2012 Audi S5 Review


Pros & Cons

  • Sensuous styling
  • available V8 model
  • balanced ride and handling
  • premium interior
  • all-wheel-drive traction.
  • Artificial steering feel
  • MMI can be a challenge.
List Price Estimate
$13,682 - $21,324

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Edmunds' Expert Review

In either coupe or convertible guise, the 2012 Audi S5 represents an intoxicating blend of style, performance and luxury.

Vehicle overview

Add an "S" to any Audi model name and you generally increase the entertainment factor. The 2012 Audi S5 is a prime example. Based on the four-cylinder A5 coupe and convertible, the S5 benefits from either a supercharged V6 or burly V8 engine and more athletic handling. Yet the S5 is still balanced, with an easy-to-drive nature and styling that deftly combines sensuous curves, an aggressive stance and understated luxury.

Out on the road, the Audi S5 is a joy to drive. Whether it's slicing through twisting canyon roads or logging serious touring miles, it manages to deliver just the right mix of athleticism and luxury. Drivers may also choose between coupe or soft-top convertible models. Both body styles are similarly equipped, though the coupe receives the sonorous V8, while the cabriolet is powered by the V6. Many enthusiasts will likely find the coupe more to their liking, not just for the extra cylinders, but also because it's the only one offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

Inside, the S5 treats passengers to a high-quality cabin that is typical of the Audi brand. Materials quality is top-notch and the latest electronics are pleasing to casual users and early adopters alike. The sport seats are sure to gain favor as well, with plenty of lateral support and cosseting comfort for a variety of driving preferences. And while the soft-top convertible may seem outdated when compared to more modern folding hardtops, the lighter multilayer construction keeps the cabin quiet and folds away neatly without completely devouring trunk space.

With stunning good looks and stirring performance, it's easy to see why the Audi S5 is one of our favorites. But of course, it's not the only choice among luxury coupes, and its competitors are all worth consideration. BMW's 335i is a bit more focused on driver engagement and performance, while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class delivers a more luxurious slant. The 2012 Audi S5's qualities place it somewhere between the two, making it a very attractive choice indeed.

2012 Audi S5 models

The 2011 Audi S5 is available in coupe and soft-top convertible (Cabriolet) body styles. Both are offered in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.

Standard features on the Premium Plus include 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated 12-way power front seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, a split-folding rear seat, auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth, the dash-mounted Multi Media Interface (MMI), a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod interface.

In addition to this, the coupe features a tilt-only sunroof while the Cabriolet features a fully powered soft top and a wind deflector. The Navigation package adds a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, center-console-mounted MMI controls, a navigation system, voice controls, real-time traffic and HD radio.

The S5 Prestige adds adaptive headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a blind-spot warning system, the Navigation package and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system (optional on Premium Plus). The Prestige can be equipped with optional adaptive cruise control, a power rear sunshade (coupe) and the Audi Drive Select package, which includes a sport rear differential and driver-selectable settings for an adjustable suspension, throttle, transmission and steering.

Optional on both trims is a Titanium Sport package, which adds special dark-colored wheels and body elements and body-colored mirrors. The coupe can be equipped with a Sports Rear Differential package, which is basically the Audi Drive Select package without the suspension and steering adjustments. The convertible can be equipped with the Comfort package, which adds a neck-level heating system, ventilated front seats, adjustable front seat lumbar and upgraded leather upholstery.

2012 Highlights

Other than minor feature content adjustments, the 2012 Audi S5 is unchanged.

Performance & mpg

While both the convertible and coupe versions of the 2012 Audi S5 feature all-wheel drive as standard equipment, they are powered by different engines.

The Audi S5 coupe is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 that produces 354 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic with manual control is optional. In performance testing, a manual-equipped S5 coupe went from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined with the manual and 16/24/19 with the automatic.

The Audi S5 convertible is powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that makes 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the S5 Cabriolet went from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Estimated fuel economy is 17/26/20 mpg.


Standard safety features on the 2012 Audi S5 include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and front seat side airbags. The coupe has standard side curtain airbags and the convertible features pop-up roll bars. A blind-spot warning system is optional on the Prestige, as is an emergency braking system (paired with adaptive cruise control) that senses an impending impact and applies maximum brake power boost to reduce overall stopping distance. In Edmunds brake testing, both S5 body styles came to a stop from 60 mph in 110 feet -- solid performance for a luxury performance car of this type.


The 2012 Audi S5's sleek and aggressive looks are more than skin deep. It also has plenty of performance to match. There's little body roll in the curves and the all-wheel drive further enhances handling confidence. But the S5 does still feel rather heavy and should be thought of as an athletic grand tourer instead of a sports car.

The 19-inch wheels and thin tire sidewall transmit some jolts into the cabin, but we wouldn't go so far as to call the ride harsh. Road noise is detectable, but in no way objectionable; especially when compared to other sporty coupes. The S5's standard speed-sensitive power steering system, on the other hand, feels artificially light at parking lot speeds and too heavy on the highway. The optional variable-ratio steering system that comes with the Audi Drive Select package provides an even more contrived feel.

The coupe's 4.2-liter V8 is simply one of our favorite engines. Acceleration from this motor is authoritative, yet it never seems to be working hard, emitting an intoxicatingly mellow burble from idle to redline. The Cabriolet's supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is smooth and strong, and its automated dual-clutch manual works superbly. However, the V6 lacks character compared with the V8.


In addition to the S5's seductive curves and aggressive exterior styling, its cabin also receives high marks. Controls are centered around the driver and the interior makes use of top-notch materials and Audi's austere design ethic. Audi's MMI controls a multitude of systems and is easy to operate with a little practice. Without the optional navigation, however, the MMI knob is situated on the dash, which isn't nearly as easy to use as the console-mounted position that comes with the navigation system.

The sporty front seats are as supportive in the curves as they are comfortable on a long road trip. The low seat cushion and high beltline can make some smaller drivers feel a bit submerged, though. Rear comfort is about what you'd expect from other coupes in this segment, which is to say, a little short on head- and legroom. The rear seats fold down to allow for additional cargo space, though the coupe's 12.2-cubic-foot trunk should hold most everyday items. The cabriolet's trunk capacity is nearly identical with the top up, dropping to 10.2 cubes with it stowed.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Audi S5.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Audi S5 turns heads and excites the senses
Own a 2012 S5 after testing the 2.0 A5 in pretty much every configuration available at the dealership. I'm not sure why Edmunds thinks the steering is "contrived" or "artficial" because my experience is of an extremely tactile and responsive control system. My own gas mileage IS actually improving as I learn how to properly drive the car. Now at 1000 miles I am getting closer to 26 to 28 hwy and 15 to 19 city mpg now thanks to my judicious use of the responsive cruise control, and active mileage monitoring system, and I can adjust my driving style to suit. Well-mannered in traffic when it needs to be, and becomes an elegant beast when pushed with very little effort.
The latest version of the classic S5
Audi has improved on the older S5 model by adding the Rear Sports Differential where you can make the engine more aggressive, the steering tighter, and the rear wheels shift torque sidesways when cornering. Because of the dynamic mode, this S5 feels much faster, tighter, and much more fun to drive as it incorporates the technology of the new S4. It feels as fast and fun as the new S4 compared to the 2009 S5 I tested. In terms of gas mileage, I achieved 22 MPG on my initial break-in out-of-town trip (mostly highway), and 19 MPG in city driving. I feel that highway driving could easily get to 25-26MPG after break-in. Beauty, performance, & the V8 sound makes the s5 as class of its own.
Like being betrayed by my knockout girlfriend
3.0T Premium Plus quattro 2dr Convertible AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 7AM)
Guess it was too good to be true. Thought I had all bases covered. Did my research, had complete vehicle history, bought low mileage (30,000 miles) vehicle from Audi dealer. After driving the car for 5 months transmission warning light came on, dealer said module needed to be replaced and would be in excess of $7,000.00 and they would not guarantee complete transmission only the module I dumped the car. If you buy an Audi S5 get an extended warranty or YOU WILL BE SORRY. P.S. I am over 60 and this would be my retirement fun car, I have never owned a car with transmission problems.
Like it better than my prior BMW M6's
Jim W.,06/19/2018
3.0T Premium Plus quattro 2dr Convertible AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 7AM)
Love the all wheel drive.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Audi S5 features & specs
More about the 2012 Audi S5

Used 2012 Audi S5 Overview

The Used 2012 Audi S5 is offered in the following submodels: S5 Coupe, S5 Convertible. Available styles include Premium Plus quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A), 3.0T Premium Plus quattro 2dr Convertible AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 7AM), and Premium Plus quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M).

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.

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