2009 Audi S5 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Striking styling, world-class V8 engine, sharp handling, upscale interior, standard all-wheel drive.
  • Beefy curb weight and artificial steering feel hamper the car's sporting potential
  • not the best value in this segment.
List Price Estimate
$6,997 - $12,808

Used S5 for Sale
None for sale nearby. Instead:
See all for sale

Get More For Your Trade-In

Get More For Your Trade-In

Edmunds shoppers get on average $235 more for their trade-in.
Find out what your car is really worth in minutes.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

The alluring 2009 Audi S5 may seem a bit overpriced when compared to the cheaper and equally capable BMW 335xi coupe. But once you lay eyes on the S5's bodacious bodywork and hear the sweet sounds of its V8, you might decide it's worth every penny.

Vehicle overview

Whenever we hop into a drop-dead-gorgeous car, we can't help but think of that old automotive epithet: "All show, no go." We hope this won't be the case, but we know from experience that beauty is often only skin-deep in our image-conscious car culture. That's why a car like the 2009 Audi S5 is such a revelation. It's got curb appeal to burn, yet it's also one of the most engaging cars to drive in this segment.

Audi's S lineup aims for the middle ground between the high-strung RS models and more pedestrian machines like the V6-powered A5 coupe. As such, the S5 improves significantly upon the performance of its A5 sibling, while retaining that car's identity as a luxurious yet sporting coupe. The biggest upgrade can be found under the S5's curvaceous hood, where you'll find the latest version of Audi's familiar 4.2-liter V8. Generating 354 horsepower and some of the sweetest mechanical noises this side of a Porsche 911, this is one of the finest eight-cylinder engines on the market, and it clearly sets the S5 apart from its most natural rival, the turbocharged six-cylinder BMW 335xi.

With a 40-percent front/60-percent rear power split, the S5's rear-biased Quattro all-wheel-drive system is seemingly at odds with the car's nose-heavy 58-percent front/42-percent rear weight distribution. Happily, it all comes together admirably well on sinuous back roads, where the S5 displays good body control and impressively neutral handling characteristics. There's no getting around the S5's considerable mass, however -- at 3,807 pounds, the last S5 we tested wasn't exactly light on its feet. Moreover, the standard speed-sensitive power steering feels rather artificial, as does the optional variable-ratio system.

In other words, the 2009 Audi S5 isn't the sportiest coupe in this segment; that honor belongs to the inimitable 3 Series. However, it does have other virtues, such as a finely wrought interior and that killer V8. Also, the S5 arguably offers more eye-catching style than all of its competitors put together, and let's face it -- when you're dropping this much cash on a coupe, looks are important. Add it all up and the S5 makes for a pretty enticing proposition.

Other models to consider include the aforementioned BMW 335xi (or simply the rear-wheel-drive 335i, if you don't require AWD traction) as well as the V8-powered Mercedes-Benz CLK550. Yet the more affordable Bimmer can't match the S5's looks, and the rear-drive-only Benz is pricier and less sporty. A dark-horse contender is the Infiniti G37, which almost matches the S5's power output for many thousands less, but isn't nearly as refined. In short, we wouldn't blame anyone for being seduced by the S5's knockout combination of looks and performance.

2009 Audi S5 models

The 2009 Audi S5 high-performance luxury sport coupe is available in a single trim level. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, bi-xenon headlights, a panoramic tilt-up sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front sport seats with seat heaters, leather upholstery, auto-dimming mirrors and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.

Options include adaptive headlights, a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control, Alcantara-trimmed seats, alternative cabin accents (including wood, "Carbon Atlas" and stainless steel), Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, park assist (with a rearview camera), a navigation system and a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen premium audio system. The Audi Drive Select package, which adds variable-ratio steering and adjustable dampers, allows the driver to vary throttle, transmission, steering and suspension calibrations at the push of a button.

2009 Highlights

The 2009 Audi S5 adds an auxiliary audio jack to its standard features list, while newly available options include a blind-spot warning system, adaptive cruise control and the Audi Drive Select Package, which features variable-ratio steering and electronically adjustable dampers.

Performance & mpg

The S5 is propelled by a 4.2-liter direct-injected V8 that churns out 354 hp and 325 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional. In performance testing, we spurred a manual-transmission S5 from zero to 60 mph in a fleet 4.9 seconds, with the quarter-mile blurring past in 13.3 seconds.

EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined with the manual transmission, while the automatic is rated at an appreciably better 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.


Antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags all come standard. A blind-spot warning system is also available.


The 2009 Audi S5 is a sharp-handling coupe, with nicely controlled body roll and tenacious AWD traction. However, you'll certainly feel the S5's ample poundage when you're hustling it along a winding road. We also aren't fans of the S5's standard speed-sensitive power steering system -- it's artificially light at parking-lot speeds and artificially heavy on the highway. The optional variable-ratio steering system that comes with the Audi Drive Select package provides a similarly contrived feel, though at least it's adjustable according to driver preference.

The mandatory 4.2-liter V8, on the other hand, is a revelation -- acceleration is authoritative, yet it never seems to be working hard, emitting an intoxicatingly mellow burble from idle to redline. The manual transmission features long but reasonably precise throws; the automatic, on the other hand, can be rough at times, though shifts are remarkably quick in manual mode. The ride is quite firm with the standard 19-inch wheels.

Read our 2009 Audi S5 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test


The S5's richly appointed cabin is one of its strong points, boasting high-quality materials and good fit and finish. Audi's proprietary MMI (Multi Media Interface) routes many functions through a control knob mounted on either the center stack or the center console, depending on whether the optional navigation system is present. Many of our editors find MMI more user-friendly than BMW's much-maligned iDrive, but it's still likely to try your patience with its maze of menus and submenus.

The front seats offer satisfactory comfort and support, though the S5's low seating position and high cowl and beltline may make shorter drivers feel as though they are peering out of a bathtub. The rear seat's truncated head- and legroom make it suitable for small passengers only, though people stuck back there will be treated to their own set of climate controls mounted in the rear of the center console. The trunk offers an extraordinary 16.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and if that proves insufficient, the rear seat folds down to accommodate larger items.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Audi S5.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

S5 first 2k miles
I've always wanted a 993/996/997 BUT need a back seat that can accommodate a baby seat. The S5 has plenty of room for 3 adults and a large baby seat. It's very comfortable, has all wheel drive (go to YouTube and check out the S5 racing a down hill skier, the car goes up and down the slope!) and has similar stats to a 997 4. 0-60 4.9 S5 vs 4.8 997 4 and 1/4 13.2 S5 vs. 13/12.9 997 4. The 6 speed gear box is not quite as nice as the 997 but is still easy to shift. Anyway this is a great sport GT/luxury sports car. It sticks to the pavement, drives GREAT in the rain and is very comfortable. We'll see how it does over the next 90k miles, but I am very happy with the first 2k miles.
Bought my US Spec Auto S5 over here in Stuttgart Germany. The 1st 600 miles break in period was hard to do on the autobahn. I have slowly stepped it up since and will not really see what it can do until I have passed the 2500 mile mark. All and all so far it has been everything I have expected. A few things I have noted are that the IPOD option does not come with an IPOD adaptor! Seats are a 6 on long trips due to comfort and I have noticed that the tires seem a little narrow over 100 mph. If you need to do an emergency slow down, the back end seems to want to get away from you but the ESP kicks in and keeps it under control. Overall I still give it a 9.
I've owned my new S5 for two weeks now...test drove everything (many, many times) from the 335i, Cayenne GTS, M3, G37, 650i, others..and yes, this was the winner. First, let me mention it looks phenomenal in person, way better than in pictures and better than anything else under $100k. I've found the V8 is perfectly robust and yet sumptuous, and the acceleration is long and powerful in any gear. The interior made my former 3-series feel outdated instantly. This is a perfect touring GT where the M3 is a sports car, and that touch of gentleman is exactly what I was looking for.
My Thoughts
S5 is indeed a beautiful car. I just got it, but I must say it is not that great of a car. I own an M5 2007 so there is a big difference in performance. When driving you must step on the gas more due to the quattro system. When you release you will feel a slight deceleration which makes people think you are braking but you are not. The handling is not as nice due to the really light wheel. I do not get any feedback like when I drive rear wheel cars. You will notice it the most when you drive on twisty roads. I do understeer on turns since the line of entry is a little different with this car. Great car for everyday drive but for performance the 335i can boogie against this car.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 Audi S5 features & specs
More about the 2009 Audi S5

Used 2009 Audi S5 Overview

The Used 2009 Audi S5 is offered in the following submodels: S5 Coupe. Available styles include quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A), and quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Audi S5?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Audi S5s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Audi S5 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Audi S5.

Can't find a used 2009 Audi S5s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Audi S5 for sale - 5 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $19,252.

Find a used Audi for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $10,399.

Find a used certified pre-owned Audi S5 for sale - 5 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $17,222.

Find a used certified pre-owned Audi for sale - 9 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $20,299.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Audi S5?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Audi lease specials
Check out Audi S5 lease specials