Audio & Technology - 2009 Audi S5 Long Term Road Test

2009 Audi S5 Long Term Road Test

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2009 Audi S5: Non-iPod Interface

April 20, 2010

S5 Alternate Audio Jack

Who the hell uses something other than an iPod? I'm not really sure, actually, at least for MP3 files. However, I have a portable satellite radio.

Wait, doesn't the S5 have Sirius? Why yes it does, however, the MLB channels have not yet made the migration over there from XM. As such, I still need my Samsung Helix ... and a standard auxiliary audio jack to plug it in.

Thankfully, Audi provides a variety of different audio connections with its multi-media interface (though I'm not sure what the other ones in that little mesh pouch are for). The iPod wire popped out with a few tugs and the standard 3.5mm connector replaced it easily. As a bonus, Audi built in that little holder onto the glovebox door, which fit my Helix perfectly.

Of course, that iPod wire is far too short. How are you supposed to grab that from the driver seat (and sorry, that's a problem even if you're doing it while stopped)? It's not that big of a deal when listening to a baseball game, but even then, it requires that I leave the glovebox door open. If I were to drive the car more (or with a passenger) I'd have to buy an aux jack extension thingy from Radio Shack, but still, at least I get to listen to my baseball game.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 21,031 miles

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2009 Audi S5: Satellite Radio has Expired

March 26, 2010

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When I got into our long-term 2009 Audi S5 for my trip to CTIA Wireless in Vegas this week, I tried the satellite radio and was greeted with this screen: our subscription has expired.

Regular readers know that this means two things: 1. The test term of our vehicle is also about to expire; and 2. If you take a long drive, you have to bring along your iPod.

The thing is, I prefer satellite radio to the iPod. So much so that I don't even own an iPod.
I like how with satellite radio you can always get pleasantly surprised by a song that comes up on your trip, and the variety of stations and genres that are available.

With the iPod, even if you have a million songs on it, there are no surprises with the playlists because you loaded them all.

So I planned on bringing some good-ole fashioned CDs for my trip, but of course forgot them.
I had to listen to -- FM radio!

How about you? Anybody else out there who shuns the iPod?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 19,400 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: Why Won't You Tell Me What I Already Know?

March 05, 2010


For $60,000 I expect to get some redundancy out of a car. The fact that I know that track three is Jusiamere Farm off the album Howls From the Hills is besides the point - I want the car, this $60k German uber-coupe, to tell me that too. Hell, for that price, I want the album artwork ghosted behind the text as well.

Normally I wouldn't even notice the lack of album information but I played this same CD in our Challenger earlier this week and it gave me all the information, track names, album title and artist.

So I guess the Dodge is more advanced than the Audi...

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 21,610 miles

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2009 Audi S5: I Need a 25th Hour

November 12, 2009

car-of-the-week-717-3.jpg 2009_audi_s5_daytime.jpg

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: Are the Days of the CD Changer Numbered?

August 13, 2009


Couldn't help but notice the substantial dashboard real estate being occupied by our S5's CD changer. I hadn't really noticed it before because I've never actually used it.

That got me thinking about the fate of the in-dash CD player. Now that new cars have almost universally rid themselves of the cassette deck, how long before CD players are banished to some obscure options list?

I mean, who buys CDs anyway? And even if they do, who doesn't just immediately rip them to some form of music player?

With no big CD mechanism to worry about, hopefully automakers will take the opportunity to clean up their dashboards, but I'm not counting on it.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 6,746 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: Audi Music Interface

June 15, 2009

Thumbnail image for 800 S5 ipod ipod.jpg

It wasn't that long ago that VW and Audi iPod connections were the most frustrating interfaces on the planet. But our 2009 Audi S5 has the new Audi Music Interface (AMI), which improves things dramatically, especially if your MP3 player of choice is an actual iPod or iPhone.

There's a short cord in the glove compartment, into which you plug your iPod. At this point you can shut the lid and forget it, as all further music menu selections are done from either the MMI control wheel and nav screen, or the steering wheel thumbwheels and instrument panel information screen.

The system recognizes podcasts and audiobooks as their own "thing" and every menu level has a back button. The system never throws you all the way back to the top-level menu indiscriminately, as our Honda Fit does, and the MMI wheel is a much better way to scroll through 500 artists than a touch screen that can disply only 5 per page. As an iPod interface, this is now one of the best.

But what if you don't have an iPod?

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