Audi S5 stylish, refined
The 2016 Audi S5 is remarkably easy to drive; power from the supercharged V6 is awesome 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.
If one is considering a sport-luxury coupe or convertible, you are 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, the Audi also excels on long road trips and in everyday driving. All-wheel drive is standard, of course, so if one live in a snowbelt state, there is no need to garage your S5 for the winter. And if is 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 is not too unusual for this type of vehicle. For another, the 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. Users will need to add the expensive technology package or spring for the Prestige trim in order to rectify these flaws, and either way, one still stuck with Audi’s proprietary digital music interface instead of the USB connectivity that most rivals include.
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 and 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 rear-view 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 user opts 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 is 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.
Powertrains and performance
The 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.
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. The convertible did the same job in a competitive 5.3 seconds.
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.
The 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 rear-view 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.
Interior design and special features
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 is 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 driver planted during hard cornering.