The new A5 is based on the latest-generation A4, which means it shares Audi’s MLB Evo platform – a hybrid steel and aluminium structure that is light enough to allow a reduction in kerb weight despite the new model’s modestly increased proportions.

The regular coupé and the five-door Sportback inherit the A4’s line-up of petrol and diesel engines, ranging from 2.0-litre fours to a 215bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel.

I’m not sold on Audi’s airliner-style gearlever. It suits the Q7’s unhurried style, but a rapid coupé? Not so much

The S5’s 3.0-litre petrol V6, part of the EA838 range, develops 349bhp and 369lb ft, representing 20bhp and 44lb ft improvements over the old supercharged unit. Additionally, the new peak power output means the S5 finally eclipses the old 4.2-litre V8 – at least on paper.

There’s no return to the option of a manual gearbox, of course, so the V6 is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Thanks to a freewheeling function embedded in the Tiptronic ’box, along with an integrated exhaust manifold, continuously adjusting camshafts and the manufacturer’s patented valve lift system, Audi claims significantly better fuel economy for this new S5, along with CO2 emissions of 170g/km.

The S5’s is mounted longitudinally and drives all four wheels via the brand’s Torsen torque-sensing quattro four-wheel drive system, which biases the rear axle with a 40/60 drive split under normal conditions.

A mechanical locking sport differential is available for the rear axle as a cost option, as are an active-ratio ‘dynamic’ steering system and adaptive dampers.

The S5 also gets slightly wider tracks than lesser A5s and rides lower than even the sports-sprung versions. The model features the same all-round multi-link suspension layout as elsewhere in the line-up, albeit with a tailored set-up all of its own.

Unsurprisingly for such a smash hit, the coupé remains instantly recognisable despite a fairly comprehensive styling update. Basic elements of the design – the high shoulder line, swollen wheel arches and pronounced dome of a roof – remain firmly in place.

To the front, the single-frame grille is flatter and wider than before, and the S version adds a little muscle definition in the intakes and with the quad exhausts at the back. Even so, it is certainly at the subtler end of the European muscle car strata; a more striking set of sinews has doubtless been held over for the higher-powered and range-topping RS5 variant to come.


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