The 2015 Audi S5 exemplifies the appeal of sport-luxury coupes and convertibles. It offers blistering performance, of course -- but in this segment, that's just the beginning. When you're simply commuting on surface streets or eating up miles on the highway, the S5 is at your beck and call with a supple, quiet ride and an interior that's exceptionally refined and accommodating. Then there's the styling, which continues to rank among the sexiest in this class. The S5 is a car that does it all, and that's why discerning shoppers are willing to meet its substantial price.
Splitting the difference between the merely excellent A5 and the extraordinary RS 5 (both reviewed separately), the 'tweener S5 may be the sweet spot in this trio. Its supercharged V6 serves up a tantalizing 333 horsepower, eclipsing the A5's four-cylinder engine by more than 100 horses while keeping a respectful distance from the RS 5's 450-hp V8. If you're the type who prefers three pedals, the S5 coupe also offers a six-speed manual transmission that's unavailable on the RS 5. And if you're thinking about fuel economy, the S5 gets up to 28 mpg highway, trouncing the RS 5 by a whopping 10 mpg and even approaching the A5's 32 mpg peak.
If there's a strike against the S5, it's the simple fact that there many compelling ways to spend this kind of money. You could go with the 2015 BMW 435i coupe or hardtop convertible, for example, each packing 300 overachieving ponies of its own. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C350 coupe offers comparable power to the BMW, and these German alternatives are also available with all-wheel drive. If you don't mind spending a bit more, the stately 2015 Mercedes-Benz E550 coupe and cabriolet serve up a buttery twin-turbo V8. On the home front, the value-packed 2015 Ford Mustang GT intrigues with its classed-up interior and authoritative V8 power, and if you don't need the backseat, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette beckons with world-beating performance and newfound sophistication for S5 money.
But maybe none of these alternatives catches your attention like the four rings adorning the 2015 Audi S5's grille. An unusually civilized blend of style, swiftness and comfort continues to set this Audi apart -- which is why it earned an Edmunds "A" rating from our testing team.