Used 2016 Audi S5 Review
Edmunds expert review
Can you really get sophisticated styling and impressive performance all in one package? You can with the 2016 Audi S5. Whether you like the clean lines of the hardtop coupe or the open-top fun of the S5 convertible, this Audi delivers refinement and speed without compromise. It's one of our favorite luxury two-doors, and we think you'll like it, too. Read on to see why.
What's new for 2016
If you're considering a sport-luxury coupe or convertible, you're probably looking for invigorating performance, sexy styling and a refined, intimate cabin. The 2016 Audi S5 delivers in all of those areas. Based on the regular four-cylinder A5, the S5 turns up the heat with a supercharged V6 that provides blistering acceleration. It also boasts a tauter suspension, bigger brakes and subtle aesthetic upgrades inside and out that convey the car's sporting intent.
The 2016 Audi S5's eye-catching yet restrained styling is the perfect complement to its refined performance.
But the S5 isn't the kind of performance car that feels amped up all the time. With its supple ride, effective noise insulation and supportive seats, this Audi also excels on long road trips and in everyday driving. All-wheel drive is standard, of course, so if you live in a snowbelt state, there's no need to garage your S5 for the winter. And if you're wondering about fuel economy, the S5 returns up to 21 mpg in combined city/highway driving, which is impressive for a car with this kind of zip.
Drawbacks are few but notable. For one thing, the cramped backseat is better for personal items than people, though that's not too unusual for this type of vehicle. For another, the current S5 has been around for a while, and its technology offerings are showing their age. The base Premium Plus trim doesn't come standard with Bluetooth audio, for example, and it also gets a basic version of the MMI infotainment system with awkward dash-mounted controls. You'll need to add the expensive Technology package or spring for the Prestige trim in order to rectify these flaws, and either way, you're still stuck with Audi's proprietary digital music interface instead of the USB connectivity that most rivals include.
If the S5 isn't your thing, you could go with the BMW 435i coupe or hardtop convertible, for example, and enjoy fresher cabin technology and a roomier backseat, albeit with less straight-line speed. The luxurious 2016 Mercedes-Benz E400 coupe and convertible serve up an enthusiastic 329 hp and arguably more valet line prestige than the S5. Or you could save a bundle and savor the sweet sounds of the 2016 Ford Mustang GT's 435-hp V8. Nonetheless, the Edmunds "A" rated 2016 Audi S5 remains a top performer with a debonair character that will always be in style.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Audi S5 is offered in coupe and convertible (cabriolet) body styles. The latter features a power-operated soft top and a wind blocker. Both are available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Available as a coupe or convertible, the Audi S5 is just as easy to live with everyday as it is thrilling to pilot around turns.
Standard Premium Plus features include 18-inch wheels with summer tires, xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, an S5-specific body kit, auto-dimming mirrors with exterior heating, keyless entry and ignition, selectable driving settings (known as Audi Drive Select), shift paddles for the automatic transmission, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front sport seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory functions, a color driver information center, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a dash-mounted MMI electronics controller, a 6.5-inch display, a CD player, Audi's proprietary digital music interface (with an iPod cable), a SD card slot and satellite radio.
In addition, the coupe gets a tilt-only sunroof, leather and simulated suede upholstery and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, while the convertible gets premium leather upholstery and 50/50-split folding rear seatbacks.
The Prestige trim adds adaptive headlights and the Technology package, which includes Bluetooth streaming audio, Audi Connect with online services and mobile WiFi, a navigation system, voice controls, an upgraded MMI system with a larger display and console-mounted controls, a CD player, HD radio, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitor. The Technology package can also be added to the Premium Plus trim as an option.
Going with the Prestige also lets you opt for the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive steering and adaptive cruise control with a forward collision mitigation system. Prestige coupes are additionally eligible for a Luxury package, which adds comfort front seats with less aggressive bolstering and upgraded leather upholstery with extended coverage.
All coupes can be equipped with a Black Optic package that includes special 19-inch wheels, high-gloss black exterior trim, body-color exterior mirrors and the upgraded leather upholstery that's in the convertible. New for 2016 is a coupe-only Black Optic Plus package that adds 20-inch wheels and gloss-black exterior mirrors.
All convertibles, meanwhile, are eligible for a Comfort package that features ventilated comfort front seats with perforated leather upholstery and a neck-level heating system.
Stand-alone options across the lineup include 19-inch wheels, a torque-vectoring sport differential and adaptive suspension dampers.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Audi S5 is motivated by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 333 hp and 325 pound-feet of torque. The coupe comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is optional on the coupe and standard on the Cabriolet. Every S5 features all-wheel drive, which can be enhanced with an optional sport differential that actively distributes torque between the rear wheels for optimal cornering precision.
In Edmunds performance testing, an S5 coupe equipped with the automated manual transmission (and pre-programmed launch mode) accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, a quick time compared to the rivals mentioned above. The convertible did the same job in a competitive 5.3 seconds.
EPA-estimated fuel economy starts at 20 mpg combined (17 city/26 highway) for the coupe with the manual transmission, rising to 21 mpg combined (18 city/28 highway) with the automated manual. The convertible also achieves 21 mpg combined (18 city/26 highway). A coupe with the automated manual registered a surprising 23 mpg on the diverse 120-mile Edmunds evaluation loop.
The 2016 Audi S5 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side and knee airbags and (in the coupe) full-length side curtain airbags. A blind-spot monitoring system, a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors are included in the Technology package, which is standard on the Prestige trim and optional on Premium Plus. In addition, the Prestige trim can be optionally equipped with an adaptive cruise control system (via the Driver Assistance package) that includes an audible warning if a frontal impact is imminent and automatic brake application if necessary.
In Edmunds brake testing, the S5 coupe and convertible came to a stop from 60 mph within a foot of one another at 108 and 109 feet, respectively. Both are solid but not chart-topping performances among comparable cars with summer tires.
The 2016 Audi S5 is remarkably easy to live with, yet it's ready to thrill whenever you get the urge. Power from the supercharged V6 is plentiful, and unlike many V6 engines, this one is virtually vibration-free, even at redline. The standard steering system manages to be both calm on the highway and responsive in turns. We also like the sport differential's understeer-quelling magic during at-the-limit driving, though you won't get much use out of this feature unless you're comfortable taking corners with all four tires squealing.
Drivers who choose the coupe's stick shift will be rewarded with precise, positive action through the gates. That's no knock on the S tronic automated manual transmission, however, which supplies silky-smooth shifts in normal driving, yet reacts quickly to the manual commands of the paddle shifters, executing rev-matched downshifts with clinical precision.
Even with the Audi S5's sporting personality, ride quality remains quite pleasant overall. The optional adaptive suspension gives the driver some choice in the matter, but we feel the standard calibration strikes an agreeable balance between comfort and control. Whether you're on a twisty mountain pass or in the midst of a cross-country trek, this handsome two-door is a most rewarding traveling companion.
The S5's highly appealing interior boasts a tastefully understated design and high-quality materials. There are some functional shortcomings, however. The dash-mounted MMI controller that's standard on the Premium Plus trim, for example, isn't nearly as easy to operate as the console-mounted controller you get with the upgraded system in the Technology package. That system also features simplified menus, a slightly larger screen and Bluetooth streaming audio. USB connectivity, however, is unavailable.
The S5's sophisticated cabin boasts high-quality materials and supportive seats.
The S5's standard front sport seats are quite comfortable on long road trips, while also providing plenty of lateral support to keep you planted during hard cornering. Some may be disappointed to learn that the convertible's optional neck-warming vents come with less sporty seats, but unless you plan to toss your luxury convertible into sharp corners on a regular basis, you likely won't notice much of a difference. In either the coupe or convertible, the rear seats offer scant room for adult passengers, so they're best for smaller riders or cargo.
The Audi S5 convertible requires few practical compromises compared to the coupe. The tight-fitting, multilayer top takes about 17 seconds to lower and 15 to raise, and it's so well-insulated that you may forget you're driving a convertible. With the top stowed, the convertible's trunk can still accommodate 10.2 cubic feet of cargo, which is only 2 cubes less than that of the coupe. Like the coupe, the convertible features folding rear seatbacks for added cargo-carrying versatility.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.