thanks to its uniquely tuned suspension. New 19-inch forged aluminium wheels with 265/35 tyres are standard, while 20-inch rims are optional.

The Audi Drive Select Driving Dynamics system comes standard, allowing the driver to chose between three modes – Comfort, Auto, Dynamic – for the characteristics of the accelerator, transmission and steering. A fourth mode – Individual – is available when the Audi MMI Navigation system is optioned, and allows the driver to configure the car to create a unique driving feel.

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