Audi RS 5 Sportback. Photo: Audi

This week I'm driving the sweet Audi RS 5 Sportback, a high-performance sedan with room for 5 and plenty of cargo. It's a car that is somehow practical and exhilarating at the same time.

The big picture: Gearheads will rave about its performance — the power of the 444-hp, 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and the precision handling on tight turns.

But the RS 5's advanced driver assistance features shouldn't be overlooked.

  • Audi's pre-sense systems tighten the seatbelts and automatically close the windows and moonroof to protect passengers if a crash is imminent.
  • The RS 5 Driver Assistance package ($3,700) adds active lane assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go traffic jam assist, and a head-up display that recognizes traffic signs.
  • New for 2019: The RS 5 can automatically steer the car into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces (the driver controls the pedals and gear shifter).

My thought bubble: I've driven quite a few Audi models lately and I've noticed a big improvement in their lane-keeping systems. When the feature was first introduced a few years back, I felt like I was wrestling for control of the car.

  • The new lane-keeping assist feature is a gentle nudge back in the lane that inspires confidence, not fear that you'll run off the road.

The bottom line: Audi's RS 5 Sportback starts at $74,200, but add all the bells and whistles, including the $5,500 black optic carbon package on my loaner, and you'll be forking over $100,000.

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