Audi Sport is grabbing into its parts bin to create a new car and a new segment: The RS5 Sportback is an A5 Sportback with the 450-horsepower engine of the RS5 Coupe and the RS4 Avant.

This awesome power (and a whopping 600 Nm of torque) comes courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6, co-developed with Porsche. The only available transmission is a ZF 8HP 8-speed automatic which sends the torque to all four wheels. The default 40:60 front/rear torque distribution is variable between an 85:15 and a 30:70 front/rear ratio.

For even more agility, Audi Sport offers a rear sports differential, a sports chassis and dynamic steering. For ultimate braking performance, you can order carbon-ceramic brakes.

While we haven’t driven the RS5 Sportback yet – it was launched in New York tonight – our experiences behind the wheel of both the RS5 Coupe and the RS4 Avant lead us to expect nothing less than an ultra-fast and laser-precise machine of extrem agility.

What’s more, the RS5 Sportback looks great, with its gently sloping roofline that contrasts with the aggressive “blisters” above the 19- or 20-inch wheels, wide head- and taillights, a honeycomb mesh grille and two fat, oval exhaust pipes.

Beyond the already impressive standard look, you can order carbon fiber, matte aluminum or high-gloss black decor. A number of more or less tasteful colours further enhance the design, the most extreme being the “sonoma green metallic” showcased on the computer-generated images that Audi supplied with the initial information. Inside, there is a plethora of RS logos, and the TFT cluster features specific RS gages.

The Audi RS5 Sportback comes to market in mid-2018. America gets the first batch of models, the rest of the world will receive the new model shortly thereafter. There is no direct competition; the closest competitors are the more conventionally designed BMW M3, Cadillac ATS-V and Mercedes-AMG C63.

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