Track Tested: 2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet vs. 2009 Audi S5 Coupe


2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet vs. 2009 Audi S5 Coupe

Edmunds.com tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Displacement is out. Supercharging is in. At least that's the direction some automakers are taking. Case in point, the Audi S5.

Our long-term coupe is a 2009 model with a 4.2-liter V8. It makes all sorts of great noises and pulls quite nicely, too. This year, however, Audi is beginning a transition to a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 for the S5. The engine may be over a liter down in displacement, but the supercharger helps it make nearly as much power as the V8 while delivering considerably better fuel mileage. Weighs less, too.

So how much of a difference does the change make? Well, we've got a comparison that will give you some idea. Only some idea because the 2010 S5 we recently tested was a cabriolet model that tacks on several hundred pounds thanks to its convertible top and related upgrades.

Does it make much of a difference? And how does the smaller V6 affect the handling in the slalom? See for yourself in our latest track-tested feature on the 2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet and 2009 Audi S5 Coupe.

Vehicle: 2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet
Odometer: 7,481
Date: 02/09/2010
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $61,950

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 7-speed dual clutch
Engine Type: V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,995cc (183 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 333 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 2,900
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated Disc
Steering System: Electric speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, driver-adjustable 3-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, driver-adjustable 3-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/35ZR19
Tire Size (rear): 255/35ZR19
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: SP Sport Maxx GT
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel Size:19 x 8.5
Wheel Material (front/rear): Cast aluminum
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,327

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.0
0 - 45 (sec): 3.6
0 - 60 (sec): 5.3
0 - 75 (sec): 7.6
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.6 @ 103.2
0 - 60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.0
30 - 0 (ft): 28
60 - 0 (ft): 109
Braking Rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 68.9
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.90
Handling Rating: Good
Db @ Idle: 49.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 76.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.2

Acceleration Coments: If there's a "secret launch mode" in here, I couldn't find it. In fact the S5 punishes pedal overlap. Best run was simply in Drive with "whack and go" technique. Upshifts are amazingly quick and seamless. Linear power delivery throughout rev range and gobs of gut-flattening torque. The V8 sounds better, but is no quicker/faster.

Braking Comments: Typically impressive S5 brakes -- firm, fade-free and powerful from first to last stop.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Makes good grip, but has awful balance. Understeer, understeer and more understeer regardless of what one does with throttle and steering. Slalom: Solid and unflappable, but not as impressive as the sedan with drive select package. Can feel compromise in stiffness in the test.

Vehicle: 2009 Audi S5
Odometer: 3,430
Date: 06/02/09
Driver: Chris Walton

Price: $61,915

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual
Engine Type: V8
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 4,200cc (256 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 354 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 3,500
Brake Type (front): Ventilated Disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated Disc
Steering System: Speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, multilink, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/35ZR19 96Y
Tire Size (rear): 255/35ZR19 96Y
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: Sport Maxx
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,924

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 1.9
0 - 45 (sec): 3.4
0 - 60 (sec): 5.2
0 - 75 (sec): 7.6
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.5 @ 102.6
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.0
30 - 0 (ft): 30
60 - 0 (ft): 110
Braking Rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 66.8 (64.6 with traction control enabled)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.92 (0.91 with traction control enabled)
Handling Rating: Excellent
Db @ Idle: 42.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.1

Acceleration: Prefers slipping clutch launches, but you only get a few before it begins to smell, but it never slips. First gear is pretty short, shifts are at the mercy of the clutch damper, but gates are easy to find. Throws are a little rubbery/notchy. Long, linear "legs" in comparison to the R8 that feels much sharper, snappier.

Braking: Strong brakes, medium-firm pedal, very good fade resistance, little dive in "dynamic" mode.

Handling: Skid pad: With ESP off, the S5 can be steered with the throttle (e.g. lift to tuck the nose in). Steering is light and not very informative. With ESP on, the throttle closes and drives around with the gas on the floor. Slalom: Little, minute brake applications w/ESP on, then throws the anchor. best run was tidiest run with as little upset as possible. With ESP off, it gets loose but is always catchable. Still, the quick run was the cleanest/closest to the cones. Steering is quick, precise, but lifeless.

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