It might look like an S5 at a first glance, but underneath the skin it’s actually the forthcoming RS5.

Audi introduced the all-new S5 Coupe earlier this month and as you can see work is already well under way at the crown jewel of the family, the mighty RS5. The test mule spotted this week by our spy photographers looks pretty much the same as the S5 with just a couple of changes which reveal the car's true identity. The extra plastic bids on the wheel arches denote the RS5 will have wider tracks compared to the warm S5. In addition, the back of the car hosts dual oval exhaust tips which you will only find on Audi’s RS-badged models.

That means what we’re seeing here is actually the RS5 dressed in a slightly modified body of the S5. Audi will bid adieu to the naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 engine in order to make room for what it is believed to be an upgraded version of the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. In the S5, the new unit delivers 354 hp (260 kW) whereas in the RS5 it is expected to churn around 450 hp (331 kW) thanks to an extra turbocharger. That being said, perhaps it will get an electric compressor derived from the SQ7 as some reports are suggesting.

By making the switch to the MLB Evo platform, the new A5 has lost up to 132 pounds (60 kilograms), so expect the range-topping model to benefit from an extensive diet as well. Many will certainly miss the roar of the naturally-aspirated engine, but the new turbo unit will have more power and it’s going to be installed in a significantly lighter car, so performances will be superior. Downsizing will also pay dividends in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions which will go down quite a bit.

It’s not known at this point when Audi will introduce the RS5 Coupe, although chances are we won’t see it before the second half of 2017. It could debut on its home turf at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017 and go on sale before the year’s end.

Be part of something big