Who wouldn't love to own an Audi R8 supercar? They look sensational - nearly as good as they perform. But, reality check time, it's really only dreamworthy. Back a few rungs on the ladder to a more accessible level is possibly Audi's best looking mainstream model, the RS5 coupe.
It has nearly as much road presence as the R8 and isn't far behind in performance or handling and it's a mere $161,500 plus (a lot) extra for various packages you are going to want. Achoo, you say. Yes, I know, also dreamworthy at that sort of dosh but hey, you've gotta have dreams.
Mine came true when I wangled a drive in the new RS5, one of my favourite cars at this point in time. There's more high-tech stuff throughout every aspect of the car including the chassis with drive select and torque vectoring to the rear wheels.
Spend more and you start accessing two optional dynamic sports packages (one of which was fitted to the drive car) and bigger 20-inch wheels, as well as other cool stuff. All it takes is money. But the net effect is awesome.
It's even better than before with revised styling, more chromework on the front end. Inside is typically Audi classy with soft leather, carbon inlays and chic, modern styling along with a killer audio, the latest navigation system and luxury equipment levels. It's got some serious competition out there but the looks carry it for me.
It gets a revised powertrain featuring a brilliant 4.2-litre, direct injection, naturally aspirated V8 that runs with the pack of larger capacity and forced induction V8s. Following Audi's philosophy of downsizing engines to cut emissions and fuel use, the new RS5 still manages to edge closer to the magic 500 horsepower mark (about 375kW).
So the 331kW/430Nm output of this "small block" high-tech, alloy V8 is quite amazing. Mind you it revs to 8250rpm to achieve this output but on the way, sings one of the sweetest songs you'll hear from a road registered car.
In full dynamic mode with the ESP of, this car delivers sensational handling aided and abetted by the quattro all wheel drive. It has large powerful brakes clamped at the front by eight piston calipers. The seven speed S-tronic dual clutch transmission fires through gear changes in micro-seconds blipping the throttle on down changes if so instructed through the drive select system.
Any downside, no, not even fuel consumption which is an achievable 10.5-litres/100km Yep, better tub those kids in preparation for selling.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
Price: from $154,800
Engine: 6.3-litre V8, 336kW/600Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, RWD
Mercedes Benz C63 AMG - see other C63 verdicts
Price: from $162,300
Engine: 4.0-litre V8, 309kW/400Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto, RWD