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First drive: Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi S5 Coupe
Audi's new S5 has been improved in every way, but is it the most fun you can have in this class?

 



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Audi S5 Coupe

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Audi's new S5 Coupe is an impressive - if not hugely engaging - flagship that's more grand tourer than involving sports car, but that didn't hurt sales of the old one...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi S5 Coupe
Price: from 47,000
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, four-seat coupe
CO2 emissions: 166g/km (Band H, 205 per year)
Combined economy: 38.7mpg
Top speed: 155mph (electronically limited)
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Power: 354hp at 5,400- to 6,400rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 1,370- to 4,500rpm

What's this?

You have to ask? It's very obviously an Audi A5 and, currently at least, the range-topping S5. A few edgy lines aside it's all very familiar, which, given the success of the old car, isn't much of a surprise. It's a bit fussier looking though, the bonnet particularly so; how successful you think it is is entirely down to you, but it certainly looks a lot better in reality than it does in pictures. Being the S5 it gains over its lesser-engined brethren vents on the front wings with S5 badging, a unique front grille that's shinier and framed by bigger intakes in the re-profiled bumper. The rear signals its status with a modest spoiler and some sizeable exhaust pipes slung under the back. It's all pretty subtle really, which is Audi's way, meaning that the S5 is unlikely to stand out too much alongside 2.0 TDI S line trimmed relations in the office car park.

The interior follows Audi's usual route too, which is welcome given the firm's status as the benchmark, not just in its own class, but arguably those above too. For fit, finish and ease of use the A5's interior is exemplary. The instruments in our test car were represented by Audi's 'Virtual Cockpit', while the design of the rest of the dash is beautifully executed. Great seats, a bit more space than before and some S5-specific detailing like badges, sports seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel only add to the appeal (even if we prefer our wheels round here).

How does it drive?

Unlike its predecessor, the S5's engine is turbocharged rather than supercharged. It's as good as all-new, so significant are the revisions, and it's a great engine, with plenty of power and more torque more of the time, the peak of 500Nm twisting from 1,370rpm right round to 4,500rpm. All that, driving through Audi's quattro four-wheel drive, allows the S5 to reach 62mph in 4.7 seconds, before easily hitting a 155mph electronically limited top speed. It's fast then, but the engine's performance is hampered slightly by the eight-speed automatic, which needs to be in its fastest setting, chosen via the standard Drive Select system, to deliver the sort of speedy shifts we've come to expect in this class. It's a torque convertor unit that's sometimes a bit abrupt and clumsy, rather than a twin-clutch design, and it features a coasting function to try and eke a few miles extra out of the tank when you're not in such a hurry.

Drive Select offers plenty of individualisation, from the sound of the engine (never particularly rousing) to the weight of the steering. Resist the urge to fiddle with that steering, though, as the Dynamic setting does little but add heft with no corresponding increase in accuracy or any additional feedback. Comfort's fine, if unremarkable, the S5 steering neatly enough, but there's no feel to tell you what's going on at the front axle. The quattro drivetrain splits the drive 40/60 front/rear in usual conditions and it's predictably neutral at normal speeds, with a touch of push from the nose if you're a bit too ambitious with your entry speed. The optional (it should be standard) sport differential helps to keep things in check, but the S5's not a car that's likely to be driven with any exuberance. It's competent, composed and undeniably surefooted, at the expense of the sort of engagement that the rear-driven BMW 435i M Sport or even Mercedes-AMG's C 43 4Matic can muster when the roads get interesting. The S5 is better than its predecessor in that respect, but still trails the best as a car you'll actually drive for the sake of it.

The suspension's all new, and a marked improvement, the damping more adept at taking the edge off sharp bumps, even on tricky Portuguese surfaces that at times make even UK roads look smooth. The S5 is a capable and fast car, then, but it's not the Audi A5 at its best, despite its range-topping billing.

Verdict

It might not look massively different at first, but the new Audi S5 is faster, more economical, more agile, larger and better-equipped than before, making the coupe a better all-round offering. However, it's not the best A5 in the range; that arguably is the version powered by the 3.0 TDI diesel, which suits the more relaxed character of the A5 better. Adding an S in front of the 5 raises expectations and pitches it against some talented rivals, which the S5 can't quite match when it comes to appealing as a driver's car. In every other respect it's a lovely thing, though.

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 16 Jun 2016









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2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.

2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.2016 Audi S5 Coupe. Image by Audi.








 

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