Audi S5 Review & Features

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2018 Audi S5
First Drive

2018 Audi S5 First Drive

The first-generation Audi S5 stuck around for a decade, which in car years made it an elder statesman. Thanks to its shapely styling, refined interior, sharp driving dynamics and some evolutionary updates over the years, the S5 remained competitive among luxury sport coupes. There were only so many updates that could be executed before a full redesign was needed and this nose-to-tail rethink has hit at precisely the right time.

The 2018 Audi S5 is all-new, but it retains a lot of what gave its predecessor such an unusually long lifespan. The sleek exterior design remains, though with a bit more visual gimmickry. The creases in the sheet metal are sharper, and a few more have been added to the hood. The face is more angular and stretched horizontally to fit in with the rest of the Audi lineup. We contend that some of the grace has been replaced by aggression, and for a car with a greater emphasis on performance, that's not such a bad thing.

2018 Audi S5

Plenty of Available Options
The 2018 Audi S5 slots in between the new 252-horsepower A5 that is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and the 450-hp RS5 and its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. With 354 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque coming from a single turbo 3.0-liter V6, this latest S5 gains 6 percent more horsepower and 13 percent more torque over the previous model. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, and all-wheel drive is also mandatory.

Prices start around $55,000 for the base Premium Plus trim with features such as 18-inch wheels with summer tires, a sunroof, adjustable drive modes, diamond-stitched leather and suede upholstery, heated front sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters and massage functions. On the technology side, the S5 Premium Plus gets Audi's MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, low-speed frontal collision warning and mitigation, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The Prestige trim will set you back another $4,400 and adds a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, a navigation system, an 8.3-inch display, a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system, and the Audi Connect system with Wi-Fi hotspot, vehicle monitoring and some remote feature control through an app. Other options include the S Sport package (adaptive suspension and sport rear differential) and the Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams and a traffic sign reader). Our test vehicle included all of these and more, pushing the price to almost $70,000.

2018 Audi S5

Performance You Can Use
If you're considering an S5, it's very likely you place greater emphasis on performance than most. For drivers like you, the 2018 Audi S5 will satisfy with its smooth and linear power delivery. There's a brief hesitation from a stop, but once underway the S5 gathers speed effortlessly with gearshifts that are almost seamless. In Comfort mode, the engine and exhaust emit a pleasantly sporty hum. Switch to Dynamic mode and the hum becomes louder while the throttle response sharpens, steering effort increases and, if equipped, the suspension stiffens.

Audi claims the S5 will reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and we're inclined to believe it. As we accelerated up highway on-ramps, we consistently had to ease off the throttle when we surpassed extra-legal speeds, not to mention the flow of traffic. You don't get the kind of punch in the gut that makes passengers claw for grab handles, though. The "hey, watch this" kind of theatrics are replaced by an "I got this, no problem" type of veteran confidence. It's impressive without being scary.

The same holds true for handling. You can rip through curves with ridiculous speeds and never doubt the S5's ability. With sticky summer tires, it takes considerable effort to make them squeal and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system constantly distributes power to the appropriate wheels without any indication that it's happening. What's more extraordinary is how approachable the S5 makes this kind of driving. Much of the credit goes to mechanical expertise, but without smart technology that calm assurance would surely be lost.

Left in automatic mode, the transmission drops down a few gears right where we would have it in manual mode. The downshifts are heard but rarely felt, and in Dynamic mode, you won't be rushed into a higher gear until you're making an appropriate amount of power. Manual remains our preferred mode when driving with verve, supplying an aggressive paddle-shift punch that will bring a smile to any spirited driver. Purists will still bemoan the lack of a true manual transmission, but if that's a deal breaker, it's their loss. The latest batch of automatics are simply brilliant, and the argument of "I just like a stick and clutch pedal" is getting weaker every year.

Comfortable Through Corners
Most drivers with a penchant for performance are willing to sacrifice some comfort, but with the 2018 S5, the compromises are minimal. Yes, the ride quality is a bit stiffer than the typical luxury coupe, but not to any objectionable level. Even in Dynamic mode, there's enough compliance to filter out any harshness, and in Comfort mode, a wider array of bumps are smoothed over. The summer tires create a noticeable amount of road noise on coarse asphalt, but on most other surfaces, you'd have to turn the radio off to hear it. Wind noise is largely absent, which makes for quiet and comfortable highway cruising.

The front sport seats have aggressive side bolsters to keep you firmly anchored in turns, but they're power-adjustable with plenty of range to accommodate larger occupants. Extendable thigh extensions and massage functions make them even more comfortable. Ventilated seats are available, but not with the adjustable side bolsters. In warmer weather, the seats never felt stifling, so we'd pass on that option.

Rear seat space is typical for coupes in this class, which means they're not that well suited to adults. There's enough room for a quick trip, but only smaller passengers will be comfortable back there for longer journeys. If rear passenger space is a necessity, the mechanically similar S4 sedan is a better choice.

2018 Audi S5

Refined and Well-Built Interior
Like the rest of the Audi lineup, the S5's interior is elegantly simple. Leather and suede are used liberally throughout the cabin, and other surfaces are sturdy and well-grained for a premium look and feel. Available contrasting stitching and carbon-fiber accents hint at the coupe's sporting intent without being blatant. Technology is also tastefully brought into the mix with a virtual instrument panel and infotainment screen mounted on a tabletlike panel atop the dash.

Only often-used buttons are present, and their logical placement won't distract the driver. Some switches serve multiple purposes, further enhancing the uncluttered appearance while also making them easier to use. For example, nudging the volume knob left or right will skip the audio track while the use of two raised toggle switches for navigation, phone, radio and media allow for operation without ever having to take your eyes off the road. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also help to keep the driver focused on the task at hand. Secondary functions are controlled through Audi's MMI interface, which is one of the easier units to operate.

The available virtual instrument panel may seem like a novelty at first, but the clear manner in which it delivers information more than justifies its existence. The screen can be configured in several modes focused on performance, navigation and trip information using a few knobs and buttons on the steering wheel. The display is easy to read at a glance and isn't prone to glare from off-angle sunlight, either. A head-up display projects relevant information onto the windshield for distraction-free driving.

In addition to all the refinement and technology, the S5 scores well when it comes to convenience. Up front, there are enough cupholders, bins and pockets to store your personal items. Cargo capacity isn't the biggest in the class, but at 11.6 cubic feet of unobstructed space, there's plenty of room for luggage. A flat floor, split-folding rear seats and wide opening easily handle larger items.

Top Coupe in the Class
The 2018 Audi S5 is the newest entry in the luxury sport coupe segment. It follows just a few months behind the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43, while the BMW 4 Series has been refreshed for the 2018 model year. Similarly equipped, all three German rivals will cost about the same. The S5 gets an edge for how reactive and engaging it is to drive without any appreciable sacrifices in comfort. The Mercedes C43 also gets high marks in these areas, but with a greater emphasis on traditional luxury. The BMW splits the difference in some ways, but it does feel a bit heavier behind the wheel and isn't as fresh as it was four years ago.

It's a close battle between the Audi and the Mercedes. So close that personal preference will likely play a bigger role in the decision than any other factor. Both are at the top of their class, but we'd choose the S5 by the narrowest of margins. If you're in the market, we suggest a very thorough test drive of both. Either way, you'll get stirring performance, a comfortable ride and a sly smile every time you fire one up.

Audi S5 Review

True to brand nomenclature, the Audi S5 is the performance version of the A5 coupe and convertible. That means bigger engines, more horses and a stiffer suspension. The S5's exterior is set apart from its more mild-mannered sibling by a chrome-trimmed grille, quad tailpipes and more muscular bumpers. The resulting package is refined yet athletic, with luxury appointments that ensure comfort matched with a powertrain that won't disappoint.

The S5 is still in its first generation, but there have been significant changes through the years for new and used car shoppers to consider. The most notable of these occurred under the hood, as the coupe originally had a big, snarling V8 that arguably makes the car a future classic. The supercharged V6 that's always been in the cabriolet and in today's coupe is a commendable engine that produces ample power and improved fuel economy, but lacks a certain degree of the V8's character (not to mention 21 horses). Either way, though, it doesn't take away from the S5's status as one of the most appealing luxury coupes.

Current Audi S5
The Audi S5 is available as a coupe and convertible (cabriolet). Both are similarly equipped and feature all-wheel drive. Power comes from a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 good for 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The coupe comes with a six-speed manual transmission, while the Cabriolet receives a seven-speed automated manual transmission that's optional on the coupe.

The Audi S5 is largely based on the four-door S4, but with curvaceous lines inspired by Audi's Nuvolari concept vehicle that made the auto show rounds in 2003. In part to maintain that voluptuous figure, the cabriolet features a sleek soft top rather than a heavier retractable-hardtop design.

Both coupe and convertibles are offered in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. Standard feature highlights of the Premium Plus include xenon headlights, the Audi Drive Select system (adjustable settings for the steering and transmission), leather and simulated suede upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker sound system. The Prestige additions include adaptive headlights, a blind-spot warning system, mobile WiFi, a navigation system and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. Options include adaptive cruise control, ventilated front seats and a neck-level heating system on the cabriolet.

Inside the cabin, the four-seat Audi S5 is appointed with sophisticated touches, such as finely stitched leather and genuine aluminum trim. The front sport seats offer plenty of space and support, although legroom could be better in the backseat. Audi's MMI (Multi Media Interface) controls the audio, climate and optional navigation systems, and is relatively easy to figure out. Although the S5 has the spirit of a sports car, it's still practical enough for everyday life. Both body styles offer about 12 cubic feet of trunk space, and their rear seats flip down to make even more room. When flipped up, though, the backseat is definitely on the cramped side for adults.

In our tests, we found the Audi S5 to be an excellent grand tourer. The supercharged V6 provides robust and thrilling performance. The steering feels crisp and the suspension, although non-adjustable, is about ideal as it is firm without being gut-busting. Brakes may seem a little touchy at first, but with acclimation they prove responsive and firm. Thanks to Quattro, the S5 provides excellent traction in all conditions, making it an ideal all-year choice for performance-minded buyers living where the weather occasionally turns foul. Power is normally distributed 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the rear, giving the S5 handling characteristics similar to those of a rear-wheel-drive car.

Used Audi S5 Models
The Audi S5 debuted for the 2008 model year as a coupe only, powered by a 4.2-liter 354-hp V8. It was a superb engine and used car shoppers should consider opting for an older model to get it. The S5 cabriolet arrived for 2010, but rather than the V8, it had the then-new 3.0-liter 333-hp supercharged V6. Transmission choices for the coupe included a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, whereas the cabriolet came solely with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual. That year also saw upgrades to the MMI electronics interface and optional navigation system.

For 2013 the V8 was dropped and the S5 received a slight styling update (with a more angular grille/headlights), a switch to electric-assisted steering, a revised MMI control interface and an available mobile WiFi feature. Apart from lacking Audi Drive Select and keyless entry and ignition as standard (they were optional though), these latter S5s are similar to today's version.

Those interested in a used cabriolet may be interested in the <a href="/audi/s4/review.html">S4 Cabriolet</a> it replaced.

Audi S5 Cars for Sale

2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
NEW 2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
Special Offer See special offer Rockville Audi(19mi)(9)
Dealer Notes

Check out this great value! It delivers plenty of power and excellent gas mileage! A turbocharger is also included as an economical means of increasing performance. Audi prioritized practicality, efficiency, and style by including: a leather steering wheel, blind spot sensor, and the power moon roof opens up the cabin to the natural environment. Audi made sure to keep road-handling and sportiness at the top of it's priority list. Smooth gearshifts are achieved thanks to the refined 6 cylinder engine, and for added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. Our sales reps are knowledgeable and professional. We'd be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please don't hesitate to give us a call.

2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
NEW 2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
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Dealer Notes

2018 Audi S5 Prestige 30/21 Highway/City MPG

2018 Audi S5 Premium Plus quattro
NEW 2018 Audi S5 Premium Plus quattro
Special Offer See special offer Audi Silver Spring(29mi)(12)
Dealer Notes

10 Speakers, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, ABS brakes, Air Conditioning, AM/FM radio: SiriusXM, Auto-dimming door mirrors, Auto-dimming Rear-View mirror, Automatic temperature control, Blind Spot Sensor, Brake assist, Bumpers: body-color, Compass, Delay-off headlights, Driver door bin, Driver vanity mirror, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Emergency communication system, Exterior Parking Camera Rear, Four wheel independent suspension, Front anti-roll bar, Front Bucket Seats, Front Center Armrest, Front dual zone A/C, Front fog lights, Front reading lights, Garage door transmitter: HomeLink, Heated door mirrors, Heated Front S Sport Seats, Heated front seats, Illuminated entry, Knee airbag, Leather Shift Knob, Leather steering wheel, Leather/Alcantara Seating Surfaces, Low tire pressure warning, Memory seat, Occupant sensing airbag, Outside temperature display, Overhead airbag, Overhead console, Panic alarm, Passenger door bin, Passenger vanity mirror, Power door mirrors, Power driver seat, Power moonroof, Power passenger seat, Power steering, Power windows, Radio data system, Radio: Audi Sound System, Rain sensing wipers, Rear air conditioning, Rear anti-roll bar, Rear reading lights, Rear seat center armrest, Rear window defroster, Remote keyless entry, Security system, Speed control, Speed-sensing steering, Speed-Sensitive Wipers, Split folding rear seat, Spoiler, Sport steering wheel, Steering wheel mounted audio controls, Tachometer, Telescoping steering wheel, Tilt steering wheel, Traction control, Trip computer, Turn signal indicator mirrors, Variably intermittent wipers, and Wheels: 18 x 8.5 5-Double-Spoke-Star Design. 2018 Audi S5 Premium Plus quattro 3.0L TFSI 8-Speed Automatic with Tiptronic Factory MSRP: $64,050 *Your additional costs are sales tax, tag and title fees for the state in which the vehicle will be registered, any dealer-installed options (if applicable) and a $299 dealer processing fee. Pricing and incentives may vary if vehicle is leased. Prices are subject to change, and prior sales are excluded from these offers. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with the dealer. Every Internet Price includes current applicable manufacturer rebates and incentives, but certain conditions apply to some of these offers. The offers and conditions on this vehicle are: $1,000 - Lease & APR Bonus A5

2018 Audi S5 Premium Plus quattro
NEW 2018 Audi S5 Premium Plus quattro
Special Offer See special offer Audi Owings Mills(47mi)(2)
Dealer Notes

Heated Leather Seats, NAV, Sunroof, All Wheel Drive, Rear Air, Back-Up Camera, Turbo, CARBON FIBER TRUNK LID SPOILER, NAVIGATION PACKAGE, CARBON ATLAS INLAYS, BANG & OLUFSEN SOUND SYSTEM W/3D SOUN... Quad Seats. CLICK NOW! OPTION PACKAGES: NAVIGATION PACKAGE Audi connect PRIME and PLUS online services (6 month trial subscription), Audi MMI Navigation Plus w/MMI Touch, 8.3 MMI center screen, 12.3 Display Audi Virtual Cockpit, S SPORT PACKAGE Front & Rear Red Brake Calipers, Sport Adaptive Damping Suspension, Sport Rear Differential, CARBON FIBER TRUNK LID SPOILER, BANG & OLUFSEN SOUND SYSTEM W/3D SOUND 19 speakers, 16-channel amplifier, 755 watts, 5.1 surround sound support, speed-sensitive volume control and anodized aluminum speaker grille finish w/dynamic line design, WHEELS: 19 X 8.5 5-SPOKE-CAVO DESIGN Contrasting gray/partially polished finish, Tires: P255/35R19 96Y XL Summer Performance, CARBON ATLAS INLAYS. WHY BUY FROM US: Prices include freight, and are plus state tax, title, tags, $299 dealer processing (not required by law), & dealer installed options, if any. AUDI Owings Mills Advantage Price includes Loyalty or Acquisition incentive. Not all clients will qualify, to verify that or any information Please contact Client Advisor for details or to schedule an appointment. We make every effort to confirm the accuracy of the information posted on our website, however some is supplied by third party vendors. We are not responsible for any typographical errors or omissions. Lease offers require 1st month, acquisition fee and down payment, if any on delivery. Manufacturer pictures may not represent actual car. Horsepower calculations based on trim engine configuration. Fuel economy calculations based on original manufacturer data for trim engine configuration. Please confirm the accuracy of the included equipment by calling us prior to purchase.

2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
NEW 2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
Special Offer See special offer Audi Hunt Valley(54mi)(11)
Dealer Notes


2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
NEW 2018 Audi S5 Prestige quattro
MSRPNot Listed
 Request price quote West Broad Audi(97mi)(0)
Dealer Notes

Silver 2018 Audi S5 3.0T Prestige quattro quattro 8-Speed Automatic with Tiptronic 3.0L TFSI 29/20 Highway/City MPG