Launched 10 years ago, the Audi A5 proved to be the sort of rampant success about which car makers daydream: easy to understand and with minimal investment requirement for maximum return.

When the A4-derived coupé was confirmed in 2006, Ingolstadt hadn’t built a two-door model since the 80-based Coupé of a decade earlier.

But with the saloon already a recognisable feature on our roads, the concept hardly needed explaining – nor did its potential as a status symbol.

That BMW launched the 4 Series a model generation later is testament to the overwhelming success the A5 has enjoyed with its middle-management customers.

Unsurprisingly, a quattro-only S-badged version was conceived from the outset. The original S5 was introduced with a detuned version of the R8’s 4.2-litre V8 and could even be bought with a manual gearbox.

That thirsty, high-revving engine was retired in the car’s first facelift in 2013 and replaced with the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 that had already featured in the convertible version.

Now, as part of the launch of the second-generation A5, the S5 receives a much more extensive revision. Like the cooking models, it has grown larger thanks to a new platform, has been completely modernised inside and is furnished with an all-new V6, which finally swaps the supercharger out for the efficiency gains of a turbocharger.

No drastic changes, then. There’s a fresh look, but its subtlety speaks to the prosperousness of this car’s predecessor.

But while it’s possible that little needed fixing in buyers’ eyes, our wish list is longer: the S5, while handsome, fast and well appointed, wasn’t a serious dynamic rival to the BMW 4 Series. There’s room for that to change. 

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Audi range

Driven this week

  • BMW 220d Convertible M Sport 2017 review
    First Drive
    26 July 2017
    The 2 Series range receives a light facelift, enhancing its exterior and interior look, improving infotainment and adding more standard kit
  • Renault Captur Dynamique S Nav dCI 110
    First Drive
    26 July 2017
    To keep pace with rivals in this increasingly competitive category, Renault's popular compact crossover has had a mild refresh both inside and out
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    New top-of-the-line Porsche hybrid, though fast and flexible, is simply too heavy to strike the same sweet sporting compromise as its siblings
  • Caterham Seven 420R Donington Edition
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    Limited-edition road-legal Caterham track car is a superbly enthralling drive, with enough creature comforts to be used on the road as well. Even more addictive than most of its rangemates
  • McLaren 570S Spider
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    McLaren has created its most attainable drop-top by removing the roof from the 570S coupé, but none of the car's talent has come away with it