2018 Audi S5

2018 Audi S5 Review

With an optimal blend of performance and luxury, the redesigned 2018 Audi S5 is a new class leader.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

After a decade, the Audi S5 has finally received a full redesign and the wait was well worth it. This new model builds on its predecessor's best traits, including sleek styling, a refined interior and spirited driving dynamics, and takes them to all-new levels.

In almost every metric, this latest coupe is a prime example of how to do it right. It's a blast to drive, yet it doesn't sacrifice luxury and comfort in the process. We're also impressed with the S5's latest batch of technology features. Compared to rival sport coupes such as the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class, the 2018 Audi S5 rises to the top.



what's new

The Audi S5 has been completely redesigned for 2018 with improvements across the board.


we recommend

The Premium Plus trim gets our recommendation since you can pick and choose options more selectively than you can otherwise on the fully loaded Prestige. We do suggest adding the S Sport package to get the adaptive suspension as well as the Navigation package for the larger screen and virtual instrument panel.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Audi S5 is a four-passenger luxury sport coupe that is a high-performance variant of the A5 coupe. It is available in either Premium Plus or Prestige trim levels. Both are powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (354 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque). All-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features for the Premium Plus trim include 18-inch wheels with summer performance tires, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors with heating, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power front seats (with heating and massage functions), driver-seat memory settings, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, auto-dimming mirrors and interior ambient lighting.

On the technology front, you also get Bluetooth, a 7-inch infotainment display, a rearview camera, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote control via a smartphone app, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, two USB ports and dual SD card slots. Additional safety features include low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Audi Connect Care emergency telematics.

The Prestige trim includes all of the above, along with a virtual instrument panel display, streaming internet radio apps, remote vehicle monitoring via a smartphone app, a bigger 8.3-inch infotainment display, a navigation system, a tracepad feature for infotainment input, a top-down parking camera system and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium surround-sound system. All of these items are available as options on the Premium Plus trim.

Other options include the S Sport package (red brake calipers, adaptive suspension dampers and sport rear differential); the Warm Weather package (ventilated front seats and extended premium leather upholstery); an adaptive steering system; and a heated steering wheel. The Prestige trim is eligible for the Driver Assistance package that adds traffic-adaptive cruise control, a traffic sign reader, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams.



Standard features for the Premium Plus trim include 18-inch wheels with summer performance tires, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors with heating, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power front seats (with heating and massage functions), driver-seat memory settings, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, auto-dimming mirrors and interior ambient lighting.

On the technology front, you also get Bluetooth, a 7-inch infotainment display, a rearview camera, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote control via a smartphone app, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, two USB ports and dual SD card slots. Additional safety features include low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Audi Connect Care emergency telematics.

The Prestige trim includes all of the above, along with a virtual instrument panel display, streaming internet radio apps, remote vehicle monitoring via a smartphone app, a bigger 8.3-inch infotainment display, a navigation system, a tracepad feature for infotainment input, a top-down parking camera system and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium surround-sound system. All of these items are available as options on the Premium Plus trim.

Other options include the S Sport package (red brake calipers, adaptive suspension dampers and sport rear differential); the Warm Weather package (ventilated front seats and extended premium leather upholstery); an adaptive steering system; and a heated steering wheel. The Prestige trim is eligible for the Driver Assistance package that adds traffic-adaptive cruise control, a traffic sign reader, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2018 Audi S5 Prestige Coupe (turbo 3.0L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking4.5 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling4.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.0 / 5.0
Climate control4.5 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use4.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Driving position5.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.5 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.0 / 5.0
Driver aids4.0 / 5.0
Voice control4.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The 2018 Audi S5 is at the top of the class when it comes to driver engagement and performance. It's a blast to drive on a twisty road yet well-mannered in everyday situations.

acceleration

edmunds rating
There's a brief hesitation when you hit the gas from a stop. But after that acceleration is incredibly smooth. Upshifts are almost imperceptible. It's deceptive how quickly this car gets up to speed, requiring the driver to show high levels of restraint.

braking

edmunds rating
The pedal is appropriately firm for a performance vehicle like this. After flogging it repeatedly on a challenging mountain pass, we never experienced any fade or softening of the pedal. Under normal conditions, the brakes are easy to modulate and bring the car to a smooth stop.

steering

edmunds rating
Steering effort feels right in each drive mode (lighter in Comfort, heavier in Dynamic), but there's little feedback to tell the driver when grip is at the limit. The optional adaptive steering feels awkward when accelerating and turning from a stop.

handling

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The S5 has impressive roadholding capabilities. It easily navigates through sharp turns at speeds that would overwhelm lesser vehicles. The all-wheel-drive system deftly supplies power to specific wheels to aid the car's handling balance around turns.

drivability

edmunds rating
The initial hesitation is a bit of a letdown, but it's nowhere close to being a deal breaker. The same holds true for the automatic engine stop-start function, but this is typical in most competitors. Otherwise, the S5 is a joy to drive in any condition.

comfort

edmunds rating
Performance usually comes at the expense of comfort, but the S5 makes no such concessions. The adaptive suspension has a distinct difference between modes to suit your particular mood.

seat comfort

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The standard sport seats are very comfortable over long distances and provide excellent lateral support when cornering. The side bolsters are thick but are power-adjustable if you want more space for your torso. Standard massage functions are the cherry on top.

ride comfort

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For a car with this kind of performance potential, the S5's ride quality is very smooth. Even in Dynamic mode, there's enough compliance to keep it from feeling harsh. Note, however, that we have not tested the S5 with the standard (nonadjustable) suspension.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
The summer tires emit a noticeable amount of road noise on coarse asphalt, but they are quiet on most other surfaces. Engine noise is louder than in most vehicles, but in this car it feels right and sounds pleasantly aggressive. Wind noise is pretty much absent.

climate control

edmunds rating
The tri-zone automatic climate control cools down the interior quickly after being parked out in the hot sun. The vent placement is good, providing even coverage. Once a temperature is set, there's little need to adjust later.

interior

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The S5's cabin is a wonderful expression of modern, understated luxury. The materials quality is high, and the smart layout of controls makes operation easy and distraction-free.

ease of use

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There are only buttons for essential controls. You operate everything else through the MMI infotainment system. The simple design and logical placement and grouping of buttons mean you'll rarely have to look down to use them. This is an example of how it's done right.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The long doors make front-seat access effortless, and the seat-belt presenter eliminates the need to reach back. Access to the rear seats is typical for the class, which means it requires an inelegant crouch and side shimmy to get past the roof and front seat.

driving position

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The driver's seat has numerous power adjustments and a wide range of movement. There's extendable thigh support, too. Drivers of just about any size and shape should be able to find their optimal position.

roominess

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As you'd expect from a performance coupe, the S5's cockpit has a sporty wraparound feel, but it never feels tight or confining. Backseat space is cramped for adults, but smaller passengers should be fine back there.

visibility

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The roof pillars are moderately thick, which is typical for any car today. But they don't obstruct your outward view much, and the optional top-down camera system takes away any guesswork in tight parking spaces. Mirrors offer good coverage, too.

quality

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Even among other great luxury sport coupes, the Audi S5 stands out. All materials are high-quality, and buttons have an identical and precise click. At the same time, interior components have a durable heft.

utility

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The S5 is about average for interior storage but gets better marks when it comes to trunk space and the convenience items associated with it. The trunk is bigger than the exterior size suggests, though it's not much bigger than average for the class.

small-item storage

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There's not an abundance of bins or pockets, and they are not particularly large. They offer just enough space for your personal items and not much more.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The trunk has a 11.6-cubic-foot capacity. That's not great, but it's roomy enough for most daily cargo-hauling tasks. A flat load floor, remote seatback releases, anchor points and retractable bag hangers garner it more points for convenience.

technology

edmunds rating
The Audi S5 has a lot of high-tech features and makes them easy to use. The virtual instrument panel is particularly good with configurable sections and clear graphics in any light. The MMI infotainment system's evolution keeps it among our favorites.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The optional Bang & Olufsen sound system delivers powerful audio with excellent clarity. The navigation is packed with features and is easy to operate, particularly with the tracepad and voice commands. The MMI system continues to get high marks.

smartphone integration

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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment on all S5 models. For audio control, Apple CarPlay is preferable to Audi's MMI, but it's awkward to control with the dial rather than a touchscreen.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The forward collision warning system is well tuned without being overly sensitive in traffic. The blind-spot monitoring is subtle enough to not be a distraction. Stability and traction control are also smartly tuned to give you just enough leeway to have fun but not enough to get you in trouble.

voice control

edmunds rating
Voice recognition is excellent whether through MMI or Apple CarPlay. Apple CarPlay is a bit easier to use with plain speech but does require an internet connection.

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.