Toulouse (24) 36
Tries: Medard, Clerc 2, Donguy 2 Cons: Elissalde 5 Pen: Elissalde
Sale (3) 17
Tries: O'Donnell, Cohen Cons: MacLeod 2 Pen: MacLeod
Medard opened the scoring for Toulouse in the second minute
Sale's below-strength side were utterly outclassed by Toulouse as the three-time champions ran in five tries.
Toulouse controlled the first half, Maxime Medard opening the scoring on the left before Vincent Clerc went over twice in the right-hand corner.
Half-time replacement Yves Donguy added two more as Toulouse made sure of the bonus point within a minute of the restart, and took it easy from then on.
Rob O'Donnell and Ben Cohen crossed for Sale in the last five minutes.
The visitors made eight changes from the team beaten by London Irish last time out and their already daunting task grew harder when Toulouse scored after just two minutes.
Cedric Heymans took a cross-field kick and offloaded to Medard, who eluded the grasp of Cohen to twist over for the opening try.
Nick MacLeod pulled back a penalty for the visitors but it was a rare foray forward as the three-time Cup winners dominated possession and territory and produced scoring chances seemingly at will.
Clerc set a new Heineken Cup scoring record with his 29th try in the tournament when he went over from close range in the right-hand corner after a good break by Florian Fritz.
Clerc added a dazzling third try on the half hour - wave after wave of Toulouse attacks on the left wing, inspired by a delightful reverse pass by Heymans, resulted in the ball being worked back to Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.
It looked as if he might possibly go for a drop-goal from a tight angle but instead launched a pin-point diagonal kick to the right corner for the unmarked Clerc to take and touch down.
Sale only launched one attack worthy of the name in the first half, Carl Fearns exploiting a gap in the defensive line before offloading to MacLeod, who was tackled, and they could consider themselves lucky to trail by just 21 points at the break.
Half-time replacement Donguy added the fourth try less than a minute after the restart, finishing off a cross-field move inspired by Medard's ball-juggling.
With the bonus point secure, Toulouse took their foot off the pedal somewhat, at least giving Sale a chance to get into the match, but resolute defence by the home side ensured they were rarely troubled.
Toulouse always had it in them to score again if they felt like it, and heading into the final quarter, Donguy duly obliged, scoring his second try when he ran up the left wing to collect Byron Kelleher's kick into space.
With time running out, the travelling fans finally had something to cheer - first lock O'Donnell went over after David Tait won the line-out, before Cohen rounded things off with a breakaway try to put a more positive spin on the scoreline.
Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher:
"It was really important for us to start the Heineken Cup campaign with a real bang.
"We haven't been playing flamboyant rugby in recent weeks in the Top 14 but the cohesion was there and we played as a team rather than individuals.
"That was the major plus for us and the performance gives us real confidence as we continue in this competition.
"We showed discipline which was also positive for us because that is where we've lost the Heineken Cup in the last two years."
Sale winger Ben Cohen:
"We give 100% but it was a really tough match for us because of the number of injuries we've had.
"It is difficult enough to compete with the likes of Toulouse at full strength but with the number of players missing, it was a bridge too far.
"We must give credit to Toulouse because we know they are a world-class side who are always involved in the business end of the Heineken Cup.
"They have so much experience in their side and I'm sure the young lads will learn from the experience."
Toulouse: Medard, Clerc, Fritz, Jauzion, Heymans, Elissalde, Kelleher, Human, Servat, Johnston, Lamboley, Albacete, Bouilhou, Dustautoir, Picamoles.
Replacements: Donguy for Heymans (41), David for Fritz (47), Michalak for Elissalde (47), Poux for Human (47), Lacombe for Servat (47), Lecouls for Johnston (47), Millo-Chluski for Lamboley (47), Nyanga for Bouilhou (72).
Sale: Vakacegu, Cohen, Kennedy, Tuilagi, Ripol, MacLeod, Peel; Kerr, Schwalger, Forster, O'Donnell, Cox, Gaskell, Seymour, Fearns.
Replacements: D Tait for Kerr (53), Briggs for Schwalger (53), Halsall for Forster (66), Bishop for Kennedy (66), Cliff for Peel (68). Not Used: B. Roberts, Imiolek, Wigglesworth.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)