2008 Audi S5 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Audi S5 Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Audi S5 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 354 hp @ 6800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Audi S5

  • With its V8 muscle, finely balanced chassis and handsome lines, the 2008 Audi S5 is as adept at rapidly covering large distances in comfort as it is drawing envious glances while parked.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Elegant design inside and out, strong performance, crisp handling, superb fit and finish, plenty of luxury- and safety-oriented features, standard all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Brakes can be touchy until you acclimate, rear seat short on room for taller passengers.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Audi S5 is an all-new high-performance sport coupe.

Full 2008 Audi S5 Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Audi S5 is an all-new high-performance sport coupe.


Though Audi has dabbled with coupe models, the brand has largely left the luxury coupe market to other automakers. Until this year, that is. Making its debut for 2008, the stylish Audi S5 has no problem drawing more than its share of admiring glances. Drawing design inspiration from Audi's exotic R8 sports car and the Nuvolari showcar, the S5 is certainly a looker. And just like the R8, there's a lot of substance underneath the S5's sexy skin as well.

Those familiar with Audi's lexicon know that an "S" instead of an "A" before a model's number indicates the performance version. Thus the S5 is the more athletic version of the A5. Although much of the S5's platform is shared with the S4 sedan, there are a few key differences that further the coupe's sporting intentions. Among those tweaks are a new front suspension design, a longer wheelbase and a repackaging of the engine, transmission and steering rack. The result is improved weight distribution and handling, and a more precise steering feel. These upgrades are slated to make it on the next-generation S4 sedan as well.

Under the Audi S5's seductive form lies a muscular V8 sporting 354 horsepower, matched to either a six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic automatic. Channeling that power to the pavement is Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, a feature shared only with the BMW 335xi. With a 40-percent front/60-percent rear power split, the Quattro system gives the best of both worlds, which is to say the crisp handling of rear-wheel drive along with the all-weather traction advantage of all-wheel drive.

Being an Audi, you'd expect the S5 to have tasteful styling enhancements that suggest, rather than shout, that this is the performance sibling of the A5. Among those are 19-inch double-spoke alloy wheels and a discreet rear spoiler that's integrated into the deck lid. Of course, there's also an impeccably trimmed cabin with finely finished leather and aluminum trim.

The 2008 Audi S5's most direct rivals are the BMW 335i and Mercedes-Benz CLK550. Yes, the 335i "only" has 300 hp, but its performance is virtually equal to the Audi and it stickers for considerably less. (The M3 is pricier and considerably more athletic.) The Benz has a more powerful V8, but is also more expensive. One might also consider the Infiniti G37, which may not be as exclusive as the S5 but presents an undeniably strong value with its competitive performance and much lower price tag. Certainly you're not going to go wrong with any of these models, but with its sexy bodywork and all-wheel drive, the S5 makes a very strong case for itself.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Audi S5 sport coupe comes in a single well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, a panoramic tilt-up sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, eight-way power front sport seats, leather upholstery, heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors and a 10-speaker audio system with CD changer and satellite radio.

Options include adaptive headlights, Alcantara-trimmed seats, alternative accents (including wood, "Carbon Atlas" and stainless steel), Bluetooth, keyless ignition, park assist (with a rearview camera), a navigation system with a dedicated iPod interface, and a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

The S5 boasts a 4.2-liter direct-injected V8 that makes 354 hp and 325 pound-feet of torque. It comes paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. In our testing, a manual-equipped S5 sprinted to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds and ran down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds.


Antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags all come standard.

Interior Design and Special Features

In typical Audi fashion, the S5's cabin impresses with finely stitched leather, impeccable fit and finish, and real aluminum trim. The aggressively bolstered sport seats offer plenty of support during spirited cornering. The company's MMI (Multi Media Interface) multifunction controller works the audio, climate and (if equipped) navigation systems. Unlike its German rivals, however, Audi's controller is mostly intuitive and is easy to use once the initial learning curve is overcome.

The rear compartment offers seating for two, though taller folks will find under-thigh support and legroom somewhat lacking. The trunk offers 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity (large for a sedan, let alone a coupe), and the rear seat flips down to accommodate more, if need be.

Driving Impressions

Compared to the A4, the 2008 Audi S5 has less mass hanging out over the front tires, which translates into more responsive steering and crisper turn-in. The S5 feels alert, and it's a pleasing change from the A4 sedan or even the RS4. The wheel's effort is a bit light, but its precise action inspires complete confidence when unraveling a favorite twisty road.

The potent V8 provides likewise eager response, while the manual transmission's shifter has light, if somewhat long, throws with firm engagement. Though at first they may seem touchy, the S5's brakes are strong and linear once you acclimate to them.

Read our Audi S5 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Couldn't ask for more!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A)

What a great car to own and drive. I looked at the new M3, AWD250, 335Xi. This is a great daily driver - even though Minnesota winters thanks to AWD. Handles great and performs like a dream. Not to mention the downright serene exhaust note. Suspension is firm enough to eat up the turns, but soft enough to not leave you bruised upon arrival. Great GT cruiser. Getting MUCH better MPG than the sticker claims even with fairly aggressive driving. B&O Sound system is great and a must have add on. Every time I get in this car I'm glad I went with the S5. A great blend of performance and fun - yet supply enough to be a daily driver. Now an Audi convert! (past cars MB E5004matic)

Chicago s5

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

Have had my S5 for almost a year. Still love it every time I get in. Great overall experience. This is my 4th Audi: A8, 2 S4s and now S5. My favorite overall. Greatly improved fit/finish compared to my 2 S4s. Great in snow with high-performance snow tires. I would buy this car again without hesitation. Enjoying it too much to worry about mileage. I didn't get it for the mileage. Still like to just look at it after a year-great design.

The perfect automobile

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

The Audi S5 is the perfect all-around all weather car. In the time leading up to my purchase I drove the new M3, RS4, A5 and S4. The S5 is the perfect combination of performance, comfort, style, features and audible pleasure. I loved driving the M3 and was close to deciding on that car but I was a little worried about RWD in the northern Wisconsin winters that can make driving even an AWD car a challenge 6-8 months out of the year. After nearly three weeks with the S5 I can say I am thrilled with all aspects of the Audi. I disagree with people on the MPG, for a car of this type, the MPG is great. I drove 200+ highway miles today and got 23mpg. That is up from 19mpg in the 1st 1000miles.

I have named her gemini.

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

So far, so great. I traded a 2007 A6 4.2 for this S5 I have driven a few cars in the last three months, A5, new M3 and my S5. The S5 is the perfect blend of performance, comfort, style, quality and all weather security. I really liked the M3 but was nervous about the Wisconsin winters and RWD. Then I saw the S5 in person, drove it and fell in love.

Classy/sporty/unique grand tourer

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

Took delivery back in late jan 2008. Have logged close to 2500 miles in mixed driving. Car handles phenomenally and is a head turner wherever I go. Build quality is impeccable, interior design and exterior styling make this one unique car. Also looked at the 335xi but the audi interior was more aesthetically pleasing, this layout is very driver centric. Although the car is heavy handling is precise and the car feels like it's on rails, especially in the twisties where it simply attacks the corners. Biggest downside is the v8 gas gulper but the car is such a joy to drive that the sub par gas mileage becomes bearable.

All show and plenty of

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S5 quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

I have had my Audi for about 3 weeks and have had many positive comments about the car. I will say this is my first Audi but I am overall a lover of cars, owning everything from SUV's to American Muscle cars to Japanese rides such as the G-35 coupe. Positives-The S5 is an excellent ride, not too rough for a sports car, ergonomics are great, V-8 is very responsive in all gears. Day time running lights turn countless heads. I-pod integration a must. Spacious trunk. Tight handling. Negatives- electronic speed limited. No voice activated Bluetooth. Horrible gas mileage. No standard all season high performance tires.

Talk About The 2008 S5

2008 Audi S5 Discussions See all Started By

Oh my, did a Hyndai Tiburon and a G35 have a kid? :P...

C&D site has A5/S5 first drive article. S5 comes first, A5 next year. Kind of strange to start with the S....

I ordered my 2008 S5 manual transmission model in January from a dealer here in Milwaukee, WI. The dealership is being very ellusive about providing any information to me as to when I might get my ca...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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