A grand touring coupe or convertible should engage the senses and inspire the imagination. It's the sonorous rumble of its exhaust, the sensuous curves of its styling and the cosseting confines of its interior that make you perpetually wonder, "Where shall I go next?" Being just a car is not enough; a proper GT should be an experience whether you're schlepping to work or trekking to Vancouver on a whim. The 2011 Audi S5 is without question one of these cars, capturing the essence of more expensive and exotic GTs in a more affordable, yet still incredibly sexy package.
Like many GTs, the 2011 Audi S5 is available as a coupe or a convertible, the latter of which is known as the Cabriolet. Though both are similarly equipped and come with all-wheel drive, each has a significantly different character due to unique engine and transmission choices. The coupe gets a more traditional configuration, with a melodic 354-horsepower V8 feeding its power through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Cabriolet gets a more modern design, with a 333-hp supercharged V6 that matches the V8's acceleration potential but betters its gas mileage thanks in part to a high-tech seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.
Regardless of body style, you can expect the same high-quality cabin with top-notch materials, the latest electronics and sport seats that'll treat your backside superbly on that jaunt up to Canada. The Cabriolet might not have a retractable hardtop like several of its competitors, but its multilayered soft top quells outside road noise even as it minimizes any convertible's inevitable weight increase.
The styling part of the GT equation goes without saying, as the S5 is quite simply one of the best-looking cars on the road. Of course, there are other luxury coupes to consider. The 2011 BMW M3 is more of a driver's cars rather than a GT, and it's better suited for an aggressive assault on a back road. At the opposite end of the equation, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a little more sedate than its Audi rival. All this makes the 2011 Audi S5 a happy medium for those looking for a grand touring car that'll engage and inspire.