Miscellaneous - 2009 Audi S5 Long Term Road Test

2009 Audi S5 Long Term Road Test

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2009 Audi S5: Makes Me Feel Successful

May 04, 2010


The other day I let my neighbor Bill drive our long-term 2009 Audi S5. He had been asking for a while and caught me in a weak moment, so I threw him the key.

Like most poeple that drive the V8-powered coupe, he loved it. But he expressed in a way I hadn't heard or really considered before. "When I'm in it," he said, "it makes me feel successful. Like I made the right decisions in my life. It feels like a reward for all my hard work."

I couldn't agree more.

Too often these days people think about cars as conveyance and not as a pleasurable part of daily life. People that do are missing out. More of them should sample an Audi S5.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2009 S5: One Great Car That I'll Miss

April 27, 2010


Last night was probably the last time I'll drive our S5, and that made me sad. It's time with us is winding down, so I gave it a good shake-down run on my favorite roads above Malibu. What a great car. What a great sound. That's all I can say. Here are some outtakes from my first S5 blog post last July. I'm going to go curl up in the trunk and weep.

Mark Takahashi @ 26,225 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Such a Sleeper

April 22, 2010


After all these months, I still can't believe the 2009 Audi S5 looks like this (beautiful, refined, understated, clean...) yet sounds like a muscle car. I lightly blipped the throttle during a downshift on the way to work, and the exhaust note was every bit as deep and yummy as if I'd done it in our Camaro or Challenger.

For those who can spend $60 grand (and I know that's no small sum), is there a better sleeper performance car out there right now?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2009 Audi S5: 20,000 miles

April 01, 2010

Milestone Banner.jpg Thumbnail image for 2009_audi_s5_20k_1_1600.jpg

We made it. After 11 months with the 2009 Audi S5 we finally broke through the 20,000-mile mark. It happened at 75 mph on the highway, so we missed the money shot. But in truly un-S5-like fashion, we snapped this shot at the drive-through for In-N-Out Burger. Boo for us. Hooray for Double-Doubles.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,019 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Stalk Cruise Control is Easy

March 29, 2010

Audi S5 Stalk Cruise.JPG

I normally don't use cruise control: it makes me lose interest in my driving and possibly sleepy. But on last week's trip to Vegas for the CTIA Wireless conference, I didn't want to run afoul of The Law, so I used it quite a bit.

There has been a trend lately towards steering wheel pad mounted cruise switches. That's because they're visible so intial use is very intuitive: you just look at the switches and press them. But you do have to look at them to operate.

Our long-term 2009 Audi S5's cruise control switches, however, are stalk mounted and incredibly easy to use. Press the switch on the end of the stalk to set speed, tap up/down to adjust set speed by 1 mph pitch, pull towards you to resume, away to cancel, and away past the detent to turn off.

After using 1 or 2 times, you can use the cruise control with blind operation: no looking required, unlike the steering wheel pad switches.

And this way the steering wheel pad and spokes leave room for the audio and other functions, as well as a cleaner appearance.

Which cruise setup do you prefer?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 19,800 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Tire Check before Road Trip

March 22, 2010

Audi S5 tire pressure label.JPG

This week I'm rolling to Vegas in our long-term 2009 Audi S5 again, this time to attend the
CTIA Wireless conference.

I decided to check the tire pressures before I went. The tires are high-po Summers sized 235/35ZR19 96Y all-around.

I was surprised to see that the fronts want 39 psi! That's the highest I've seen for a passenger car.
Do you know of another car that takes that much air?

Another surprise was the Mercury content on the S5, which I think would be common to many vehicles. Who knew?

Catch the CTIA coverage this week on Straightline.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 19,200 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Comes With The Right Connector

March 15, 2010


Our Audi S5 has this handy dandy mesh bag in its glovebox which contains interchangeable connectors allowing it to interface with virtually any MP3 player. Minijack, USB, mini USB, iPod, doesn't really matter what you need to connect, the S5 has got you handled.

Very nice.

Josh Jacquot

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2009 Audi S5: Speakers are No Substitute for a Real V8

March 07, 2010


Driving through some tight canyons this weekend in the S5 reminded just how fun it can be to play with its well-tuned V8. On and off the throttle, the S5 booms, hums and gurgles as good or better than just about anything out there. Windows up or down, it's a nice little bonus.

It reminded me of the recent introduction of the Lotus Evora Hybrid concept. In addition to its advanced drivetrain, the concept also features an audio system that can pipe in driver-selectable sounds in an attempt to mimic the exhaust wail of a real V6, V8 or even V12.

A nice thought maybe, but I doubt it will be much of a substitute for the real thing. Noise from speakers in the dashboard and noise from an engine bolted to the chassis are two very different things. Maybe some drivers won't even know the difference, but they won't know what they're missing.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 18,342 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Is It Good to Drive Alone?

March 03, 2010


I enjoy driving alone. And I enjoyed my solo business trip to Vegas in our long-term 2009 Audi S5. Not all cars are good for solo driving, mind you. The S5 fits the bill, because it is quick and capable of turning a corner with haste and grace. Also, as mentioned many, many times, its 4.2-liter V8 sounds terrific. There's a big sensory component to driving this Audi and all these little things occupy the mind and keep the long, straight highways from being boring.

There are other cars in our fleet, though, that I don't like driving alone. And it's not just the ones with weak performance, either. Our underpowered 2009 Suzuki SX4 wore on me, sure, but I also don't care to be alone in our BMW 750i. I drove the latter to Albuquerque and back, and I've rarely felt lonelier. I never drove it after that unless I knew I was going to have a passenger. Somehow, the big 7, though fast and agile for its size, just wasn't enough of a friend.

Here's my list of current long-term cars that I like driving alone:

2010 Mazdaspeed 3
2009 Audi S5
2009 BMW M3
2009 Dodge Challenger R/T
2009 Honda Fit

Any thoughts on what makes a car good for solo road trips? And which car would you choose from our fleet, or your own fleet?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Effortless cruising

March 01, 2010

Welcome to Las Vegas.jpg

Made a quick trip to Vegas over the weekend for a friend's birthday celebration in our long-term 2009 Audi S5.

And it's a great car for a highway trip with a controlled ride that's not too firm, and that terrific 4.2 V8 with more than enough power. If you get stuck in stop and go traffic (inevitable) that doesn't come to a complete stop, you can lug the engine in 2nd and the engine will pull without protest. You can also climb moderately steep grades at speed in 6th without the need for downshifting, something our long-term Challenger doesn't like.

I met several people out in Vegas, one of whom was lucky enough to fly on his friend's Citation bizjet. The S5 is like your own personal land-based aircraft, cruising effortlessly and quickly with style.

But I would have rather flown on the bizjet too.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer at 18,200 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Upside Down and Backwards

February 18, 2010

audi s5 power locks.jpg
With regards to ergonomics, two things about the Audi S5 are back a**wards -- the power door lock buttons and the sunroof shade. As I noted with other Audi vehicles, the power door lock buttons on the doors are upside down, the opposite of what convention (and logic) dictate. Normally "down" equals lock and "up" equals unlock. Heck, it's been that way since the old manual door locks...you know, the one's you'd try to pull up with a bent coat hanger -- slipped through the weatherstrip -- when you locked the keys in the car. And yes, that's a photo of another S5's door panel but apart from the two-tone trim, it's the same.

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2009 Audi S5: Not a Bad View If It's Yours

February 16, 2010


Aside from that stupid plant in the way of course. I almost walked outside to move it but figured that might be pushing the bounds of long-term photo orchestration.

Anyway, the point here is that the Audi S5 makes for some superior eye candy no matter where you park it. Had I not drove to the restaurant in the car itself, I would have sat through my entire dinner wishing I had. It's just one of those cars that makes you start running numbers in your head to see if maybe, one day, with the right finagling of your bank accounts, you too could manage one for yourself. I know I have and that doesn't happen very often.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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2009 Audi S5: Dealbreaker

February 08, 2010

Audi A5 moonroof.jpg

We had a company lunch last Friday, pizza and salad. As I was eating my sixth slice, someone asked me what test car I would be driving over the weekend. "S5," I answered.

Another co-worker at my table said, "I almost bought that car."

I replied, "Yeah, and?"

"The sunroof doesn't open," she asserted.

That was that. She ended up in a two-door 3-series.
For some people, fresh air is a matter of paramount importance.

For me? Don't care -- I don't want to muss my coif.

And you? Will you, too, be like Liz Lemon and cry, "Dealbreaker!"

(Blue non-long term Audi A5 with moonroof pictured)

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 16,150 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Road Trip to Sweden!

February 03, 2010


Look how great our long-term 2009 Audi S5 looks parked in Gothenburg, Sweden, with a layer of snow on it. Oh, wait, no V8 badge on the quarter panel. And the sidewalls, they're kind of like, uh, sidewalls. And... only 2 exhaust pipes in back. OK, so it's an Swedish-spec A5 and it's not even ours. But still, it's stunning, and it's the only A5/S5 I've seen after 2 1/2 days of wandering in Gothenburg (or rather, Goteborg), which is of course Volvo's company town.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Worth the Walk

February 01, 2010


After getting the S5 cleaned up over the weekend, it looked too good to get swiped by some contractor in a dually, so when I stopped by the local Lowe's to buy a few things I decided to put it where it would be safe.

That meant a slightly longer walk to the store, but it was worth it. Trust me, seeing that thing sitting out in the lot on the way back made me remember why people buy cars like the S5 in the first place. If I could, I would.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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2009 Audi S5: The Passenger

January 29, 2010


These blogs usually find us spending our words telling you what it's like to drive our long-term cars. Whether it be doing burnouts, parallel parking or pushing buttons, everything is usually told to you from the driver's point of view.

Well, I'm a rebel.

Late last week I found myself strapped into the right side of our S5 for three hours. Three hours is nothing for me when I'm behind the wheel but it's usually something I don't look forward to as a passenger; not so with the Audi. Don't worry, I'm not going to compare it to an S-Class, but I was never uncomfortable. The size and shape of the seat fit me perfectly - so much so I don't think I moved much at all in the three hours I was in transport. Too much sun can bake the inside of the car on a long trip, but with the narrow side windows and the nicely raked windshield, the sun's heat was never an issue. And with the addition of that giant glass roof and its semi-transparent shade, even the all-black interior never felt the least bit claustrophobic.

My only gripe was the silver quattro badge on the dashboard that happened to be right in front of me. In such a clean and well executed interior it really was the only gaffe.

I certainly wouldn't mind riding in this car again.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor

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2009 Audi S5: The Sun is Shining and I Got the S5

January 27, 2010

Audi S5 at Bergamot JR

The Red Sea parted, the gods smiled and Riswick got the Audi S5 for the first time. Cue the bells.

Though I've driven the S5 before, it is such a distinct pleasure to drive home even if my journey consisted of a mere 9.2 miles through the city. The S5 has all the ingredients of a car I would consider for myself. It's a coupe. It's absolutely stunning. It's German. Its V8 is robust yet refined. Its ride strikes that sophisticated balance of engaged firmness and comfort. The driving position is superb. I love the shifter, both in its design and action. It has a big trunk. It has a usable (enough) back seat. The interior is beautifully made. Did I mention it's absolutely stunning?

I know I'm gushing, but I don't get in the S5 much and figure I should heap whatever praise upon it while I can. Sometimes you just have to sit back, put aside whatever nitpicks you may have and revel in a car's greatness.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 15,572 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Beautiful Design -- And I Can Still See Out of It

January 26, 2010


Clearly, I don't spend enough of my time in our long-term 2009 Audi S5 coupe. I like the way this car sounds, I like the way it feels and I like -- and have always liked -- its understated design inside and out.

And perhaps what is most remarkable about the A5/S5 design is that this coupe looks beautiful, yet I can still see out the back, over the hood and around the A-pillar. That's quite the deal, especially right now when highly stylized retro designs and pedestrian protection requirements are conspiring to turn coupes into land-based submarines.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Even Bums Like It

January 26, 2010


So I'm driving to work through the bohemian village of Venice Beach. Windows are down. Sun is shining. And here he comes. I'm the third car in line at a red light and the homeless gentleman that calls this paticular intersection his place of residence is making a beeline for the rich guy in the fancy red car. My open window might as well be a formal invitation for free grub and a bottle of Thunderbird.

We lock eyes. He holds up his sign for my reading pleasure. It says something about being hungry.

Light is still red.

"Nice car," he says to me. "Love the color."

"Thanks," I say. "When will this freakin' light change," I think.

"Hey," he says taking a step closer. "It really is beautiful, but an M3 will still eat its lunch. It'll be a real shame if they don't bring in the RS5."

Stunned, I reply something lame like, "I agree" as I fish in my pants for a few bucks.

True story.

Even the bums are car guys in So Cal.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 15,524

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2009 Audi S5: Cool Reflection

January 25, 2010


Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: Sweet Comfort

January 22, 2010


Hate to admit it, but I'm officially old. I like our long-term 2009 Audi S5 in Comfort mode. It rides a little nicer, the throttle isn't as sensitive and the steering isn't as heavy. Just call me grandpa.

Truth is the Audi's Dynamic mode feels a little forced to me. The throttle tip in becomes so aggresive it's almost impossible to change gears smoothly, the steering heavies up pointlessly and takes on an artificial feel and for me the ride becomes almost crude with too much surface intrusion. To use a technical term, it becomes jiggly.

I'll leave the Dynamic mode for younger staff members. Meanwhile, I'll keep the S5's keys in my pocket. I've signed out the Audi and its Comfort for the weekend.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: Grille Talk

January 21, 2010


"Nice grille."

"Thanks, I like yours too. Had it long?"

"Forty years. How about you?"

"Well, I only got mine last year, but some of my brothers got theirs back in 2006. Now I know where they got the idea."

"Really, do you think any of your designers have even seen me? I mean, I'm a Chevy."

"Of course they have. You're famous. You and than that um, that um...the one named after the horse."

"The Mustang?"

"Yeah, the Mustang. Everybody knows you guys. In fact, some say I'm just a newer German version of you."


"Sure. Same formula. I'm just a little fancier and more expensive, but I've got a front mounted V8 in a sexy coupe body just like you."

"That's so cool. How many gears do you have?"

"Six. Why?"

"Oh, I only have four."

"Hey man, don't let that get you down. You still got it goin' on. Heck, you even started the alpha numeric names we also use today."

"You know my name?"

"Of course. Z28. Everyone knows it. By the way, my name is S5. It's a honor to meet you."


"Hey, tell me something, when you first got your big grille back in 1970 was it liked right away."

"Well, it's a little hard to remember that long ago, but I think it was. What about yours?"

"Well, now it's a hit, but back in 2006 when my brother, the A4, got his facelift it was pretty radical. I mean, it wasn't hated like the Bangle Butt or anything like that, but people were a little taken back by it. But that's not surprising, you know how those humans are."

"Tell me about it."

"Speaking of humans, here comes mine now. I'll bet you ten bucks it dials up Playboy radio on the way to work."

"Really is he warped like that?"

"That's just the tip of the iceberg. He's a freak."

"Well, it was nice meeting you."

"You too. And don't let those four-speeds bother you. Six aren't all they're cracked up to be. Bye."

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 15,298 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Deja Vu at 15,000 Miles

January 19, 2010


Is it just me? I swear I end up in more than my fair share of long-term cars on the verge of hitting a mileage milestone. I was in this very 2009 Audi S5 as is rolled through 5,000 miles, and here I am again as it clicks past the 15,000-mile barrier.

On the other hand, our long-term fleet does contain upwards of 20 cars. Maybe everyone else in the office is muttering the same thing.

In any case, the Audi S5 feels more-or-less the same at 15k as it did at 5,000 miles.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15,115 miles

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2009 Audi S5: There's An Actual Engine Under the Hood

January 05, 2010


I have long suspected there was a sizable V8 under the hood of our long-term Audi S5. It says so right on the quarter panel after all. But all too often these days, opening the hood of a luxury car reveals nothing but a picnic table of plastic that hides any sign of actual machinery.

Not so in the S5. Just look at those intake runners, gorgeous. And check out those cylinder heads hanging off each side of the block. It's pure mechanical bliss I tell ya. Sure, there is a small plastic cover on top, but even that looks like it belongs there. Nice work Audi.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 13,578 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Not Always Welcome

December 29, 2009


On the streets surrounding our Santa Monica offices, 2009 Audi S5s are a dime a dozen. But 80 miles east, in the Inland Empire, things are different. There is no ocean breeze. No marine layer. And out here, the S5 sticks out like a sore thumb.

I found myself in this desert oasis over the weekend. I'd been here 100 times before, but never in the S5. Horns were honked. Smiles were cast. Hands were waved. One poor kid even dropped her ice cream cone. The car drew so much attention it made me uncomfortable. I couldn't shake it. Not even a sale at this local statuary dustbowl could lift my spirits.

I don't welcome the celebrity status the S5 holds out here. Next time I'm taking the Ram. And next time I'm buying that Statue of Liberty lamp.

Mike Schmidt, Manager of Vehicle Testing @ 13,500 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Can You Imagine Yourself in This Car?

December 17, 2009

audis5 011.jpg

Le sigh. Our 2009 Audi S5 sure looks good on my driveway. On the rare occasion that I get to take a fancy car home, I like to imagine that I own it. But what sort of person with what sort of job would I have to be to own this Brilliant Red sport-luxury car? A TV producer with one successful show under her belt? An entertainment lawyer? Or perhaps Heidi from The Hills?


Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 13,459 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Wide Open In One Press

December 16, 2009

Hit the remote trunk release on the key fob of most of the cars in our long-term fleet, and the lid simply unlatches. If you're lucky, it pops up an inch so you can give it a grab to open up all the way.

Not so in our longterm 2009 Audi S5, and in a good way -- when you hit the S5's remote trunk release on the key fob, the lid rises fully up with no manual intervention required.

It's a nice little touch, especially when your hands are already full. And unlike the similarly wide-opening trunk of our uber-lux BMW 750i, closing the Audi's decklid is light and easy.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Winter is here; Let's Escape to Spring!

December 15, 2009

We had this year's Storm of the Century this past weekend in Los Angeles.
I had our long-term 2009 Audi S5 and it handled the rainy weekend quite well.

Of course, that was nothing compared to most of the country which has gotten pummeled with actual winter.

Already tired of the cold?

Let's fantasize and escape to a warm, sunny day in Sonoma, CA -- that's Wine Country neighboring the Napa Valley.

What vehicle shall we tool around in? Hit the jump to find out.

Let's go for a preview spin in the 2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet, with a 333 hp supercharged 3.0L V6 mated to a dual-clutch transmission -- that's the same powertrain package that's on the new S4 (which is also available with a 6MT.)

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2009 Audi S5: Why is the IP so dark?

December 10, 2009

Headlights 018-1600.jpg

I had to make a run to the store last night, so I cranked up the S5 in the driveway, and noticed the instrument panel was only partially lit. Hmm. What gives?

It turns out, the LED DRLs--that's "Light Emitting Diode" "Daytime Running Lamps" if you're not up to speed on your TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms)--are so danged bright, I mistakenly thought my headlights were on. Here's what it looks like with the HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Xenons on.

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2009 Audi S5: Sunroof Is Nice, But Not That Nice

November 16, 2009


From this angle it would appear as though the S5's sunroof is quite large. It is big, but unlike the blacked-out section you see here, the actual opening is not half the size of the car's roof.

From the driver's seat the sunroof opening looks quite normal. Tilt it up and the whole roof panel does raise up a bit, but the effect on the inside is no different.

So basically, Audi uses that big piece of glass for nothing more than a little decoration. Instead of an odd-looking square stuck in the middle of the roof, the designers went the extra mile and made it look like it belongs there. Nice.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 12,510 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Could Do Without the Stinking Badge

November 13, 2009

car-of-the-week-717-3.jpg audi-s5-badge-1600.jpg
Not sure when Audi got into the habit of putting engine badges on the front quarter panels of its cars. Could be an old habit or one that just got started, but I wouldn't mind if it died a silent death.

Now I'm no badge hater. I've got a Chevelle that's covered with them. But when it looks as measly as the S5's "V8" it doesn't do much for me. Give the V8 a name or the badge a little more style if you're going to bother with it.

I'm not expecting much out of Audi though. The new S4 has a 3.0T badge on it and it's not even turbocharged. Oh well.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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2009 Audi S5: I Need a 25th Hour

November 12, 2009

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I realized this morning that I haven't spent nearly enough playing with the Audi Drive Select program on our 2009 Audi S5. Somehow this coupe always seems to come to me on a night when there's nothing more than freeways in the forecast.

Last night I thought about how much I like the precision and lightness of the Audi's steering, even if it's not terribly rich in feedback.

This morning, though, it occurred to me I could have reset the steering to "Dynamic" mode (rather than leaving it in "Automatic") and perhaps it would have felt even better. Damn. And then it was time to park and go to work. I have the keys to the Audi again tonight, though, so I've got another chance.

As an aside, the Bang & Olufsen audio system in this car is easily the best in the fleet. NPR's Carl Kasell might as well be in the passenger seat telling me about how things are in Afghanistan.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,310 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Mirror, Mirror, what's your best color?

November 12, 2009


Our long-term 2009 Audi S5 has an aluminum outer mirror shell.
Well, at least it looks amazingly like aluminum.

I gave it a rap with my knuckle the other day, then verified (once again) with the Audi Guy: the mirror shell is plastic. But you really can't tell by looking at it, even up close.

However, I think that mirror shell would look even better in body color. What do you think?

Let's vote!!

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2009 Audi S5: The Sound Clip You Asked For, Maybe

November 12, 2009

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You asked for an audio clip of our 2009 Audi S5 "idling, revving, accelerating away, driving past at WOT."

Alas, our crack video team had a prior engagement, so we bring you this video (after the jump, man, after the jump) with yours truly in the cockpit and my colleague, Loren Wong (subytrojan) doing the camera work. This would be the "accelerating away" clip, and it was recorded on a closed course.

In addition to this video (and it's after the jump, remember), you could always go back and watch the original, professionally-shot track video of our S5.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,309 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Blindspot

November 11, 2009

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You asked for it, so here it is. This is you view over the driver's shoulder of our 2009 Audi S5. In comparison to other coupes it really isn't too bad. As you might expect, the blindspot is more significant with a taller driver in the front passenger seat. In this picture the seatback is only reclined moderately.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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2009 Audi S5: Open Thread

November 10, 2009


What do you want to know about the 2009 Audi S5?

Have you driven one or seen one on the road? Write your review in the comments section.

Are there any details you want us to take a picture of or perhaps a video?

Let us know.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Audi S5: If Looks Could Thrill

November 08, 2009


With its 354-horsepower V8 engine, six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive, the Audi S5 has been a favorite in our fleet ever since it arrived.

It doesn't hurt that it has Brilliant Red paint and silver-painted details.

This car ain't just a pretty face, it's car of the week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Audi S5: It'll Be a Sad Day When the V8 Is Gone

November 05, 2009


Audi has already announced that it will replace the S5's 4.2-liter V8 with the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that currently resides in the 2010 S4. Actually, convertible S5s have already made the switch. There are some internal discussions at Audi about keeping the V8 around in the coupe, but last we heard the V6 was still the engine of choice.

A shame really. I've said here many times that the power of the S5's V8 is often underwhelming, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. It's nice to be able to roll into the throttle in sixth gear on the way to Vegas for SEMA and feel the S5 pick up speed so effortlessly. Not sure whether it's the sound of the engine or the feel through the gas pedal, but it's too good to pass up.

That would probably explain my less than exceptional mileage on the 600-mile round trip (around 18mpg or so). It would also explain why I would tell anybody who's thinking about buying an S5 to do it now. They're not getting much better than this.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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2009 Audi S5: Ideal GT Car

October 26, 2009

audi s5 parked in venice 1600.jpg

Cross-county road trip? Our longterm 2009 Audi S5 is the choice ride. This is isolation done right--think smooooth, not squishy. The downside of this for driving enthusiasts is that the S5's steering is mute, there's driveline lash from the soft engine mounts and the gearchange could be more precise. As a result, there's a slightly synthetic feel to the helm and the throttle.

The S5 isn't an M3, and that's precisely the point. It trades a bit of sport for an extra helping of refinement, and most people will be just fine with that. It's truly a sweet ride. Just not for me.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Fan Club

October 22, 2009

audi s5 fan.jpg

I have mixed feelings about the design of the S5's HVAC controls, as they relate to modulating fan intensity. On one hand, the layout seems to involve an unnecessary step. Instead of just twisting a knob to control how hard the fan blows, you have to press a button; lift your gaze to a screen that shows a digital image of the control knob; and then twist the physical knob to modulate the fan speed, guided by the digital image that's presented. Kind of tedious and distracting, especially when you consider that there's a time-tested, simpler approach.

On the other hand, just look at the digital image. Cool, huh? Makes me feel like I'm living in sci-fi movie with impeccable art direction. And obviously, another plus is that you get a cleaner-looking center stack. Beauty has its cost, I suppose.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 10,650 miles

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2009 Audi S5: That Feeling

October 21, 2009


The S5 manages to do something very, very few other cars have managed to do - it makes me feel like an adult.

It makes me feel refined and well-heeled. It makes me look like I have good taste and European sensibilities. It made me want to go buy a Barcelona chair.

After I drove it for the night, I wanted to do absolutely nothing to this car. It's just so... done.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 10,739 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Blind spot detection

October 15, 2009

Audi blind spot detect Bravo.JPG

Our long-term 2009 Audi S5 is equipped with a blind-spot detection system (named, somewhat confusingly, Audi side assist). It's part of the Tech package ($2200) that includes back-up camera, adaptive headlamps (AFS), and smart keyless entry/start.

If another vehicle is in your blindspot (either side), the dots in the respective mirror housing light faintly (above pic). Signal a lane change while the other vehicle is there and the dots flash. Audi says the system range is 150 ft and your car must be going at least 19 mph. There is no auditory alert.

If you aren't aware of the system, the first time it flashes you may think you ran a traffic camera.
Or that perhaps paparazzi were interested in your business.

What's that? You don't like it because you're a Luddite?
There's a defeat switch near the A-pillar above the speaker.

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2009 Audi S5: Nascar worthy?

October 13, 2009

Audi S5 at Cal Speedway.JPG Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nationwidemustang-1600-thumb-717x477.jpg

I rolled to the Nascar race on Sunday in our long-term 2009 Audi S5. Last week, we posted on Straightline that Ford will introduce a Nascar version of their Mustang.

Huh. I wonder if Audi would like to enter the series with the S5. That's because due to its excellent suspension and Quattro all-wheel-drive grip, the production version at least is utterly stable and composed at speeds over 100 mph. (I mean, a professional driver on a closed course told me.)

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2009 Audi S5: Cruisin' & Downshiftin'

October 09, 2009


Our long-term 2009 Audi S5 has a manual gearbox. It has cruise control. Those things by themselves are not remarkable.

The way they interact, if not remarkable, is unusual. Once set, the S5's cruise control does not cancel if you decide to downshift. The S5's cruise control resumes your set speed as soon as you've completed the gearchange.

This took me by surprise at first, only because so few manual-gearbox cars allow this. Typically the cruise cancels when you dip the clutch.

Because I'm a geek, I began thinking of what might drive an automaker's decision to adopt this "clutch-resume" strategy (as Audi has) over the usual "clutch-cancel" one.

Pro: On a steep freeway grade that requires you to drop down a gear to maintain your speed, "clutch-resume" allows you to do so without having to hit resume afterwards. One less button-press in this case.

Con: Downshifting for engine braking in a "clutch-resume" car requires you to hit cancel first, else you're in for a surprise when the car tries to re-accelerate to your set speed! One more button-press in this case, or use the brakes.

Any geeks out there that can think of other pros or cons to either approach?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2009 Audi S5: 10,000 Miles And Counting

October 08, 2009

Milestone Banner 717S4-at-10,000-miles.jpg

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: Tell Me Why I'm Wrong

October 06, 2009


Our 2009 Audi S5 is hands down the best looking vehicle in the long-term fleet today. In fact, from the inception of our long-term test program it is second to none. Every car. It turns more heads than all of them. OK, make it second to one. The R8.

Now I know I'm right, but let's hear it. Based on looks alone, what's your favorite long-term car?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,200 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Nighttime Drive In Los Angeles

October 02, 2009


Nighttime is my favorite time to drive in Los Angeles. It's hard to pin down, but there's a certain vibe that only exists when the sun has gone down. The overcast sky is aglow from the city lights, the air is still and, if you're on the west side of town, there's a bit of moisture to it as well. It's a relaxing calm after your work day is done.

It's also a time when that notorious LA traffic has slimmed. It never goes away -- this is LA, after all -- but this actually plays into the drive. The roads change from congested slog fests to roads with opportunities. Work the throttle. Make a few lane changes. If you've got the right car, you're the shark working your way confidently through minnows.

The Audi S5 is one of those cars. I had it a couple nights ago. After an evening with friends, it was time to go home. But after about 10 minutes of driving, a little voice in my head said, "Dude, you've got an S5." So I indulged the voice, changed directions and headed west to pick up Pacific Coast Highway. From here I went north, winding my way along this famous road and eventually turned right to head up Topanga Canyon Blvd that takes you twisting through the hills of the Santa Monica mountain range.

The S5 was in its element on this drive, the red cabin illumination giving off a classy vibe, the adaptive xenon headlights throwing out plenty of light, the shifter moving smoothly from gate to gate and the eager V8 strumming out its refined soundtrack. Later, on my return leg, I parked the S5 on the side of the PCH and listened to the ocean's waves crashing ashore.

Los Angeles' omnipresent traffic will burn you out, so sometimes you need to make a drive like this -- and have a car like the S5 -- to remind you that being behind the wheel is still fun.

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2009 Audi S5: For $62,000, I'll Pass, Please

September 28, 2009


I had a big junior-high crush on our long-term Audi R8. Loved that car. I'd back over editor Sadlier with our Honda Insight to have one (well, maybe.) So one might think I'd have a similar passion for our Audi S5. But so far ... meh.

The S5's styling and its V8 seem to be what most people like about it. But subjectively, the car doesn't do much for me. Is it classy looking? Sure. But plenty of other luxury cars are, too. As for the 4.2-liter V8, the real-world experience is a letdown. Gun it, and the S5 isn't any quicker than a Mustang GT. The ballyhooed engine note isn't any better, either, and its low audible output means you'll never hear it over a cracked window or the radio.

The Audi S5's standard all-wheel drive could be considered an advantage. It's no doubt nifty if you live in a place that gets lots of precipitation. But most of the time it's just along for the ride. AWD makes it tricker to aggressively launch the S5 from a stop, too. A clutch drop at 6,200 rpm? No thanks if it's my car.

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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.

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2009 Audi S5: Two Little Things

September 14, 2009

Audi S5 front.JPG

Audi's new running lights on the S5 and R8 are sure tough looking but I think they add an extra measure of safety the dim DRLs on other cars can't.

This weekend I was cruising the streets of Lakewood, California (read tree lined suburbia) and on more than one occasion I saw a driver start to pull out in front of me then do a double take and stop. If it were just 23 year old dudes I'd say it was b/c they were impressed by the S5 and wanted a closer look - but it was a dad in a minivan, grandmother in an Intrepid and a teen-age girl in a Geo Storm. I'm thinking the bright running lights helped to avoid an accident - can't say for sure but that's what I think.

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2009 Audi S5: Even Feels Good Going Slow

September 11, 2009


There was a rumor going around that Audi was rethinking its decision to drop the S5's V8 in favor of a supercharged V6. The blown six makes about the same amount of power, but it does it more efficiently.

Seems like an obvious swap right? Well, it turns out people both inside and outside the company have lobbied for a reprieve for the V8. Why? It sounds good and feels good in a way the V6 never will.

I can't blame them a bit either. As sweet as the S5's ultra-smooth V8 feels near its 7,000 rpm redline, it feels just as satisfying at half throttle. I don't remember another engine that felt so good short shifting its way from first to fourth, it's that good.

It's not any one thing either, but the combination of its deep sound, silky power delivery and the smooth clutch take up and light, precise shifter that distribute the power. Can't imagine buying an S5 with an automatic. Actually, maybe that's the solution, make the V8 only available with the manual. It would buyers some incentive to use their right arms again, and they probably wouldn't complain a bit.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 8,339 miles

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2009 Audi S5: High Fashion

September 08, 2009

Audi A5 Fashion Shoot by Audi AG.jpg

It's been a long time since I've driven a car that gets as much notice as this one. People in line for valet parking. Girls in crosswalks. Kids at lemonade stands.

Audi has become the signature of high-fashion European style. When people see an Audi, they imagine themselves in some kind of wacky fashion photo shoot in Italy. And that's the reason Audi AG commissioned its own series of fashion photos with models Natalia Worner and Robert Seeliger, from which this picture is taken.

When you see an Audi, you think of exotic Europe. When you see a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz, you think of the country club parking lot in Indianapolis. And this is why Audi is winning the design contest and BMW and Mercedes are losing it.

Michael Jordan, Executive Ediutor @ 8,345 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Electronic Parking Brake is great, most of the time...

September 04, 2009

Audi S5 Brooklyn Bridge.jpg

I love electronic parking brakes (E-PKB) such as the one on our LT 2009 Audi S5.
E-PKB is on all Audis except the A3, TT, and R8.
Although they are more expensive, they're are also easy to use and they don't stretch out a cable like on mechanical PKBs.

The most important benefit is interior packaging. You can see in the photo how small the switch is and that there is plenty of room for 2 big cupholders and a handy slot for your phone or spare magazine.
And you don't have to package or deal with a silly foot parking brake.

However, there is a problem with our S5's E-PKB in its execution.

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2009 Audi S5: Shoulda Been a Hardtop Part 2

August 28, 2009


On Tuesday I posted that the Audi S5 shoulda been a hardtop. Some of you agreed and some of you did not.

I think Mercedes agrees.

On Wednesday I drove home in this blue 2010 Mercedes E550 Coupe, a newly redesigned direct competitor to the Audi S5 and one of the few true hardtops still on the market.

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2009 Audi S5: Shoulda Been a Hardtop

August 25, 2009

S5-hardtop-1.jpg s5-hardtop-2.jpg

What do you think? The top photo of our long-term 2009 Audi S5 is unmanipulated. It is a shot of the car as Audi sells it with a fixed B-pillar and rear side glass.

The bottom photo, however, shows through the magic of Photoshop how much cooler the S5 would be without a B-pillar and rear side glass that can be lowered. Just look at that thing with all four of its windows down and no pillar, the car goes from a 9 to a 10.

What do you think?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: I Call Backseat!

August 24, 2009


I swear, I had already planned to do a post about our 2009 Audi S5's backseat before I saw Riswick's painstakingly detailed post of the 750i. In any case, here's yet another post today about a long-termer's backseat.

Well, the Audi's rear seats should be noted for their spaciousness and especially all the places you can store stuff. Critical, at least to me, for long road trips. Most importantly, TWO cupholders per person; for the iced grande soy latte you're sipping on now that you put in the center armrest, and the bottled water you're saving for later that you seat in the low cupholder by the door (just remember it when you're bolting out of the car for a bathroom stop).

The fold-down center armrest opens to reveal a small compartment, which seems too shallow to store anything substantial but could probably contain your iPod, cell, wallet and whatnot. And there's a netted pouch located behind the front seats for placing reading material if you're not the type to get carsick reading while in a moving vehicle.

Suffice it to say, although I wouldn't want to sit in the back while the driver is carving some canyons, erp!, I wouldn't mind taking a 5-hour-plus road trip whilst lounging in the rear. Not only for the comfortable seats, spaciousness and storage, but because I know I wouldn't be in danger of ever having to be wedged in the middle.

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2009 Audi S5: Adjustable Suspension? Not Necessary

August 17, 2009


I've noted in previous posts that the Audi S5's optional adjustable suspension isn't worth it. Now I'm convinced.

See that insanely perfect road above? I took that route on my way up to Monterey this weekend. Went the whole way through with the suspension in "automatic" mode. Loved every minute of it, which is possible with pretty much any car on this road.

On the way back, I took the same route, only this time I used "comfort" mode for the highway stretches and "dynamic" mode for this particular section. Did the S5 feel great? Sure, but not any better than it did before. It still understeered at the limit and sent an occasional shock through the body on the highway, but it was fine.

So, in other words, give me a well-tuned standard suspension any day of the week and leave the adjustable stuff to the racecars.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @7,548 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Survives X Games

August 03, 2009


Parking in the overflow lot at the X Games seemed like a good idea until it was time to leave, and the Evo and WRX owners here went all Travis Pastrana on us (the owner of the rally-prepped Celica was above all that). Our long-term 2009 Audi S5 survived with a fine coating of orange dust; fortunately, Monday is bath day for the cars in our fleet.

Apart from getting dirty, the S5 coupe was a superb weekend car. Ride quality is perfectly judged for Southern California freeways -- something I've never before felt, or said, about an Audi. Everything is neatly damped and under control over just about every surface, yet the ride is remarkably compliant. I could drive for days in this car and not get tired of it.

And I do like this 349-horsepower version of the 4.2-liter V8. With it, the S5 gathers speed effortlessly when merging onto freeways. Though it has been mentioned that the exhaust note is too quiet to deliver satisfaction during heel-and-toe downshifts, if you listen hard, you can hear the deep note during passing maneuvers. Sometimes I would drop down an extra gear or two just to enjoy it.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,375 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Pulling Its Weight in the Showrooms

July 28, 2009


There's a reason most companies don't bother with midsize coupes: they rarely sell particularly well. Sure they look good, handle well and have that certain air of adventure, but when it comes to forking over the money, most buyers get all practical and buy a sedan instead.

Not so with the Audi A5/S5 coupes. Through June, Audi has sold 3,785 A5/S5s versus 3,099 A6/S6 sedans. Not a huge margin, but a rare circumstance in the industry.

It highlights the importance of design when it comes to desirability. The A6 sedan just received a refresh, yet it's still relatively unremarkable. The A5 and S5, on the other hand, are two of the most eye-catching coupes on the road.

Makes you wonder if some other upcoming coupes will do the same. The Cadillac CTS comes to mind.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, InsideLine @ 6,084 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Pretty Pictures Edition

July 24, 2009


Just a few shots from last night plus a couple of random musings...

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2009 Audi S5: The Cure For The Crappy Day

July 22, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I had a day that would have killed the average man. Anything and everything went wrong from the first blast of the alarm clock to the moment I hit the elevator button to leave the office at 8 pm.

All I wanted to do was get a bite to eat and hit the rack. Well, that was all I wanted to do until I saw our lipstick red long-term Audi S5 waiting for me down in the parking garage. For the first time that day I smiled. It was warm night and traffic was light. I headed off into the flaming streets of Santa Monica with the S5's windows down and its V8 at full song.

By third gear my bad day had washed away and I decided to take the long way home. Took a ride down by the beach, hit a local twisty road and stopped at a Del Taco for a Monster Cholesterol Burrito with extra heart disease.

Three hours later I was finally home and absolutely convinced that it's still worth having a fun car. Cars that make you smile remain a worthwhile part of life. A valuable commodity. Had I walked down to the Smart that night it would have been a very different story.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: Love the Shifter

July 17, 2009


In the past couple of weeks the clutch operation and throttle response of our long-term 2009 Audi S5 were called out as issues on this blog. Well, I disagree. It's true that the S5 isn't as easy to drive smoothly as some cars out there, but for me that adds to the fun. It tells me the car was tuned for people that want to concentrate on the driving.

I think Audi's attitude is that if you don't want to think about what you're doing behind the wheel don't buy the S5. It's our enthusiast model. Over here is our A5 automatic. It may be better suited for your needs.

Then there's the S5's shifter, which is just spectacular. Smooth operation. Mechanical feel. Nice hard stops. And a well shaped, high quality aluminum and leather shift knob that is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this beautiful car.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: The Invisible Jet

July 15, 2009


Never mind Pepper Potts in the Iron Man movie, this is who I feel like when I drive our 2009 Audi S5: Wonder Woman in her invisible jet! The Audi is so quiet, powerful, fast and floaty yet not detached. Its nearly quiet engine was kind of surprising to me since its competitor, the BMW M3, emits such a beautiful sound when pressed. With the S5, I'd be hitting 4,000 rpm and still not hear a peep from the engine. Of course, when I rev it to 6K there's some noise but not really.

In any case, even over bumps (i.e. that normally jarring imperfection on the on-ramp to 90 West from 405 North) the cabin is undisturbed. I'm flying!

BTW, re: Wonder Woman in her invisible jet, I always wondered why she just didn't turn "invisible," once she stepped inside. If it's a special plane you'd think they'd give it that power instead of making its pilot vulnerable like that. Kinda defeats the purpose of having an invisible anything.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,547 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Too Rich For My Blood

July 14, 2009


If I had a dime for every person who stopped in their tracks to admire the S5 this past weekend I might actually be able to afford one for myself. Not sure if that would cover the cost of replacing the window motors, but I digress. That is all.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 5,534 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Creaky Window

July 13, 2009


Do you see that? Of course not, it's a window. If you actually saw the window that would means it's dirty and we never let our precious test cars get dirty.

Well, windows are supposed to be quiet too, but the passenger side window on our S5 has developed a bit of a grumble. Nothing too bad, just a faint grinding whenever it's on the way down. If you turn your speakers up to 9 or so, you might be able to hear the offending noise in the fascinating video after the jump.

Even if you can't, I can assure you it's there and will be attended to shortly.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 5,509 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Sunroof or Moonroof?

July 10, 2009


What is the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof?

I always thought that a sunroof doesn't open, you can only open the shade to let in light. And a moonroof is one that pops up and slides open to let in air. Perhaps the terms are interchangeable nowadays.

So, what would you call this window in the 2009 Audi S5? Audi calls it a panoramic sunroof. Sounds so dramatic. But in reality it only pops up a couple of inches and does not slide open.

That's disappointing in a car of this caliber and price.

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2009 Audi S5: Who Needs Coffee?

July 10, 2009


Who needs caffeine when you drive an Audi S5 to work in the morning?

The sound. The feel. The bright red paint.

With a 354-horsepower V8 and six-speed manual transmission, the usual one-hour morning commute seems way too short. The cabin is nicely insulated from noise, but driving with the windows down is a must to hear that powerful engine note.

Here's a video walkaround of our red beauty:

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2009 Audi S5: Where Have All The Dipsticks Gone?

July 09, 2009

CotW_04 copy.jpg S5-oil.jpg

Stand back, Audi's about to feel the wrath of the International Dipstick Lovers Society.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Audi S5: Doesn't Like Heel and Toe Downshifts

July 09, 2009


As you can see, Audi has gotten over its fear of unintended acceleration, or whatever that farce was that almost torpedoed the company in the U.S. In this case, the brake pedal is placed nice and tight with the throttle for easy heel-toe downshifts. There's still one small problem though.

That throttle is a little on the lazy side. Even when you dial up the sensitivity with the Drive Select system, the gas pedal requires a fairly substantial stab to get the ol' tachomter swinging. It's not the end of the world, but it makes the S5 feel that much more like the big GT that it is rather than a true sport coupe. I'm guessing it will only bother about .05% of the S5-buying population, so I don't think Audi has much to worry about here.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 5,267 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Is Drive Select Worth it?

July 08, 2009


That's one of the questions you wanted answered, so here's my take.

Is the ability to dial in different suspension, steering and throttle settings nice to have? Sure, without a doubt.

Is it $3,000 nice? Nope.

As I said after my drive to Colorado in May, there's no real need to adjust the steering. Give me the quickest, more accurate setting 100% of the time and leave it alone. Same goes for the throttle. If it's dialed in correctly to begin with there should be no need to back it off or quicken it up.

I'm guessing most buyers will make the decision based on the adjustable dampers alone. You know, go soft in the city and highway and then crank it up for a twisty backroad. Sure, it's nice to have and all, and the various settings do make a noticeable difference.

But you know, I rarely find myself wishing for adjustable dampers in our M3 sedan. Yeah, it has them along with an adjustable throttle, but I don't even bother with that half the time either.

So save your $3000, or if you really want to spend it, buy the optional navigation and audio systems, you'll get way more for your money.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 5,244 miles

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2009 Audi S5: The Sounds of Silence

July 07, 2009


Audi knows a thing or two about sound deadening. At highway speeds the cockpit of our 2009 Audi S5 is nearly silent. Aside from the V8 purr pervading its cabin above 4,000 rpm the driver is audibly isolated from the outside world. This is luxury.

This is also an S5. So Audi luxury wasn't all we had in mind when we ordered it. We wanted performance and we opted for the control of its 6-speed manual. An excellent choice if we drove windows down, V8 in our ears and wind in our hair 24-7. But the reality is that we don't. And based on our reality, we should have considered the automatic.

S5's quiet cabin is a disadvantage when it comes to the third pedal. Engine noise is discreet at lower rpm. Turn the radio on and its nonexistent. This doesn't allow for the use of engine note to anticipate clutch engagement. An issue further complicated by light clutch pedal uptake and an abrupt engagement point. We encountered similar driveability characteristics from our long-term G35 Sport. But that doesn't make it right.

Get the automatic.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 5,500 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Open Thread

July 07, 2009


What do you want to know about the 2009 Audi S5? Can we answer any questions for you?

If you've driven one, write a review in the comments section. We look forward to reading your responses.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Audi S5: By a Landslide

July 06, 2009

800 S5 f34 tree.jpg

It's official: The 2009 Audi S5 is the best-looking car in our long-term test fleet. Or so says the die-hard porch dwellers at my corner coffee shop, Java Joe's.

And the "voting" wasn't even close. The 2009 Audi S5 won by a landslide.

Disagree? Here's photographic evidence...

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,259 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Emotional

July 05, 2009


I once heard an Audi representative say that its odd numbered models are emotional.

Oddly enough, so are automotive journalists.

We get excited over the hum of a V8 engine, and just the mere mention of pounds-feet of torque is enough to get us all jittery.

Add style to that mix in the form of Brilliant Red paint and you've got yourself a car of the week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Audi S5: 5 Kilomile Update

July 03, 2009

555 5k.jpg OK, I admit it. This is a terrible image. The 5,000 mile threshhold caught me off-guard without a real camera.

Luckily, the 5k mark came just as I steered our 2009 Audi S5 into a fuel station. Well, almost: I had to drive a half mile past and come back to nail 5,000 miles exactly at the pump.

All I had with me was my Blackberry, and cell phone cameras leave a lot to be desired, especially if they spend much time in a pocket.

For the record, it drank 14.225 gallons and the trip odometer read 199.6 miles. That works out to 14 mpg; not one of its better performances.

On the bright side, I bagged some nice suspension shots (with a real camera) earlier in the day. Look for the S5 suspension walkaround next week. Several interesting twists reside in these wheelwells.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehilce Testing @ 5,000 miles

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2009 Audi S5: There's A Monster In There

July 02, 2009

Just look at it. Probably one of the prettiest engines out there. No lame plastic covers over the entire engine, just a small plastic "frame" emblazoned with the Audi logo around in the intake manifold.


Just staring at it you can hear rock guitar riffs blasting at 11, a chorus of angles singing or the theme of Jaws playing in the background. Yes, I think it's that pretty.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Audi S5 Steering Vibration't

June 29, 2009

We recently got our Audi S5 back from Audi's tech center to address its steering vibration issue that comes and goes depending on velocity and road surface. On Friday, I took the car home, and noticed some vibration still in it, but it was more of a "feel" thing rather than a "visual" thing. Additionally, I noticed the car would follow seams and grooves in the road. Well, it was almost fixed.

The next morning, before a 200-mile drive, I checked the oil, filled the fuel tank and, hey, why not check the tire pressures? Guess what? The the rears were spot-on but the fronts had been set 5.0 psi under spec. I know they were set by the tech center because they replaced both front tires.

Watch the video to see what setting the tires to the proper pressure (39.0 psi) did for the steering vibration. Excuse poor sound and the "brian phart" when I call it the Audi S4 at the beginning.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 4,805 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Steering Vibration Follow-up

June 25, 2009


It's back. Our S5 returned from the Audi technical center yesterday. The purpose was to address the steering wheel vibration we noticed in our long-term S5 and A4 Avant. Here's what we learned.

Audi began by explaining that the vibration we experienced was not a sign of impending failure. And this was not a safety related issue. Rather, it was suggested that wheel balance and tire wear were to blame. At the very least, they were contributing factors to the vibration. So the technicians replaced both front tires and balanced all four wheels. We were told three wheels were out of balance upon arrival.

But that's not all. The fix isn't complete. Additional parts are currently on order with our local dealership to further address the situation. We'll update the status of our S5 and A4 once installation is completely complete.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,200 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Steering Saga Continues

June 16, 2009


There it is. Our 2009 Audi S5.

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2009 Audi S5: Track Tested!

June 11, 2009


(Photo by Scott Jacobs)

It took a while, but earlier this month we finally managed to break-in our Long Term S5 and take it out to our test track.

The 2009 Audi S5 has some 349-horsepower from a 4.2-liter V8, quattro all wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. More importantly, perhaps, it's rollin' on super-sticky Dunlop summer tires. More importantly, certainly, this thing is nearly 4,000 pounds.

So what'd it do? Follow the jump for quarter-mile, slalom, skidpad and braking tests.

Vehicle: 2009 Audi S5
Odometer: 3430
Date: 06/02/09
Driver: Chris Walton

Price: $61,915

Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual
Engine Type: V8
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 4,200cc (256 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 4,400 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 Comments: 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.

Skidpad: " 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 cleanses/closest to the cones. Steering is quick, precise, but lifeless.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 3,430 miles.

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2009 Audi S5: Speedway shuttle

June 01, 2009

2009 Audi S5 West LA.jpg

I, too, made the 35 mile trek last week to the Industry Speedway motorbike races. It took more than 1.5 hours one way in SoCal rush hour traffic, ample time to get acquainted with our long-term Audi S5.

The S5 has a superb, well-controlled ride, and decent handling with some understeer. The steering is typical Audi-light, but you do get used to it. Unlike Ed, I had more than enough power. But the clutch take-up in 1st gear is tough to get smooth in stop/go traffic: the S5 wants the just right amount of throttle or it will buck like a pony. It's not a problem in any other gear. Longish gearbox throws and a huge sunroof that doesn't open (just tilts) are my only other beefs.

And the looks? I think it's one of the best looking cars on the road.
Certainly better than one of these Speedway specials (no brakes at all!!).

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Eval Engineer @ 3340 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Our Favorite Caption

May 29, 2009


Thanks to ergsum once again for this week's favorite caption.

We also got a kick out of these:

Inside Line tested, Paul Bunyan approved! (e10rice)
Why does the Nav say I've reached my destination when I'm at the Brokeback Mountain Saloon? (vwthing1)
Parking reserved for Johann Deere (canadia)
Yee-haw! I mean Wunderbar! (subytrojan)
Der Flanell! Das Boot! (ergsum)
I like big boots and I cannot lie! (ergsum)
The S5 gets kicked to the curb. (funkymunky)
Audi S5: Kicking things up a notch. (greenpiece)
MMI needs a reBOOT (subaru123)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Not Enough Guts for My Tastes

May 27, 2009


After making the nearly 1,000 mile trek to Colorado, I was sure of two things: 1) the S5 is one of the best looking cars on the road today, 2) I probably wouldn't buy one for myself even if I could.

As far as the first one goes, it's purely subjective. Every time walked back to the car from a snack break, or stopped to take a picture, the S5 looked perfect, even with hundreds of miles of road grime caked to its nose. It has the right stance, perfect proportions and simplicity in its lines that are hard to argue with. And judging by the number of random thumbs up I saw, most are in agreement with me on this one.

So why wouldn't I buy it?

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2009 Audi S5: Enthusiasm Reborn

May 27, 2009


Will cars like this Audi S5 vanish due to a troubled economy? I hope not, it's the kind of car that makes life worth living.

So long as there are cars like the Audi S5, enthusiasts and automotive enthusiasm will thrive. I just spent a few nights with our new S5 - here's how it went:

After I meticulously adjust the 10 way power seats, I connect my iPod and hand pick a list of freshly downloaded tracks. I spin the 4.2 liter FSI V8 to life with the push of a simple looking button. At the same time the Bang and Olufsen stereo syncs up and Silversun Pickup's crunchy "Panic Switch" fills the cabin.

I cruise out of my neighborhood and onto the main street. Lakewood Blvd. is also state highway 19 but the speed limit is just 40 miles per hour. In second gear, I'm already technically breaking the law. After a long tunnel, there's an entrance to the 405 fwy. It snakes right then left, winds around and eventually dumps me out onto 5 lanes of open highway. As the horizon becomes uncluttered, I gradually add more speed and take the 3 to 4 shift. The opening chords of Van Halen's "Unchained" come pouring through the speakers and blend perfectly with the V8's exhaust note. I put the windows up and take 5th gear. After that, I drove to a place you can't get to by any road. A place where I endlessly lap the streets of Roseville, California in a fuel injected Fiat Spider with only about 100 hp and a handful of cassette tapes. Both then and now, the slight smile is unexpected and free. Thanks Audi.

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor

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2009 Audi S5: Breaking It In On the Way to Denver

May 25, 2009


There are several reasons why I decided to drive from L.A. to Colorado for a friend's wedding in our new Audi S5 long-termer. With only a few hundred miles on the clock, it needed a little more break-in before we could track test it. It was also May, so the weather would be pleasant the whole way through. And if you're ever seen the Glenwood Canyon section of I-70 in the spring you know it's worth the drive for the scenery alone. Oh, and I kind of forgot to book a plane ticket.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests