What is it?
The S5 is a new Audi, so don’t expect it to look radically different. That’s understandable, too. Audi seems to have hit on a winning formula as to knowing what their customers like, so the new S5 gives them more of the same, with all the predictable changes that a new model should bring with it. Firstly, the styling. It might look like Audi’s designers simply added a few lines here and there, but it’s more striking in reality than pictures convey, though you’ll have to make your own mind up about that busier bonnet.
The S5 heads the all-new A5 range for now, accounting globally for one in four sales of Audi’s four-seat coupé. The back seats are more spacious thanks to a wheelbase stretch - the S5 sits on the MLB evo platform - the cabin feeling far lighter and more spacious as a result. Which brings us neatly to the interior, which for many customers is likely to be more important than what’s under the bonnet - a new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 TFSI with 349bhp and 369lb ft, in case you’re wondering.
Audi has thrown all its interior finery at the A5, the fit and finish being exemplary, the interior dominated by a large MMI operated screen containing standard sat-nav, Audi Drive Select and all the smartphone connectivity you could wish for. You sit on S5 specific leather sports seats and hold a flat-bottomed three-spoke ‘S’ steering wheel that has some too-small paddles for the eight-speed automatic transmission, and listen to a 180 Watt 10-speaker stereo system.
What's it like?
The stereo’s good, which is useful, as the new 3.0-litre TFSI V6 can be a little bit intrusive at ordinary speeds. Up the pace, and there’s a very Audi-like sound, its tone not dissimilar to a five-cylinder, the raise in tempo bringing plenty of pace. The engine’s about 80% new, the most significant switch being from a supercharger to a turbocharger, the promise being the twin-scroll, hot V located turbo with its short gas-flow access to the intake manifold makes for a more responsive engine.
Certainly it’s quick, with the additional 21bhp it brings allied to the useful 60kg drop in weight (some 14kg of that from the engine alone) allowing the S5 to reach 62mph in 4.7sec - 0.2sec less than the outgoing car. Top speed is an electronically limited 155mph. There’s a more immediate build up of torque, the higher 369lb.ft peak arriving at 1,370rpm before offering a flat line across almost its entire rev range. Changes to the combustion process help the S5 achieve all this yet return greater economy, too, the S5’s official combined consumption figure being 38.7mpg, while the CO2 emissions figure is 166g/km (on standard 18in wheels).
With Drive Select as standard, the S5 offers the usual choice of engine, transmission, suspension, steering and exhaust configurability, ranging from Comfort through Auto and to Dynamic. It’s worth setting up the Individual specification to allow various elements of the pre-set choices to be picked, particularly for the steering which in its Dynamic setting brings an artificial weighting and numbed response that builds off centre to the point of distraction.
Leave the steering in Comfort, and it’s more linear, more predictably weighted, and while not delivering anything that could be usefully described as feel it’s accurate enough. The cars on the launch all came fitted with the optional Sport Differential, which improves turn-in response and resists understeer, it feeling largely neutral unless you’re very ambitious with your entry speed.