The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.7
It might be overshadowed by the quicker RS5, but don’t let the understated looks fool you. The Audi S5 Coupe packs a 349bhp punch, has the security of Quattro four-wheel drive and a high quality interior with practical boot.
Reasons to buy
- Understated looks
- Strong performance
- Large boot
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
Changes to the A5’s muscular coupe styling are minimal; the Audi S5 has a subtle body kit, discreet rear spoiler, S5 badging, 19-inch alloy wheels and quad exhausts. With its swollen wheelarches, the S5’s 19-inch alloy wheels work well with the high shoulder line. The most obvious way to identify an S5 is by the slightly more aggressive grille. Audi calls the S5 a ‘modern grand tourer’, in reality it’s up against the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes E-Class Coupe. The Audi S5 has more presence than the 3 Series but the E-Class looks sleeker and more interesting. It’s just too similar to the standard A5 and the faster RS5 could mean this quick Audi is overlooked by UK buyers.
What's the interior like?
It might not be as inspired as some Audi designs, but the S5’s interior is beautifully finished.The dashboard architecture is user-friendly and driver-focused, plus the standard carbon fibre trim adds to the sportier feel. Yes, it might feel too similar to a standard A5, but the cabin is a model of Audi’s quality that BMW and Mercedes rivals cannot match. Another S5 interior highlight is the tastefully understated starter button. Shame then, that Audi’s optional MMI system sat-nav is overcomplicated and that the climate controls are too low in the centre console.
How practical is it?
There’s plenty of head and leg room in the front, so even the tallest will get comfy in the S5’s high-backed sports seats. Sadly, the same is not true in the back as rear space is poor. It’s a no go area for six-footers. Still, the 455-litre boot is comparable to rivals and the rear seatbacks split and fold to increase space further. The S5’s forward and side visibility is generally good despite the thick roof pillars, but the way the rear styling falls away from view means you’ll be glad of the rear parking sensors. Audi parking system advanced, which includes a camera, is an option.
What's it like to drive?
Quattro four-wheel drive means you can make the most of the S5’s performance. The excellent traction is most noticeable in the wet or when accelerating out of corners or roundabouts. There’s minimal body roll, but the ride is really too hard and the smallest pothole will be felt in the cabin. Rivals are better all-rounders. The S5 is fitted with Audi’s Drive Select system, which offers three different modes. We’re not a fan and found the best compromise is Dynamic, which still feels unsettled on unmade surfaces. The Audi’s steering at first feels cumbersome, but at speed it feels precise and offers reasonable feedback.
How powerful is it?
The S5 produces 354bhp and top speed is 155mph, with the dash to 62mph taking just 5.1 seconds. With its 3,858lb kerb weight, the S5 isn’t lightweight. The BMW (3,527lb, 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds) is lighter and quicker and the Mercedes (3,927lb, 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds) heavier and slower. The S5 gets a modified version of the 4.2-litre FSI V8 from the RS4, developing 354bhp with a glorious V8 rumble. It’s available with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic semi-auto. Our pick is the six-speed manual transmission as the more expensive semi-auto can feel jerky at low speeds.
How much will it cost me?
The S5 is a 300bhp+ coupe, so bills are never going to be cheap. The S5 emits 288g/km of CO2, although going for the automatic Tiptronic gearbox sees this drop to 256g/km. Considering the performance, the fact it returns 30mpg and isn’t in the highest road tax band is a blessing. However, these costs are comparable with rivals.
How reliable is it?
It might be a performance car, but it’s an Audi so it’s got an excellent reliability record.
How safe is it?
There’s no EuroNCAP result for the S5, but it’s based on the current A4 which scored five stars. The S5 should be just as safe, with front and side airbags, electronic stability programme and traction control fitted as standard. We think the quattro all-wheel drive system is confidence-inspiring in difficult conditions and gives the S5 the edge against the BMW and Mercedes.
How much equipment do I get?
Most equipment is standard, including 19-inch alloy wheels, Audi Concert CD stereo with 6.5-inch colour monitor, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front sports seats, light and rain sensors, xenon headlights including LED daytime running lights, a multi-function sports leather steering wheel and dual-zone climate control. Options include the Audi parking system plus, with rear camera and the MMI navigation system.
The S5 isn’t quite an M3 rival, you’ll need the faster RS5 for that. What it does offer is punchy performance and the security of quattro four-wheel drive all wrapped up in attractive, distinctive coupe styling.