High-performance version of the elegant and classy A5 coupe is very quick and sure-footed, but not particularly engaging to drive
The Audi S5 is a high-performance version of the A5 coupe. It’s also available as a cabriolet and a four-door Sportback – as well as an even faster RS5 – but this two-door coupe is an alternative to quick coupes such as the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe, BMW 440i and, in terms of performance at least, the Ford Mustang.
While the basic shape of the A5 – all elegant and understated – is clear to see, the Audi S5 stands out from lesser versions thanks to its more aggressive bodykit, unique 18-inch alloy wheels and four beefy exhaust pipes.
Inside, Audi has followed a similar theme, so the basic A5 cabin is smartened up by the addition of a flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather-Alcantara sports seats, and the choice of carbon fibre or aluminium trim.
However, all the essential elements of the A5 remain intact. So, you get a cabin that is beautifully built from the finest materials, leaving you with the distinct impression that this is very much a luxury product. There’s plenty of technology inside, too, as well as lots of room for anyone in the front seats.
Naturally, the sloping rear roofline means headroom in the rear is a little tighter, but only the tallest passengers will complain about being short of room. On the other hand, the boot is a very good size, its 465 litres more than you’ll find in coupe versions of the BMW 4 Series or Mercedes C-Class Coupe. You have to pay extra for folding rear seats, but if you choose them, they make the car usefully more practical and leave a flat floor when they’re folded down.
This could just be the ultimate performance car for a shrinking violet. The S5 gets around amazingly quickly, but it’s so understated that pretty much no one will notice you doing it
Of course, the biggest difference between the Audi S5 and the standard A5 is the engine, and the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 produces 349hp which propels it from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. That’s very quick, but the S5 isn’t as engaging or involving as the equivalent model from the BMW 4 Series range.
For a start, the steering doesn’t give you very much in the way of feedback, so you don’t really feel part of the action. And, every so often – particularly when changing down through the gears – the gearbox doesn’t quite seem to be on your side. The net result is that you feel more like a passenger than a driver behind the wheel.
On the other hand, if you just want to cover ground very quickly with very little effort, the Audi S5 will suit you down to the ground. Not only is it wonderfully quiet, even at high speeds on the motorway, it’s also very stable and sure-footed in all weathers, thanks to the extra security offered by the standard Quattro four-wheel drive system.
Ultimately, that very much sums up the S5: it’s a car that will appeal to your head, rather than to your heart. Yes, you’ll love getting from A to B very quickly in it and appreciate the high-class cabin, but you won’t enjoy driving it.