Test Drive Notes Library
- Fun to drive. At this price point (as tested, $68,550), you expect to get pretty much everything you want. And if you want a powerful, fun to drive, not-kidney-punishing, high-techy-inside sporty coupe, you get all that with the S5.
- Engine. This car is quick. The six cylinder 3.0 liter turbocharged engine belches out 354 hp—also known by it’s technical classification “Way More Than Enough.” You step on it, you go. Driven in manual mode, with paddle shifters on the wheel, the S5 will satisfy even the most adolescent mid life crisis. Handling is also excellent.
- Sound. We have no idea how they did it, but the sound of the exhaust note on the S5 may make you want to put off your personal transition to electric cars for at least a few more years.
- Comfort. Audi does its best to make the S5 reasonably comfortable. They’re aware that anyone shelling out close to 70 grand for a car is not going to be satisfied driving a buck board, no matter how fast it goes or how good it sounds or looks. And while the S5 is low to the ground, the ride is pretty reasonable. Not cushy, but reasonable.
- Useful hatchback. A two door coupe is not the most practical body style. As a nod to the frustration you’ll feel if you ever have to get your mother-in-law into the back seat, the S5 has a hatchback. That does nothing to help passenger access, but at least you can load your mother-in-law’s crap into the cargo area easily after using a lariat and plunger to get her into the back seat.
- All wheel drive makes this car a real option for areas of the country that deal with serious winter.
- Nice clear blind spot warning lights. Our Prestige model came with blind spot monitoring, and Audi has put nice, bright, easily visible yellow lights on the insides of the side view mirror. They catch your attention, as they should.
- Adaptive cruise control that handles highway traffic. It’s part of a well-worth-it $1,800 option package, but the adaptive cruise control will slow you down and speed you up in traffic, even coming to a complete stop when necessary. Like a Volvo we recently tested, it requires a tap of the gas pedal to restart after a stop. We’re not clear on the thinking behind that, but the system works and makes traffic jams a lot less unpleasant. We assume it also adds high speed emergency braking, since adaptive cruise control uses the same technology.
- It hands you the seatbelt. It’s one of those niceties you get when you spend $68K plus on a car. Normally, on a two door car, the doors are so long that the seatbelt has to be mounted far behind the front seat back. So you have to twist and reach back for it. Not so in the S5. A lurch-like bar extends forward and hands you the shoulder belt after you close the door. Historians will ask how we survived as a species without this until 2017.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Mileage. We got about 18 mpg overall. That’s no where near the 24 mpg rating the S5 was gifted by the EPA. Granted, we stomped on the thing for a week. But who wouldn’t?
- Low. More and more people are wanting to sit higher up. That makes the low slung S5 a bit old school. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to drop down into a car, and climb up out of it, take a pass on the S5.
- Media System. We only spent a week in the S5, but we never quite mastered the media system. It wanted us to load software on our phones. It flashed Apple Play at us briefly, and then hid it from us. It refused to play via bluetooth while the phone was charging. You might do better with a stronger commitment to mastering its quirks, but it wasn’t intuitive to us.
- Back seat is not that useful. If you have to carry adults, think about getting the S5 Sportback instead. It’s a four door hatchback version of this same car. It probably drives at least as well, and it seems much more practical and versatile, if slightly uglier.
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