2009 Audi S5: Child Safety Seat Fitment Issues
September 18, 2009
We've already had a couple posts about our long-term S5's rear seats. Dan commented about the easy-to-use latch and nifty power switch for moving the seat forward, and Caroline said she liked the amount of storage space provided. But I'm here to tell you that the S5's backseat is no good in at least one area -- fitment of a child safety seat.
If you have a baby or toddler to cart around (and what S5 owner doesn't, right?), the S5's rear seat isn't very accommodating for a safety seat. The biggest issue is that the S5's rear head restraints can't be removed. This makes it impossible to position a forward-facing child safety seat so that it's properly flush with the seatback.
Interestingly, the rear head restraints also don't come out on our A4 Avant wagon. I've always disliked that, but at least with the A4 you can position the child safety seat in the middle where there isn't a head restraint. For the S5, though, there's just rear seating for two -- no middle seat or middle seatbelt. The fixed head restraint also makes it much harder to secure the top tether point on the rear deck.
The upshot of all this is that in order to secure a safety seat for my two-year-old, I had to angle it in such a way that the base isn't flush with the seat cushion (the safety seat's instructions tell you to have the seat flush). I'm also not very keen on the Audi's seat cushion being so highly contoured (had to use a bunch of towels to equal everything out) and the way the child safety seat ends up being so close to the rear side-curtain airbag mounted in the C-pillar.
For adults and bigger kids, sure, the S5's rear seat should be just fine (though I have to disagree with Caroline in that I don't find it particularly comfortable -- not enough headroom and the outboard armrests are too hard). But this is the first coupe I've driven in our long-term fleet where locating a child safety seat on the front passenger seat actually seemed like, if not a better position, than certainly equal in terms of fitment.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor