There is often a great measure of mistrust towards the figures that car manufacturers claim for their cars.

This is particularly the case when it comes to fuel consumption numbers, and rightfully so given how slow and ridiculously unrealistic the government-sanctioned official tests are.

Yet one thing we’ve found in our own experience of testing vehicles is that, in the case of turbocharged cars at least (given that we test at Gauteng altitudes), the acceleration figures that we achieve tend to be relatively close to the manufacturer’s claimed numbers, and occasionally even better.

Which is why an article we came across on the subject really caught our attention, because Audi has just admitted that it understates its performance figures, and there’s an interesting reason behind this.

Audi Sport’s Head of Technical Development, Stephan Reil, told Australian website CarAdvice that the company has published conservative figures for all the cars that he’s worked on in his two decades on the job. He also made specific reference to the new Audi RS5:

“So, if we say 3.9 seconds, you will measure, maybe, 3.7 if the conditions are fine, probably 3.8, but even under the worst conditions, you’ll do it in 3.9 seconds. But you will not find a 4.0.”

And the reason behind Audi’s (rather refreshing) modesty?

“I simply don’t want to hear, when you guys write ‘well, they claim 3.9, but we got 4.0’. I don’t want to read that,” Reil told the website.

If that’s the case we certainly look forward to strapping our test equipment to Audi’s new RS5 when it arrives here around November. The newcomer ditches its previous V8 for a new Porsche-derived 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 331kW and 600Nm.

Read more about it here.

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