A great all-round package, but looks too expensive next to the mega-talented BMW 335i

What is it?

The boss version of the new Audi A5 coupe, this side of next year’s RS5 at least, which is packing the same 4.2 litre direct injection petrol V8 that we’ve already seen in the S4. Audi claims the S5 will be far sportier, though, with the front axle moved forwards by a clever new suspension system, all-new steering and a rearward torque bias for the quattro four-wheel drive system. On paper at least, it’s the sportiest non-RS badged Audi yet.

What’s it like?

Mostly good. The slightly dull styling is no more exciting on the road than it was on the motorshow stand: the A5 looks suspiciously like a BMW 3-Series coupe with an A4 front end grafted on. But the interior is predictably classy, the V8 engine delivers strong urge and a great soundtrack and the Quattro drivetrain delivers impeccable traction on tight, twisty stuff.

The new steering is less convincing – it feels as over-light as the S4’s helm, and nothing like as good as that of the RS4.

Should I buy one?

The S5’s case takes a bit of a dive when it comes to money. Nice although it is, it’s going to have serious difficulty justifying itself next to the considerably cheaper BMW 335i Coupe, which is almost as fast, far more practical and still better to drive.

Buyers looking for value will therefore have to cast their eyes further down the A5 range; those looking for the best driving coupe of this size, on the other hand, need look no further than the alternative offered by Audi's old Munich rival.

Mike Duff

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