By on December 26, 2007

s5070026_large1.jpgI really want a Mercedes Black Series AMG. It’s a practical, sharp looking car, and nothing clears my head like Saturn V quality thrust. But my spouse’s desire to share her dotage with yours truly conspires against it. So, after driving a BMW 6-Series and finding it a bit… sclerotic, I wandered over to my local Audi dealer in search of something slinkier and kinkier. And there she was: a brand new S5 coupe on the showroom floor, shooting me come hither glances. So thither I went. Ah, but did I tarry long enough to take possession of Ingolstadt’s two-door Q-ship?

Walter de’Silva claims the S5 is his meisterwerk. As Walt penned the Gorgonesque Q7, I reckon he’s damning himself with self-praise. Like the TT and Bimmer’s Bangle bungles, the S5 suffers from a surfeit of surfaces: artfully indented panels, swoopy swage lines, blistered wheels arches, chrome window surrounds, a Billy the Big Mouth bass grill, angry eyes headlights (complete with LED mascara) and more. The S5’s basic shape and stance are purposeful, but the “auto emoción” here is nothing more than a hissy fit.

s5070014_large.jpgThe S5’s interior also blends the sacred and the profane. The materials, gauges and switchgear are boilerplate Audi– which is no bad thing. But the S5’s aluminum dash accents are garish and jarringly asymmetrical. A CD player in the center stack consigns the HVAC controls to the bottom of the pile– a brand-defiling ergonomic affront that continues with the MMI (Multi Media Interface). Pistonheads of a certain age will find the MMI’s eight major buttons, three [bottom] menu buttons, four inner buttons and obligatory rotary knob about as intuitive as Bayesian Reasoning. And less fun.

The S5’s seats are a major disappointment; while laterally coddling, the thrones lack sufficient upper back support. The S5’s meaty steering wheel offers some compensatory haptic satisfaction and a wide range of (cough) manual adjustment. As in the 6-Series, Audi’s big coupe is capped by an oversized sunroof that tilts but doesn’t slide; the automotive equivalent of getting stuck on first base. And you can have any transmission you like as long as it’s a six-speed manual.

So, we’re hunting Bimmers are we?

s5070017_large.jpgThumb the 354-horse powerplant into life and the S5’s woofling 4.2-liter V8 tells well-heeled helmsmen that all’s right with the world (if not the global temperature). The S5’s engine note is as lusty as a Tudor era pub wench; it’s a suitable soundtrack for a torque curve that’s fat enough to provide prodigious pulling power deep into triple digits, and phat enough to rocket the a 3600lbs. sedan from naught to 60mph in 4.9 seconds. If only the S5’s gearbox didn’t feel like a notchy cable shifter from some ancient GM product.

Once the cog swapper’s vital fluids warm-up, the S5’s gearbox regains class appropriate silkiness. By then enthusiastic drivers will wonder why Audi eschewed an autobox in a car whose steering is lighter than an Olsen twin’s lunch order.

s5070028_large1.jpgIgnore the S5’s helium helm, throw the uber-A5 into a corner and the coupe’s re-jigged weight distribution, multi-link front suspension and rear-biased Quattro system forestalls, quells and/or corrects Ye Olde nose-first understeer. Mind you, with the Quattro system’s asymmetric dynamic torque split principal patrolling the school for scandal, and Audi’s ESP handling Nanny sending tail-out aspirants to bed without their supper, power slides aintgonnahappendotcom.

In short, the S5 is a supremely capable all-weather point and shoot luxobarge– that’s as suitable for hunting M cars as a .22 caliber rifle is for shooting a grizzly. So why does the S5 sacrifice ride quality on the altar of corner-carving confidence, especially when Audi’s sublime adjustable magnetic ride suspension lingers in the corporate bull pen (so to speak)? Probably for the same reason that Ingolstadt’s boffins forgot to equip the car with a DSG, the world’s best paddle shift dual clutch gearbox, available on a lowly (and I mean that in a nice way) TT.

s5070027_large1.jpgThe Audi dealer wanted $58,490 for the S5 on display, including an optional Bang & Olufsen 505-watt sound system (which was a deal for an extra $800). I don’t suppose S5 owners would kvetch at the cost of catering to the S5’s 14/21mpg thirst, but it’s worth noting that around town driving requires a refill every 200 miles or so.

Also noteworthy: the Audi S5’s performance barely matches the lower priced BMW 335i (also available with four wheel drive) and poses no threat whatsoever to the upcoming V8-powered BMW M3. Even on its own terms, the S5’s lack of an automatic or dual clutch transmission limits the model’s appeal. Perhaps if the S5 packed the RS4’s 420hp motor, it would make more sense. The Audi faithful can only hope this version is on the way. Meanwhile, the Audi S5 is a vehicle I might settle for, but not one I truly desire.

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73 Comments on “2008 Audi S5 Review...”


  • avatar
    LtSolo

    Having owned a big Audi Coupe GT way back when, I can say that this car lives up to that old design in every way. Its comfortable, slower than its BMW bretheren, and a bit…. confused.

    I like the way it looks, especially in the black. The V8 remains one of the best on the market, and I could care less if they ever offer a DSG. I will never again buy any type of automatic… period! I need three pedals, and a stick that moves in all directions on an X-Y grid.

    Hate the whore-house red interior. It reminds me of Christmas…. the bad, over commercialized, wait in line for 3 hours to see Santa type Christmas. The curves are bit off from some angles, the interior looks awesome compared to most, but not Audi’s best effort (which still says its better than BMW’s best). I will have to drive one to render comments on the performance.

    However, after reading this review, the new S5 remains every bit the successor to the late Audi CGT from the 1980’s. It was larger and slower than the equivalent BMW. It was also more comfortable, designed for the highway rather than tight twisties (look at the body lean on one and you will understand completely). The CGT was still very much fun to drive, reasonably quick for the time, a techno tour-de-force, and good looking in an odd sort of way.

    Lets just hope that Audi comes up with a direct successor to the original Audi Quattro (based on the old CGT).

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I never like Audi because of that Logo that look like an Olympic flag.

    But this car is a tater and a cycle. Just like around the horn but bronx cheer at the end.

  • avatar
    NN

    not bad looking; but Mr. de’Silva’s best work, in my opinion, is the Alfa 159 sedan. Now that is a beautiful car.

  • avatar

    Thanks for this, Jay. This review reminds me of when I drove a 2003 (2004?) Audi RS6 and a 2003 BMW M5. No comparison, the Bimmer still provides the best driving experience by a country mile.

    Too bad they stopped making that particular M5.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    BEAT : “But this car is a tater and a cycle. Just like around the horn but bronx cheer at the end.”

    Did you get a MadLibs book for christmas? What the devil does that mean?

    Best part of the review: “I can think of better ways to spend $60K.” That’s my problem with Audi and VW in general. They make a nice product, but it’s not *that* nice, it costs a lot, and you can get better products. They make comfy seats, but that’s about it. My GTI is likely my last VAG product.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    On one hand, saying the performance doesn’t match up to the 335i isn’t quite fair – there are quite a lot of cars above the 335i’s price point which don’t match up to it. On the other hand, “not quite 335i” performance in a coupe is exactly where the Infiniti G37 is. I was floored when I saw one for the first time. The Japanese have finally figured out how to build a car with real panache and presence! The S5, on the other hand, barely elicited a head turn. So what, outside of the seats, makes this Audi worth $20k more than the Infiniti?

  • avatar
    carguy

    If only Audi could make up their minds who they wanted wanted to be when they grow up – Mercedes, BMW, Lexus or Alfa Romeo – then their products might end up a lot more focused. This identity crisis seems to have spread to their entire lineup with only the RS4 (and maybe the A8) having any clear and identifiable place in the automotive landscape.

    The rest are not sporty enough to be a BMW competitor, not luxurious enough to be a threat to Mercedes, not reliable enough to compete with Lexus and sufficiently bereft of any sex appeal as not to give Alfa Romeo any cause for concern.

    Thank you VW for killing yet another once great brand.

  • avatar
    turkeey

    I’ll admit I was intrigued when I first saw the S5 – the the LEDs around the headlights are very interesting to look at. HOWEVER… there is a nice video on Youtube from Fifth Gear of the 335i beating the S5 around a track. With 50 fewer HP, and a lower price, I can no longer find an excuse to not buy the 335.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Sorry it was Baseball Lingo.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    # BEAT :
    December 26th, 2007 at 11:36 am
    “Sorry it was Baseball Lingo.”

    I see…baseball’s not a sport on my radar screen. Care to translate for me?

  • avatar
    brownie

    carguy: Ouch, harsh. I’m not sure those 3 brands are worth aspiring to. There aren’t many baggage-free auto badges on the market today, and I personally like being able to drive a nice car that doesn’t flag me as a certain a-hole in the eyes of the motoring public. I don’t think I’m the only one.

    Still, it’s a shame this car isn’t better executed, but Audi has never really bested BMW on pure performance model-by-model, so they’re probably not losing any sleep over it.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    There was a fellow who flew in from Texas to buy an RS4 from me not too long ago. I have to say that Audi probably has the best compact sports sedan with the A4 series and one of the best full-sized luxury sedan with the A8’s. They are fantastic vehicles.

    The Q7, S5 and A6’s kind of get lost in the translation. The first two have a design that just doesn’t seem to flow (although I like the front fascia of the S5). The A6 has really only been a good ‘used’ deal over the years in a wagon or high performance version. Even then I would have trouble stomaching the price premium for that model.

    For some reason it’s extremely hard to sell most coupes that are in the 40 to 60k range. The only models that have routinely achieved any type of stability in that segment is the 3-Series and Corvette. Maybe you can throw the Boxster into the mix as well but unless your product is really exceptional, it’s hard to break through. Mercedes may be another example with the CLK, and perhaps the most direct competitor to the S5, but I’m not sure if they have ever been able to perform consistently well either. Folks with a luxury edge seem to go more towards sedans in general and the S5 is probably going to be well discounted as a result of it.

    Speaking of which… I would take a TSX and Miata over the S5 hands down.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    oh well NickNick …

    But it is a Home Run (tater)and when a batter hits a single,double,triple and home run in the same game (cycle). Just like a double play going from third base to second to first(around the horn) but the crowd boos (Bronx Cheer).

    it makes more sense if we are reviewing a baseball player.

  • avatar
    carguy

    brownie – yes, harsh maybe but I challenge anyone to come up to summarize Audi’s brand values and then relate those to their current products. Way back in the 70s Audi was all about technical innovation (Vorchsprung durch Technik) and had some great products to match that philosophy. While the Quattro AWD system was making news, the revolutionary Audi 50 (later to become the VW Rabbit MK1) virtually defined the future of compact European cars.

    What has Audi done since? How is the FWD A4 any better then Japanese mid sizers such as the TSX? How is the VW GTI based FWD or AWD TT any competitor to the BMW Z or even the 350Z?

    Audi don’t make terrible cars but for every one of their products I can think of a number of other cars I’d rather have for the same amount of money.

    Maybe they should have embraced their TDI racing success by being known for high performance diesels or for the DSG transmission or anything else rather than just being an up-market VW.

  • avatar

    as intuitive as Bayesian Reasoning?

    This is what got Dennis Miller fired from Monday Night Football.

  • avatar

    Bayesian reasoning actually is pretty intuitive..

    Nice review, although its disappointing to hear that it doesn’t’ quite live up to the potential.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    I honestly think that Audi should capitalize on its two positive known features. If this car came with DSG and quattro, it would be worth every penny. I don’t think it would be bad if Audi turned into a luxury subaru either, at least it would differeniate them and dring them back to their technological roots. That said, it is a great looking car in my opinion.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Wow, getting a Bang & Olufsen 505 watt system is only an extra $800 American?!

    Can Audi hook me up with system for that price but without the 58K car?

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    It is ironic to see Audi go throught the effort to prodcue this car to only have it out done by another manufacturer’s car that is not even trying hard!

    The BMW 335xi coupe cost a good deal less yet outclasses this thing in every way possible. Looks, Performance, Handling, Price, Balance, no matter how you sum it up the 335xi is far superior to the S5. To top all of that off, exactly how many folks actually wants this 4000lb coupe with a stick? Once you add a powerful v8 into the mix the need and desire for a stick is seriously diminished, a good auto/manual is what most folks want in this type of car.

    Honestly, you can remove the Audi badge and all you are left with is a front heavy FWD car with an AWD system attached to compensate for the inherently bad balance and dynamics.
    All Honda needs to do is add its SH-AWD to the Accord coupe and then we will have a true competitor for this car, at half the price.

    I know quite a few people here rave on about the A8 and that stupid Bentley coupe, but after a drive and ride in both I must exclaim, Whats the big deal? Both of these cars ride like FWD cars with oversized rims and tires. They feel like they are missing about 2 inches of suspension travel and crash rather hard when you hit a pothole in NYC, not very luxurious at all!

    Also like the Bentley GT the S5 manages to display the same horrible proportions of a FWD trying to look like a RWD car. Unlike a 3 series coupe the S5 just has that “something aint right” look to it, kinda like the last generation Acura CL coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, few people think the BMW looks better than the S5. The S5, as well as the A5, are just drop dead gorgeous, particularly in person. I’m a former M3 owner, for what it’s worth, and I find the lines on the S5 to be far more pleasing than those of the 335, which I actually think is very nice looking.

  • avatar
    brownie

    carguy: I agree that they seem to have lost some focus. The TT, R8 and now the A5/S5 just confuse me – where do they fit? Take away those and I think you’ve got a decent lineup – A3/A4/A6/A8 constitute a nice execution of “1 wurst, 3 sizes” (4 sizes in this case, I guess). Still, I don’t think they necessarily offer worse value than their peers, considering that they are generally cheaper than BMW/Merc. Of course I own an Audi, so maybe I’m just talking my book. :)

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “What has Audi done since? How is the FWD A4 any better then Japanese mid sizers such as the TSX?”

    Drive one. Decide for yourself. Or base your thoughts on my opinions. I’ll take either one :)

    “How is the VW GTI based FWD or AWD TT any competitor to the BMW Z or even the 350Z?”

    GTI isn’t in the same class and is a completely different vehicle than the two you mentioned. A loaded TT is pretty much in a class by itself since it’s the only AWD sports car that I know of in this price range. Perhaps a FWD 2.0 Liter is what you were making the comparo. In which case it’s more a competitor to a Z4… and definitely not the 350Z.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    “What has Audi done since? How is the FWD A4 any better then Japanese mid sizers such as the TSX?”

    Drive one. Decide for yourself. Or base your thoughts on my opinions. I’ll take either one :)

    “How is the VW GTI based FWD or AWD TT any competitor to the BMW Z or even the 350Z?”

    GTI isn’t in the same class and is a completely different vehicle than the two you mentioned. A loaded TT is pretty much in a class by itself since it’s the only AWD sports car that I know of in this price range. Perhaps a FWD 2.0 Liter is what you were making the comparo. In which case it’s more a competitor to a Z4… and definitely not the 350Z.

    No doubt about it Audis are very nice cars. But asking how a TT a competitor to a Z4 or 350z is a valid question. No matter how you slice it a TT is nothing more than a Golf, Bettle, Jetta, Eos, etc, both platform and engine. The 2.0T is a fine engine but it does do a lot of duty at the lower-end of VAG line-up and looks and feel distinctively out of place in a $40,000 car. Turbos are nice but it is at heart a 4cyl econobox motor. In a GTI 200hp/ 200 lbft is great but once you move up the price range it begins to look rather weak.
    Step up the the VR6 powered model and you now have a car that drives like every other front heavy FWD car on the market. Yeah it has Quattro but it will still plow its way into and out of turns. At $40,000+ the TT is a big joke!

    Again, the TT is a nice car that drives very well. The problem is it feels like a $25,000 to $30,000 car at best.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    whatdoiknow…. just so you know… the TT is available with a 3.2 V6

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Steven Lang :
    December 26th, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    whatdoiknow…. just so you know… the TT is available with a 3.2 V6

    Step up the the VR6 powered model and you now have a car that drives like every other front heavy FWD car on the market. Yeah it has Quattro but it will still plow its way into and out of turns. At $40,000+ the TT is a big joke!

    I did mention that fact. Like I said the TT is a nice car but I kinda view it as a two seat convertible GTI. IF VW/ Audi had the good sense to price it accordingly it would be one of the best cars on the road for the money. The orginal TT made a lot of sense as a design study that made it to market. The bueaty and uniqueness of it alone made it an object of my affection.
    The 2nd generation has lost a great deal of its uniqueness and is just wannabe poser car now, an expensive one at that.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Steven Lang – if the TT 3.2 was the same price as its identical mechanical brother the VW R32 then it would be competitive. But it isn’t – even with modest options its a near $50K vehicle and at that price the value equation simply doesn’t add up against the Boxster, SLK and Z4.

  • avatar
    casper00

    I’ve always liked the Audi A6, this S5 looks nice, nicer then the new BMW “M” series.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    I know that the Audi TT uses some aluminum in the body structure. That could account for most of the price difference.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I really love the design of this car. Even the jeweled headlights. The only thing that kills it for me is the price. $57K??? This should cost the same as a 335xi.

  • avatar
    carz_suk

    The S5 starts at only $50k which makes it very competitive in it’s market segment. For comparison the 335 I was about to purchase was $48k. I drove the 335 in every possible situation and liked the car very much. I would have bought it if I didn’t have the nagging feeling that I should look at more cars before my final decision. (Sorry CLK you’re just not up to par in this class). I drove the S5 and loved the car. It is a far superior vehicle in nearly every way. Amenities, traction, build quality, engine, and design. Every review has mentioned that the S5 out accelerated the 335 with one major magazine stating a 4.5sec to 60 time if that’s what floats your boat. Yes, a single review on Youtube stated the 335 won around the track by a measly .06 hundredths of a second – and??? That test didn’t look very scientific to my eyes but thats just me. Regarding the beautiful interior – It is better than some interiors costing twice the price of the S5 (yes that’s 100k dollars) and dont take it my word for it, go to an autoshow and check for yourself or pick up one of the many magazines on any newstand. It has garnered enough praise to become redundant. The exterior design is downright gorgeous while having a very masculine look about it. The car also voted one of the most beautiful car in the world. http://www.germancarblog.com/2007/11/audi-a5-worlds-most-beatiful-coupe.html For those that can display a slight bit of unbiased thinking, read this review… http://reviews.cnet.com/coupe-hatchback/2008-audi-s5-quattro/4505-10867_7-32657392.html Personally, I think you bashed the car to be different – but what do I know…

    • 0 avatar
      mrcardio

      The Audi S5 starts at 54k; the BMW 335i coupe starts at 43k so the S5 starts at 11k more than the 335i. That’s not even close unless you option the hell out of the 335i!

      The Audi S5 is a far superior vehicle in everyway? Glad you feel that way but you’re obviously living in fairytale land.  Every review has the S5 beating the 335i? Man really what are you smoking? Seriously now back to reality. The BMW 335i simply stomps the S5 and considering the price it makes the S5 look beyond lame. The 335i accelerates faster in a straight line, around the track, everywhere.

      The S5 is so beautiful? It’s not horrible but it’s nothing to write home about either. The BMW 335i coupe looks sleek, powerful, stealthy and handsomely under-stated. The Audi S5 looks too cartoonish, like the new camaro in a way. There’s simply too much craziness going on. The bimmer is far more attractive.

    • 0 avatar

      mrcardio: the S5 looks are obviously something to write home about as it’s widely considered one of the best looking cars on the planet. I don’t know any Audi driver who would disagree, but I know many BMW owners who prefer the S5’s looks. The S5 really doesn’t look cartoonish. It certainly is nowhere near as garish as the M3, which is a car I love. Like the guy said, the Italians decided the S5 was the best looking coupe in the world. It’s an opinion but it stands for something. Lemme guess, you don’t think the M3 has “too much going on” with all its vents and badges and it’s hood “lump”? I smell a fanboy. No reviewer I’ve read ever gives the style edge to the 335 over the S5. Beauty is always mentioned in the context of the Audi 5, not so with the 3 series BMW (some of them look downright ugly).
      And no, the 335 doesn’t “stomp” the S5. That’s ridiculous. They’re about the same in terms of performance. Let’s say the 335 was .1 second faster to 60 (which I don’t believe), who cares? The BMW looks like the better value but I see the S5 as a nicer car.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    S5 is aimed directly at the younger wealthy enthusiast market. When BMW sells a car like 335i in the same segment at 20% lower price Audi has no chance. A true automotive enthuiast knows exactly where to spend his hard earned dollars. Even if the cars were at the same price BMW would still be the top choice for driving pleasure. This fifth gear video summed up things nicely: Triumph of handling over power.

    U.S. prices:

    335i Coupe: $40,800
    335xi Coupe: $42,600
    S5: $50,500

    BMW achieves maximum torque at 1300rpm and keeps it flat until 5000rpm. S5 reaches max tq at 3500rpm. And with Audi you don’t have a choice awd vs rwd like 335 offers. If you live in a warmer region where it doesn’t snow awd doesn’t make sense – it just adds weight and lowers mpg.

    Any person who likes to drive and truly enjoys a good handling car knows that a true luxury sports coupe is always RWD.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Can most people reading this review and commenting on it afford it? I know I can’t. A 57k car breaks down to what… $1600/month. Leasing this would cost something like $700/month?

    With all automakers pushing leasing as an option because buying cars has become prohibitively expensive, I wonder if anybody actually buys something like this new. Or does everyone just lease.

    Just askin’….

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The British car mags all gave the S5 mediocre reviews for over-promising on the new MLP platform, and then under-delivering with the S5. “We figured out how to get rid of the understeer once and for all, but then we left it in. Sorry about that.” The S5 has a lot in common with the Porsche Cayman. Audi knows the S5 is far more capable than they are allowing it to be, to make the RS5 look better.

    I agree with Top Gear that the A5 3.0TDi is the one to get.

  • avatar
    mark06902

    Can most people reading this review and commenting on it afford it? I know I can’t. A 57k car breaks down to what… $1600/month. Leasing this would cost something like $700/month?

    this car on a lease will be 800+, probably pushing 9…im about to lease a near loaded 335 coupe and im looking at 715/mo with 2500 down after some negotiating. wether you see these cars on the road or not probably just depends on what part of the country you live in…bmws and audis in CT and NY are not exactly considered rare.

  • avatar
    raz

    As always a great review by TTAC.

    Guys you should also checkout this VIDEO Review of this car

    http://www.tengears.com/home/2007/12/19/2008-audi-s5-quattro-review.html

    Jay says that BMW is a better car, that may be but i think Audi has better interior and is more luxurious.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I’ve generally agreed with (and enjoyed) Mr. Shoemaker’s assessments on TTAC thus far, but I must take exception to this one. His opinion is definitely in the minority regarding the S5, based on what I’ve read thus far. Coincidentally, “Autoweek” also took a quick look at the S5 this week, and this is what they had to say about it: “OUR TAKE: This is a stunning machine. The exterior design is absolutely fantastic. When stopped at a red light, a pristine, black Porsche Cayman S came screaming up from behind in the next lane. The driver simply rolled down his window and said, “That’s beautiful.” Absolutely right. The interior is nearly as impressive. The front seats are some of the best sport buckets available. We were also duly pleased with the way Audi’s MMI system interfaced with an iPod: intuitive and easy to use. Overall, one of the best interior designs in the world. This latest Audi platform, with the engine finally mounted behind the front-axle line, is a big improvement. With this version of quattro, you can hang the tail out some, and there’s far less understeer than before. The engine sounds and performs great, the gearbox is incredibly positive in feel and a cinch to bang through. We’d prefer more steering weight and feedback, but that was a minor point. The car doesn’t have quite the potency of our long-term S6, but it doesn’t have all that weight, either. And with just two doors, it looks so much sportier. But don’t even think about using the back seat–there is no leg space there at all. But as the driver, who cares about that?” Everybody I’ve pointed the S5 out to thus far thinks it’s smokin’ hot-looking. Also its quattro-enabled year-round performance is hard to argue with. All IMHO, of course.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    U.S. prices:

    335i Coupe: $40,800
    335xi Coupe: $42,600
    S5: $50,500

    That comparison doesn’t really bear out, once you’ve added the several thousand dollars worth of options to the 335xi that make it comparable to the Audi, which includes a longer list of standard equipment. Fully equipped, both cars are similarly priced.

    And even if you do want the loss-leader Bimmer, good luck trying to find one. It’s difficult in practice to find one on a dealer’s lot, that base MSRP is more of a teaser than a real deal.

    So price competitiveness is not the issue. You may prefer one car to the other, but if purchasing, there’s no economic reason to prefer either one. That being said, I would surmise that BMW tends to offer better lease deals and maintain stronger residuals. Plus, BMW includes free maintenance, which for cars of this sort carries a real value.

  • avatar
    917K

    Brock_Landers :
    If you live in a warmer region where it doesn’t snow awd doesn’t make sense – it just adds weight and lowers mpg.

    Any person who likes to drive and truly enjoys a good handling car knows that a true luxury sports coupe is always RWD.

    My opinion about this, which is the opposite of yours, was to me changed a few years back (which, now that I think about it, was about 20 years ago- Jeebus!) when Hurley Haywood with both Walter Röhrl and Hans Stuck ate the SCCA Trans-Am series alive with an AWD Audi coupe. AWD did seem to have its advantages on a bone-dry paved road course.
    The SCCA apparently agreed with me, too, since they banned it (AWD plus non-American engines).

  • avatar
    Qusus

    It’s quite easy to find a “loss-leader” Bimmer to get from dealers. Maybe not one without ANY options, but a 335i with just the Premium Pckg is and maybe another 1000 dollars of ticky-tack options was very very common when I was shopping for cars. That roughly comes to about 44,000 MSRP for a 335i. I’ve seen a few 335xi’s with less options around that price as well. Don’t know what the base S5 sells for in the real world but if it goes for around sticker that’s a more expensive car by about 6K.

    And let’s not pretend the Audi has that many more standard options than the Bimmer (A 335 premium package is comparable to a base S5). They both charge you extra for their “special paint” after all.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    If anyone bothers to compare base S5 to similarly equipped 335i or 335xi with US market prices – it would clear the facts out. In Europe the price difference is ca 10.000 EUR.

    Ive driven some S and RS Audi’s on the street and track, newer ones are similarly disengaging around corners than the older ones. I love the old 2.2 20V Turbo engine (which was used in SCCA Trans AM Audi’s) when driving fast on highways-straight roads. But that is it. Butterfly’s in your stomach and smile on your face – only with rwd.

    Audi threw piles of money into their SCCA project some 20 years ago to market their products in the US – this fact didn’t make their cars drive better then and it doesn’t have any significance now.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The magazines all cite 2007 335i MSRP’s for their test vehicles in the $48-49k range. The current base MSRP for the 2008 335xi is $43,375 vs. $51,275 for the S5.

    Items such as leather power seats, heated seats, heated mirrors, Homelink, satellite radio, alarm system, Bluetooth, etc. that are standard on the S5 are optional on the 335xi. But BMW does include the maintenance as part of the price.

    Both of them sting the buyer pretty badly for certain color choices and for NAV systems, although BMW will provide wood trim free of charge.

    One item of standard equipment carried by the S5 is a $1,300 gas guzzler tax. Ouch.

    All told, they should both end up costing the average buyer roughly the same amount when comparably equipped. (At this price range, a couple of grand is not particularly relevant.) Neither car is a steal. If my experience counts, you will often have more room to negotiate when buying an Audi than with a BMW, but with some exceptions, BMW leases tend to be more competitive.

  • avatar
    phil

    I’ve been pricing Audis vs BMWs lately and i agree that the BMW leases have been quite a bit cheaper (for equivalent priced vehicles). so on the pricing debate i think you’d find the bimmer less costly (but not by much) although the no cost maintenance could be the deal maker, esp if you lease. you should definitely watch the 5th gear video and check out the young lady’s emotions while driving each car (she laughs almost uncontrollably whilst driving the bimmer (the glorious rear end slides do the deed), merely enjoys the S5) and i couldn’t help but draw a comparison to the 5th Gear shootout of the last gen M3 vs the S4. The Audi leans more to the GT side of things, the bimmer is always the bad boy racer, it’s just the way the things are made. Carguy has made the critical point, i think, and that is just what does Audi want to do with its brand? It’s hard to shake its expensive VW/heavy/understeer/ugly sister to BMW/Merc reputation. i loved the A8, until i drove the E63 (inspired by Jay’s review) and it was no contest. I loved the S4, until i drove (and bought) an E46 M3. So Audi cannot out-luxury or out-torque MB, and they can’t out-fun or out-handle the bimmers. where does that leave them, other than just “out”?

  • avatar
    mrcknievel

    Audi always seems to fall into the “I wouldn’t be mad if someone gave it to me, but I wouldn’t buy it” category when I get into conversations about new cars.

    I agree with everyone that says this thing needs DSG or auto and a slight price shave to really compete. In a world where the new G37 exists (coworker just got one *drool*) I don’t see why you’d take this as a Bimmer alternative.

    A smidge more snob appeal I guess..

  • avatar
    DPG

    DSG does not have the torque capacity to handle the V8, so everybody can forget about it in the immediate future.

    If you doubt me, check current production models with DSG (VW, Audi)

  • avatar
    mxrz

    Test drove both, like the S5 much better. Btw, FifthGear raced the S5 against the 335i, not the xi.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    And then there are the Audi fans as you can see. Guys who really can’t accept that competition has something better on the market :) Same crowd exists in Europe – fellas who can’t take a factual joke like “it’s just a fat veedub with awd” :)

  • avatar
    jedijasper

    … i own a BMW, not an Audi…..enough said.

  • avatar
    shoes

    I think that Audi has done an incredible job of increasing sales of their line despite the fact that their product positioning is hard to decipher. Mercedes is positioned as having the best engineering, BMW as the ultimate driving machine, but what is Audi? Audi’s pricing has made it clear that they want to fight toe-to-toe with Mercedes and BMW, but they keep showing up for a gun fight with a switchblade. They have developed one truly breakthrough product (R8) but at this lofty price point, few will ever get to partake. The Audi brand is something of a German Subaru- for iconoclasts and cold climate dwellers.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Audis have always been balanced vehicles which tend to work well overall without leading in any single category except for interior design. The trouble is “balance” doesn’t really give an automobile much of an identity. That might be acceptable if Audis offerred real value. But they don’t.

  • avatar
    917K

    shoes :
    I agree with you. Audi has never really been considered, either by Germans or Americans, as being in the same league as Mercedes or BMW. I’ve asked a German friend or two what they think of Audis, and they said flatly “I’ve never liked, or don’t like, Volkwagens.” That is something they still haven’t, and probably won’t, get past- being consider a gussied-up VW. Granted, I don’t hear Audi jokes from them like I have Opel or Opel driver jokes, which aren’t flattering, especially when they tell the jokes that contrast them with BMW drivers. Though they ain’t real nice to BMW drivers, either.

    Audi has always been in a strange position in the US. People I’ve known who dealt with Audi Foxes in the ’70’s thought they were crap- not extremely reliable, mainly, and when I read reviews or comments about Audis being more reliable now it makes me wonder a bit. Especially when Volkswagen gets criticized for unreliability, say, for the GTI, and then seeing A3 treated a bit differently in reviews. Audi always seemed to have a niche/fanatic/eccentric type appeal here, Subarus being a good example, or also, European car-wise, Saabs, at least pre-GM. They’ve tried to market themselves as being technologically advanced or innovative, especially in the aerodynamic styling and AWD areas, which is true only to a point. They’re not going to hit the same performance/handling level, though, until they move the damn engine on a lot of their models from being entirely in front of the front axle. That’s just a half-assed way to deal with fwd, which is part of their genetic make-up. I think their sales have made inroads into the suburban or non-enthusiast crowd mainly because they are German and a little less expensive than M-B and BMW.

    But to enthusiasts and to folks who are into status, Audis are always going to be considered as something like nouveau riche compared to Mercedes and BMW blue bloods.

  • avatar
    917K

    And to Mr. Landers- the SCCA Audi experience I cited as being proof of concept in general to counter your general dismissal, not as something bearing on Audis specifically. It was mostly a marketing ploy by Audi, and that experience coupled with the Quattro rally success, they never really applied it to or refined it with their street cars and hence don’t drive much better now. But significance now- Porsche picked up on it- whether or not Audi had any influence, and there is something to be gained, and something satisfying, when you can get all the power an engine produces to the road, especially if a vehicle is starting to puke out 400-450+ horsepower. Audi should’ve done what Porsche did with turbos- they pumped a lot of money and time and development with the 917, and then decided to apply turbocharging to their street cars to good effect, just like you’d think anyone would do when developing a technology racing. Joe Rusz at R&T and a 911 enthusiast has said the Carrera 4 was the ultimate 911 or the perfection of 911 design (don’t have an exact quote, but I’ve read him and seen him on the History Channel making similar statements). No, you ass won’t slide around as it would in a rwd 911, and it is a thrill if you are a good enough driver to control the oversteer on the car and not have it control you.

    I just don’t see AWD as inferior, insignificant, etc., not with the vehemence you do, when it comes to a performance/sports car. It’s not vital, true, and their is a downside to lessening the chance of the adrenaline production when you can hit a sweeping bend and get a power slide with the tires screeching but not breaking traction. But one, most people who are in the market for a luxury sports sedan or coupe like an S5 or even a 3-series are more interested in the luxury part and don’t care about power slides, and would wet themselves if they found themselves in one, but they ain’t commenting in this forum, and two, I personally if my budget would allow it would definitely buy a 330ix over a 330i or an Audi S5. I also wouldn’t mind a Cayman S4 for that matter.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I find all of the discussion about what Audis are or aren’t very interesting, since just about every one of those comments was made by someone who doesn’t drive one.

    I bought our ’01 2.7T over the competing BMW and Mercedes models for lots of logical reasons, and two big emotional ones.

    Logical:
    -much more back seat room than the competitors. (these are 4-door sedans, after all, meant to be able to be used to comfortably seat 4 6-footers.)
    -cavernous trunk with fold-down rear seats standard. The trunk on the 528i was a joke in comparison, and fold down rear seats were a special order. This matters when you don’t own an SUV or Van for Home Depot runs.
    -quattro. There’s nothing like being unable to spin a tire, regardless of how much power you’re trying to put down. This is a boon in dry as well as wet/snowy weather.

    Emotional:
    styling (subjective, obviously)
    twin-turbo power + torque. (the 2.7T left the competitive BMW and MB models for dead in acceleration and responsiveness.)

    After tracking my car multiple times, I can safely say that it understeers heavily, but I can also use all the power more of the time due to the traction and control of quattro AWD. On a related note, it will be interesting to watch the 335s at our upcoming events, spinning the inside rear tires out of all the slower corners. No LSD??? WTH was BMW thinking?

    What I’ve found through owning 3 of these cars is that the effects of quattro are, on balance for street driving, a huge benefit. Heavy? Yep. Nose-heavy? Yep, too, but that’s changing, starting with the A8 years ago, and continuing in earnest with the B8 platform, of which the S5 is the first to make it to the states.

    To those that wonder where Audi fits, my advice is to watch closely in the next 3 years, because they’re going nowhere but up in sales, market share, and perception.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    RWD is not (only) about powerslides. RWD layout gives the car a whole different feel when compared to AWD and FWD. RWD is more balanced, driver gets more feedback from the car, the overall driving feeling is more satisfying with RWD. There are ofcourse obvious mechanical detalis that contribute to this – AWD ja FWD have driveshafts connected to the front wheels, which limits the turning radius, raises the unsprung mass of the front suspension and most importantly the whole concept of having power to the front wheels that you are turning at the same time changes the whole feel and character of the car compared to similar RWD car.

    I have once driven the most RWD-like AWD car on wet asphalt – the R32 Skyline GTR. A whole different ballgame compared to the Audis – it was lot more percise, engaging and fun. It’s a shame really that Nissan didn’t introduce this technology to the rest of the world. Like CAR Magazine once wrote: In 1989 Nissan introduced the Skyline GTR with AWD system that made the Audi’s Quattro look like from the bronze age. Audi basically hasn’t changed the torsen based quattro in 20 years. Guess Vorsprung Durch Technik (‘progress through technology’) slogan doesn’t apply for their hallmark Quattro technology.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    ZCD2:

    Since when do you have to own a vehicle to critique it??? And in the next 3 years I would not be surprised to see Audi sales stall from a lack of product identity.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I currently drive an S4 Cabrio. While I love the styling of the S5, it’s approaching the proportion of a 6 series which I don’t like. So when the Cabrio comes out, it’s going to be way too large for my tastes. I think we’re just talking to ourselves about Audi’s product “identity” and comparing comparable HP and extreme skidpad numbers. I don’t like the ricer stigma of the M3 or the mall cruiser style of the CLK. What really matters to me is that in two years Audi will not have an athletic-proportioned cabriolet.

  • avatar
    greydout

    carguy: I’m going to have to disagree here. What does the VW GTI or Audi TT do that a350z doesn’t? Have you been in these cars? Heard of DSG? I’ve test drove the 350z and AudiTT, and I own a GTI. You are comparing cars that aren’t similar at all.

    Ever try getting golf clubs in a BMW Z? or a 350Z? I mean come on. I could pile in dead bodies into my GTI. Not to mention, If I get into a wreck, Ill appreciate the 6 airbags, and steel cage the GTI offers. I wouldn’t wanna get hit by anything in a Z4 man. Ouch. Also, GTI DSG vs. a Z4? I’ll wreck a Z4 man.
    GTIs beat em all the time bro. Why? max torque at 1800RPM. I can shift in .2 seconds, lol. Can a 6speed do that? No, but I can. and how much more am I spending for a Z4? lol @ that man.

    The VW Group makes some sick cars bro, and for the price they are great. The S5, is not a 335i comparison. You can name a coupe in that price point with that kind of power/luxury combination? Please let me know. 360HP FSI engine, Keyless entry with proximity sensor. Rear camera, active suspension system. The car rides so smooth, and handles well. The V8 responds man.

    This weekend, I drove the 335i, the S5, the TT 3.2. If you get in a 335i after getting in an S5, its a joke. The 335 luxuries and interior is a damn joke. Its all performance, and thats about it. The ride quality also, isn’t as good. The engine sound of the Audi is also way more impressive IMO.

    Bottom line. The S5 is not a 335i. Maybe the 335i wins in a drag race. But I’ll take the S5’s looks, feel, comfort, features, and interior over the BMW anyday.

  • avatar
    greydout

    917K:
    Audi’s not enthusiast performers like Mercedes? Are you kidding? Man, Mercedes have been known in the circles out here in New York as cars meant to be enjoyed by the back seat drivers. You buy a mercedes if you have a driver. You buy a BMW if you want to drive. Audi’s are now closing into that BMW realm.

    “But to enthusiasts and to folks who are into status, Audis are always going to be considered as something like nouveau riche”
    And thats dead wrong, because there are loads of enthusiasts having fun with their S4s and RS4s. I guessed you missed all the street cred generated by the RS4. Not sure how, but you did miss it man. Prior to that, could the S4 hang with an M3? No, I’ll give you that. But… The AWD was surely nice to have, and the price tag was also considerably less. BMWs are more for the nouveau rich because of the added status. BMW’s are first and foremost a status car my friend. The X5, and the 318s made sure of that. 1 series anyone?

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “BMWs are more for the nouveau rich because of the added status. BMW’s are first and foremost a status car ”

    Exactly! I grew up with a family who loved German, British and Swedish cars. I can say with absolute authority that BMWs are much more appealing to the nouveau rich because they are a more conspicuous statement of wealth. Not that there’s anything wrong with being newly rich, but you’ll rarely see dubs on an Audi A8 like you always will on a 7 series or S class. I was at a conference last June where the president of the Luxury Institute spoke. Of the households making over 500k/year, more had at least one Audi than any other brand. I didn’t expect that.

  • avatar
    rwaugh

    First let me say…I think people should be required to post what cars or mini vans they currently drive as a before commenting based on little or no actual experience with either vehicle. Second… open your eyes people.. the Audi S5 visually beats BMW in EVERY department outside and inside hands down!! Third…I will give BMW 3 series “road feel” catagory but the Lady on YouTube clearly did not drive the S5 to its capabilities at all. The S5 walks the BMW hands down on the track. This coming from a 335i owner who has track driven the S5 and the 335i. These cars should not even be considered as a proper comparison. The the proper car to compare to the S5 would be a BMW 5 series coupe..(ooops I guess they dont make those!!!) Then the next car they would have to use is the 535i sedan which is hevier and slower than the 335I i guess they can use that one either. Therefore forcing a comparison agianst the 550I which is the proper comparision but the 550i cost 15k more than the S5, with the S5 winning all catagories..

  • avatar
    True_GT Fanatic

    “The S5 starts at only $50k which makes it very competitive in it’s market segment. For comparison the 335 I was about to purchase was $48k. I drove the 335 in every possible situation and liked the car very much. I would have bought it if I didn’t have the nagging feeling that I should look at more cars before my final decision. (Sorry CLK you’re just not up to par in this class).

    I drove the S5 and loved the car. It is a far superior vehicle in nearly every way. Amenities, traction, build quality, engine, and design. Every review has mentioned that the S5 out accelerated the 335 with one major magazine stating a 4.5sec to 60 time if that’s what floats your boat. Yes, a single review on Youtube stated the 335 won around the track by a measly .06 hundredths of a second – and??? That test didn’t look very scientific to my eyes but thats just me.

    Regarding the beautiful interior – It is better than some interiors costing twice the price of the S5 (yes that’s 100k dollars) and dont take it my word for it, go to an autoshow and check for yourself or pick up one of the many magazines on any newstand. It has garnered enough praise to become redundant. The exterior design is downright gorgeous while having a very masculine look about it. The car also voted one of the most beautiful car in the world.”

    I would have to agree with carz_suk. About a month or so ago on a weekend afternoon, my wife and I stopped by one of the local Audi dealers in town to have a closer look at the Q7. We had been contemplating off and on if my next car would be an SUV or another car. As we pulled into the dealer lot, parked right outside the show room was a meteor gray pearl S5. I think our pupils dialated immediately and our hearts began to race. The both of us were floored at the stance and the presence of this coupe. Yes, as one would read across many publications, buying a coupe is truly an emotionally stirring sort of thing. This car certainly did that for both of us, especially myself.

    Albeit, the Youtube video shootout between the 335i and S5 rendered the Bimmer .06 seconds faster, but in all seriousness, who really drives like this around town anyway – let alone an infinitesimal difference such as this garner any real deciding muscle to helm the bimmer superior to this Audi.

    In fact, an equally equiped 335i would come up around $1800 less than the S5 with B&O stereo, technology package, and nav. For me, this wouldn’t be the line in the sand in selecting the Bimmer over the Audi. I currently drive an ’03 Z4 sport pac. It handles well and is certainly a bit ‘raw’ when it comes to hard cornering and the like, but in all honesty, I really enjoy it most on long open road trips – 200+ mile distances or greater where this car rides well barring any road imperfections, but it isn’t as smooth as I believe the S5 is capable. In effect this is what GTs are made for (long distances at high speeds in exceptional luxury).

    I’ll admit, the first photos I saw of the A5/S5 didn’t make me want to head straight down to the Audi dealer. If it weren’t for our original interest in the Q7, I would have completely dismissed this car altogether until I would have seen it on the road. This is a car that must be experienced in person to understand its desireablity factor. The gorgeous daytime LEDs and aluminum/chrome exterior side-view mirror housings, the wide track at the rear, and the gently falling roofline as it flows into the c-pillar and the trunk lid boot. Hands down the interior is exceptional, even the parking brake is an unobtrusive finger pull buttom situated to the upper left corner of the center console – well done Audi.

    I’ve yet to drive one, as I’m really certain that if I do, I’ll buy it. However, I was told by the Audi salesman that the DSG will be offered in 24 months. I’ll try very hard to wait until then for the DSG offering in Brilliant Red and pearl silver interior. Absolutely gorgeous car.

  • avatar
    moto

    I have not driven an S5 or a new 335i, but here’s my stupid opinion anyway: I respect the BMW, but I’d take the Audi.

    Based solely on car show appearance, I vote the S5 to be a much more handsome inside and out than ANY other midsize coupe on the road today. This is hard to admit for a person who has worshipped Porsche and BMW for the past 25 years.

    My past experience with an E36 M3 was like everyone else’s: a pure pleasure to drive, with excellent balance, power, and grip to do anything well. Based on that taste, we later decided to get a Z3 and later a Z4.

    I guess it was a lot of little things that convinced me slowly that BMW lost its way. I became disenchanted with the local BMW dealers. It became clear they were snobby pricks who know nothing about quality service. The Z4 seemed novel and different at first, but in retrospect, i see that Bangle royally f*cked up the tasteful, timeless lines that BMW once offered (850i, for example). Our Z3 wasn’t great, but the Z4 was amongst the most problematic cars we ever owned. Interiors were not up to par, and the annoyances & breakdowns just kept adding up. There is simply no excuse for an “unrepairable” leaking roof in a roadster of that price. Our new TT, on the other hand, has not disappointed us yet (time will tell).

    Pricewise, every european car is expensive in the USA thanks to the Shrub driving the US dollar value into the dirt. At any price, quattro makes the Audi a vastly better all-season coupe than anything BMW or Merc (or Lexus, or Caddy) offers. While that’s not critical to me, it should be a major consideration for car owners in the snow belt. What’s the point in having perfect BMW chassis balance or a 400+ hp Merc V-8 when the traction control system must constantly swoop in to keep you out of the ditch? The S5, if it’s like other recent Audis I have driven (TT, A4, S4, A8) makes up for its lack of 10/10ths driving prowess by offering value in all the ways that matter in real-world driving. If you want a racecar, get a ZR-1 or a GT3.

    Like I said, I’ve not yet taken an S5 for a test drive. I don’t doubt it understeers a bit more than the competitive RWD cars. Still, the S5 looks every bit as good, if not better, than the competition for most people. Moreover, the purely subjective comments in this review I just don’t find very compelling. There isn’t really a bad choice in the luxury compact car categories these days. My pre-review already leans strongly in favor of the Audi.

    … and yes, BMW is sweating. The Audi RS5 and the R4 will be released soon, not to mention Porsche’s Panamera and a refreshed Cayman. It’s great to see Porsche’s influence on VWAG…

  • avatar
    A8FAN

    I am looking to order an S5. They are so popular that there is a year’s wait and I was told they were not taking any more orders.
    So I am not sure what to do. There is a showroom A5 but it only has 6 cyl.

    I looked at the supposedly comparable BMW, but they are old fashioned English looking and rather ugly, and still use the outdated REAR WHEEL DRIVE.

    The Audi is the most beautiful car of 2007 according to the contest in Milan Italy.

  • avatar
    muffinman

    Brock_Landers – “And then there are the Audi fans as you can see. Guys who really can’t accept that competition has something better on the market :) Same crowd exists in Europe – fellas who can’t take a factual joke like “it’s just a fat veedub with awd” :)”

    … and then there are the people who can’t afford Audis, so they feel the need to bash those who can to make themselves feel bigger ;)

    Kidding aside, I was very PRO-BMW before plunging myself (with some doubt) into the Audi scene… I looked for every reason to purchase a 2007 3-series over a 2007 A4, and after test driving both multiple times, researching both endlessly, I couldn’t justify purchasing the Bimmer.

    An Audi is not about being the fastest, being the cheapest, being the most luxurious, but rather about being a bit of each and wrapping it up in a beautiful package (both inside and out). The overall package of sport, quality, looks and luxury is hard to beat.

    You are kidding yourself if you think BMW’s have nicer interiors than comparable Audis (.. and this is where you will be spending 100% of your driving time).

    Even though I don’t have as much HP as your BMW 335i, or your 350Z, etc. I’m perfectly content with my e-peepee size.

    … and to the guy who said Audis sales will tank, please check the latest sales figures. Audi is up 7.2% for the month of March on the back of the Audi A5/S5 when almost EVERY OTHER manuf. is experiencing a big decrease in sales (BMW is up ~1%, Mercedes is up ~3%). What recession?

  • avatar
    moto

    The exchange rate being what it is, i can almost forgive Audi for charging $50k for the S5. Almost.

  • avatar
    A8FAN

    OH Gee the BMW beat it by 1/4 a second. This is really gonna matter isn’t it. NOT!

    My S5 black on black will be here soon soon soon!

    I just hope I don’t mind sacrificing the size of my A8 for the stick shift. I miss stick shifts I really do..

    I will just keep my A8 for a spare for when I’m not in the mood to wrap my fingers around that stick…

  • avatar
    c73

    THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A BMW THAT BEATS ANY AUDI on paper. That being said, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE AN AUDI THAT IS MORE PLEASUREABLE, LUXURIOUS AND AN OVERALL MORE SATISFYING DRIVING EXPERIENCE IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS( the commute to work, the drive to the market, the twisty road around the corner from your house). I have driven both the 335i and the S5. My phantom black on black S5 will be in shortly and I can’t wait either. The experience between the two cars cannot be compared. There is a sense of luxury, exclusivity, power and sensory satisfaction that comes in the S5 that is entirely lacking in the 335i. The notion that track performance equates to a whether a car is worthwhile is ridiculous…it is the total package and the Audi has it.

  • avatar
    A8FAN

    Thank you c73. Are the rest of you raining on my parade? I doubt you would refuse an S5 if one were given to you.

    And a BMW that beats an Audi on the track in the last 3 seconds of the race isn’t worth crap to say it’s better for the normal driver. My racing days on the track are over…

    By the way, my Audi A8 (1999) Quattro is still f’n beautiful and luxurious and in perfect condition even with 76,000 miles on it. I have people begging me for it. People still wonder how I round those exits so fast… it’s the handling bro! My friend in his Lincoln following me last night could not keep up on the exits and I wasn’t going that fast, but I can round those without slowing down much. It will beat any small car for handling.

    Additionally I DOUBT YOU SEE MANY BUM W’s of that age riding around anymore!

    I just think all you Audi bashers are jealous of me. :-P

  • avatar
    NotoriousS8

    Yeah, I know all about paper races where the BMW M’s always beat out the Audi’s. My cousin bought one of the first or second year M5’s at a stupid premium, well I’m sorry but my 2001 S8 will blow the doors off of that thing on any winding road, straight, or road in california with any real world driver behind the wheel. Put a racecar caliber driver behind the wheel and it’s up in the air but then if he was behind the wheel of the S8 it wouldn’t be.

    That said I had a Z3 with the big M package motor and suspension and could push it through a set of repeated S turns at about 75mph, that was paying very careful attention to a tail out very reactive nature where throttle off hung it way out and throttle on induced front end jump and push. Another way to put this is to say don’t try this at home kids you’ll get into trouble if you don’t know what you are doing. The S8 can do it at 85 with a Latte in one hand and cell phone in the other, and all but the speed impaired could do it without getting into trouble.

    I will admit to Bridgestone Pole Position tires and much lighter aftermarket wheels which dramatically improved the ride and handling from the stock wheels and Michelin Pilot Sports. You just don’t see reviews that quantify the difference between BMW’s that win paper races and real worls driving. I’ve had two M5’s starting with the early 1985 model, a 750il, an M6, and a 540 sport model, I’m sorry it’s Audi’s from now on and I get a woody thinking about my next one which will be an R8 and I may get an RS6 as well just because they are priced so low I can’t resist. I’m waiting to find one of the super rare 6 speed models of which there are only a few.

    By the way, I blew by an M5 that was up at about
    155mph at over 180mph, I think he lost a door or two in the vacuum created when I sucked his doors off but he was out of sight so quickly I can’t be sure of that. I terrorize the WRX’s, EVO’s, and Corvettes on the twisties around Placerville. I accidently went by a sheriff at 150 who was sitting hidden in a sweeper and had it well beyond redline in top gear with the speedo beyond it’s top speed as well making sure he couldn’t catch me, believe it or not. I took a friend out who said that was bull and showed him, he wanted me to slow down when the guages were buried and wasn’t at all comfortable hanging sweepers at 150. You have to love the Recaro seats at times like that.

  • avatar
    NotoriousS8

    By the way, the notorious is what my wife calls the S8, I get stopped by sheriff’s that see the car and want to know if this is the car that was doing 200mph on 49. I tell them “nah, it was only 190 or so”. They aren’t hassling, they just want to check out the car. I’m selling it because I can’t hang with getting stopped arbitrarily.

  • avatar

    Your review is a microcosm of Audi’s marketing mistakes. It really is a shame since they have the engines, transmissions, and designs to be a real competitor of BMW and Mercedes. Cap it off with deplorable reliability, and they will be sitting on the sidelines with Jaguar before too long watching the Koreans and Japanese getting it done.


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  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States