The Truth About Cars » s5 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » s5 Piston Slap: The S5′s life saving Mercury? Wed, 28 May 2014 12:26:03 +0000
Chris writes:

Hi Sajeev,
I have a 2010 Audi S5 with about 45k miles. My local mechanic recommended Mercury Warranty for mechanical breakdown coverage… is $4,700 a good deal for 5 years, or an additional 52k mileage in coverage?

I’m worried that it would be easy to add up to that $ in repairs.

Sajeev asks:

Needing the warranty is a safe bet, good for you. Question is, can you service the S5 at the Audi dealer with that warranty? What’s the deductible? Are loaner cars covered?

Chris answers:

Yes, loaner cars are covered and I can have it serviced anywhere that I want. $100 deductible. It’s their platinum level exclusionary policy…

Sajeev concludes:

Yeah, that’s good stuff: but shop around because someone might sell it for less. So what’s the only problem here? It’s not a factory warranty, with factory customer service.

Will this company dump your AWD high performance coupe after a certain payout threshold? It is possible. But, from what I’ve seen with people far braver than I, the moment your 4+ year old German bahnburner raises the ire of the underwriting department is after the warranty paid for itself.

Perhaps asking an Audi dealer about the chance of an extended warranty is also in order.

And now let’s see what the Best and Brightest add into the mix!


Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

]]> 62
New or Used: Audi Syndrome? Thu, 08 Dec 2011 20:34:57 +0000


Kevin writes:

Sajeev and Steve:

I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5.  Could be worse, I know.  The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end.  As of late, conversations about the S5 have gone something like this:

Q1. Do you like it?
A1. Unequivocally!  It’s amazing.

Q2. Are you going to buy it out or extend the lease?
A2. Absof@!%inglutely not.

Q3. Why not – you just said you loved it?!
A3. True, but it’s a constant reminder of the adages (i) never buy a first year vehicle (ii) never lease a car out of warranty and (iii) someone, somewhere, is tired of her sh!t.  Well, maybe just the first two.

The car itself is amazing to drive in any conditions on any road – almost too good.  It’s very, very fast, comfortable, handles beautifully (with the usual Quattro understeer), beautiful to look at, has rear view camera, parking sensors, iPod integration, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, B&O sound system, etc.  I’ve had it at the track a number of times, drive it to work in traffic every day and have dedicated rims and brilliant snow tires for winter (making snow and ice something to smile about).  The trunk is massive; I have taken two other people and all our ski and snowboard gear to Blue Mountain, and often take a passenger and two full hockey bags two the rink once a week.  Hell, I have even managed to escape the concentric circle of hell that is IKEA with a twin mattress in the back and still been able to see out the back window.  For some inexplicable reason, I still hand wash it and park it far away from anything or anybody; it looks and drives like it’s brand new.

That said, it also has had at least $5000 worth of work done to it under warranty, including new front control arms, an entire new clutch assembly and master slave cylinder, new blower motor and fan and new window regulator.  On top of the repairs, the 4.2L V8 is a very thirsty beast and it costs a second king’s ransom to lease and insure every month.

So – the question isn’t whether or not to buy it out or extend the lease.  I won’t own this car one second out of warranty and I don’t see any point extending the lease on a 2008 when you can spend the same money leasing a newer model.

The question is – where do I go from here?  November isn’t exactly the best time to be putting a new car on the road in this part of the world.  Hell, I’m not even close to being convinced that I want a brand new car.  This was my first new, never driven by anyone else, vehicle.  Definitely the nicest car I’ve ever owned as well. I previously had a nice 2004 Infiniti G35 I picked up off of Leasebusters after some chump put $7000 down, didn’t drive it and then walked away.  Prior to that I had a well used Integra that simply wouldn’t die no matter how much it was abused. Previous rides are of varying levels of embarrassment and, for that matter alone, deemed irrelevant.

What else has the style, handling and versatility of the S5?  I’ve toyed with the idea of a GT-R, but those things are now almost $130K here (taxes in).  I am going to have a hard time justifying spending $100K on anything given the (i) state of the roads (i) lack of parking lot manners (iii) inadequacy of driver training and (iv) lack of traffic violation enforcement for anything other than speeding in a straight line on an empty road.

Do I insist on AWD?  I think it’s brilliant. especially after driving the G35 (not to mention having to dig it out of the driveway numerous times).  Do I suck it up, put on my big boy pants and get a 9114S?  Do I buy a winter AWD vehicle like a used FJ Cruiser and then look for a three season, perfectly balanced, gently used and good for the occasional track day, as yet to be determined, second car?  I find myself looking at 993 Turbos online fairly often.

This isn’t about money.  It is, however, about smart money.  I’m barely over 40, gainfully employed, have my own hair and am financially secure.  That said, I don’t need a bright orange lambo in the driveway in order to impress the neighbours, the ladies or both.

Steve Answers:

I see you are suffering from Audi syndrome. Symptoms include but not limited to…
  1. Bitching about the lack of reliability.
  2. Bitching about the cost of repair.
  3. Delusions of grandeur involving even more expensive vehicles… all of which have abysmal ownership costs.
  4. Inability to perform simple addition
  5. Bitching, bitching, moaning, whining, and even more bitching!
So let’s get to the point…do you like the car?
If so then keep it. The maintenance costs will likely cost less than the monthly payment. Plus if we’re talking about ‘smart money’ then leasing should be as far away from your vocabulary as Mercury is from Pluto.

I would look at lowering the overall costs by opting for a good independent shop that specializes in Audis. Subscribe to a few forums that are Audi-centric. Figure out what parts companies offer high quality replacements for the lackluster and under-engineered components… and have at it.

Sajeev Answers:

Wow, that’s a nice list of things to fix under warranty! You and Jack Baruth can trade war stories on your S5 mechanical woes, except he dumped the green monster pictured above.  He wisely moved onwards and upwards to Panther Love…via Lincoln Town Car Signature Limited, son! (HINT- HINT)

We all know that modern German cars are absolute crap relative to their Japanese and American counterparts.  Fine.  But I am still dumbfounded as to why modern German cars eat through control arms in the infancy of their lives. Two Benzes in the Mehta family, a friend’s BMW, another friend’s VW, and your Audi. And here I was bitching because the complex suspension in my Lincoln Mark VIII needed a full rebuild after 10 years and 130,000 miles on the road!

Short answer? Just lease another Audi. You need them, and I don’t know if a BMW will charm you enough to justify jumping ship. I suspect your gut is telling you the same thing, especially if you love AWD as much as I envision.

As to your reference of smart money?  Join me in the ranks of stupid cheap Ford Ranger/Toyota Tacoma ownership, but go ahead and spring for a 4×4. Keepin’ it too real?  Stick with the four ring brand, and buy according to your pocketbook and what has the sweetest lease deals at the time of your visit to the dealership.


Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
]]> 86
Review: 2011 Audi S5 Fri, 01 Apr 2011 18:23:32 +0000

Everyone hates the BMW M3. If you need proof of that, simply look at the sheer number of times auto manufacturers compare their latest wares to the M3. The green-eyed monster is alive and well for a reason: the M3 is a performance legend whether or not you agree it’s the performance king. The M3 is Elvis, King Arthur, Robin Hood and the Fountain of Youth all rolled into one. The seemingly insurmountable task of dethroning the M3 encourages all manner of attempts from every unlikely angle of the automotive world from the former Volvo V70R to the Nissan 350Z. In Audi’s corner: the S5 coupe.

Audi has had BMW in its sights for some time, but the A5/S5 is the first real shot across the performance coupe bow in a while. Back in 2007 Audi’s R&D department seemed to suffer from the same issue Volvo was up against in 2004: designing a vehicle to battle E46 M3 instead of the soon-to-be-announced E92 M3. When you look at the S5 in this light, it makes sense that Audi didn’t deliberately take a 354HP V8 to a 400+ horsepower fight. In attempt to perhaps make up for the power shortcomings, Audi revised the S5 gently in 2010 bringing a revised telematics system (the third generation MMI), redesigned lamps and a new trick active sport differential to the party. At just about the same time, BMW announced more appropriate S5 competition in the form of the 335is. Coincidence? You decide.

Stylistically, the Audi S5 is the farm girl with perfect skin compared to the airbrushed fashion models from BMW and Mercedes. The flowing lines are undoubtedly sexy however slightly plain in comparison to the crazy bulges, flares and creases worn by the competition. For 2010 the only changes to the exterior are new LED tail lamps bringing the S5 up to date with the rest of the Audi lineup.

Inside, Audi’s recent goth trend continues unabated. Henry Ford would be proud of Audi’s interior design color palatte; buyers can have whatever color dashboard, center console, doors and carpets they desire, as long as it’s black. The monochromatic theme was slightly broken up in our tester by the creamy “Silk Napa Leather” covering everything that wasn’t plastic. Although you can opt for beige, brown or red leather, the majority of the interior will always be black. While I do appreciate a dark interior, the all-black style and high beltline may turn off some buyers. Still, interior components are all first rate in terms of feel and the available birch wood trim adds much needed warmth to the interior. Compared to the M3 and 335is, Audi’s interior parts are all of similar quality, but BMW’s more liberal use of color and optional trim allow buyers to break up the vast expanses of soft-touch plastics in a way only the more expensive Audis allow.

Audi shoppers I spoke with were confused by the S5 coupe and s5 cabriolet, so allow me to explain. Despite the fact that the S5 coupe and S5 cabrio are basically the same car, the drivetrain is totally different. The S5 coupe is motivated by ye olde 354HP 4.2L V8 that has been Audi’s V8 of choice for some time coupled to a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, whereas the S5 sans-top benefits from Audi’s latest 3.0L supercharged V6 engine and a 7-speed DSG.

Despite the slight horsepower reduction vs the 4.2L V8 (333HP & 325lb-ft vs 354HP & 325lb-ft) the only major downside to the 3.0T is the distinct reduction in aural satisfaction caused by the missing cylinders. The upside to the new engine and transmission can readily be seen in the 0-60 times (5.1 as tested for the coupe vs 5.2 according to Audi for the cabrio) and in the significantly better mileage; 17/26 vs 14/22 for the V8. On the surface it sounds like the V8 is the better engine for the job, but the topless S5 weighs as much as a BMW 740i tipping the scales at 4310lbs almost 400lbs heavier than the coupe. While the aural purists may welcome the continuation of the V8 in the S5, I’d take the supercharged six any day.

When it comes time to hit the gas pump the 4.2L V8 proves to be a thirsty companion, I averaged a lowly 18.1 MPG over 800 miles (80% highway) with my first tank coming in at 14.6MPG. Compared to the 23.6 MPG average I recorded in the BMW 335is tester I had back in 2010, or the claimed 26MPG highway average of the S5 cabrio. Buyers should consider their gas budget before purchasing. Does that make the S5 coupe’s V8 a liability? Yes and no. If V8 sound is what you desire in a car, then look no further; the 4.2L V8’s swan song is one of the best.

Pricing and Quattro have long been Audi’s two major selling points, so how does the S5 coupe stack up? Well, $53,650 is your rock-bottom starting price (ouch). This will get the bare-bones buyer an S5 nicely featured with Quattro AWD, xenon headlamps, rain sense wipers, Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) without navigation, automatic climate control and Bluetooth. Stepping up to the Prestige model for $59,550 adds keyless entry and ignition, Bang & Olufson audio system, navigation and the third-generation MMI navigation system. Our “Prestige” tester rang in at a whopping $64,375with a 6-speed manual and the $3,950 Audi Drive Select system. A comparably equipped M3 (keeping in mind the M3 is of course RWD only) rings in around 10K more before dealer markup and the335is is more or less similarly priced when you adjust for option package content. It should be noted that the Infiniti G37x AWD rings in a veritable bargain at $49,575 (comparably equipped) but its AWD system just isn’t as nimble as Audi’s Quattro.

Speaking of that third-generation MMI, while I appreciate the ability to manipulate all the various features while in motion, (mostly because I value my right to fiddle with buttons more than my own life) I do put some value in a vague attempt to make a system inherently safer regardless of your decision to fiddle. Despite revising the MMI controller to include a mini-joystick disc on top of the MMI controller, they have done nothing to address the ergonomic flaw in the button and knob layout. While you can change the volume on the steering wheel and voice command is available for some functions, I found myself spending a great deal of time looking down at the array of buttons surrounding the MMI dial and hunting for the volume knob. Still, the system’s menus are fairly intuitive and as easy to learn as much of the competition but I found the addition of the joy-stick like disk on top of the MMI knob more of a hindrance than a feature. iPod and USB device integration is very good allowing control from the MMI screen or the color screen between the tach and speedo, but it would be nice if the voice command system extended to at least minimal iPod control, after all a $14,000 Fiesta can do it.

Options and gadgets aside, it’s the drive that the S5 is all about. Audi’s clutch and shifter action is close to my definition of perfect: short shifts and a slightly firm clutch. While straight line performance and handling are not up to M3 standards, the V8 has excellent low-end grunt (something missing from the G37X, 335is and even the S5 cabrio) and epic, pucker-free grip. On my second day with the S5 the heavens opened and my rain gauge recorded 8 inches in 50 hours, this is where the Quattro system in the S5 went from fun to amazing.

There is of course a reason I’m partial to AWD; no matter how many clinics I attend I’m still a moron with RWD in an oh-shit-I-made-my-ass–spin-out-of-control kind of setting. AWD? It’s a cinch. Does that make the S5 a car that you can easily overdrive? Maybe, but that’s between you and your insurance carrier. Of course not all is rosy in Quattro-land, aside from binding in certain tight parking lot maneuvers, the AWD system makes the steering feel heavy and isolated at times. Personally, I think the increased traction is a worthwhile tradeoff but purists are bound to disagree.

A quick web search indicates that many reviews deride the S5 as a nose-heavy porker. While the S5 is undoubtedly nose heavy compared to the balanced 335is, Audi has given this little piggy a new active rear differential. Several reviews imply the general public would not benefit from this new trick torque shifter, but as often happens on TTAC: I beg to differ with the “mainstream press”. A quick trip to the local Audi dealer to wring an S5 with the active diff (our tester was not so equipped) for a quick flog on slippery mountain roads yielded surprising results.

While I would not say it turns the S5 into a tail-happy M3, it certainly does make the S5 a great deal less understeer-prone leading to a surprisingly well balanced personality in slides. This feat is accomplished with a computer controlled hydraulic rear diff that can torque vector, sending power to the outside rear wheel in a turn whenever it pleases. The S5 won’t ever feel like a 3 series, but when you stab the gas it does allow enough tail wagging fun to satisfy most drivers while maintaining epic grip and something of a safety factor. It’s this ratio of grip-to-effort that makes the S5 so rewarding behind the wheel. The M3 may have superior power, but for those of us that aren’t professional drivers, 400+HP and RWD can leave you with this sneaking suspicion that your car is trying to kill you.

At the end of the day the S5 remains something of an expensive niche vehicle. Even if it had an extra 100 horses under the hood, the S5 will really never be M3 competition, it’s just too heavy. If you want balls-out, power sliding performance and the thrill of RWD: the M3 reigns supreme. But if you are interested in something that maintains its driving personality rain or shine, the S5 trumps BMW’s 335is any rainy day. The only fly in the S5’s ointment? The V8. The problem is deeper than just weight and power; with new CAFE numbers looming it’s clear that the cabrio’s supercharged V6 is the right dance partner for the S5 coupe, so if you want a V8 Coupe with AWD to tackle the next snowpocalypse: get one while supplies last, the rest of us will wait for the S5 3.0T coupe.

Audi provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for the review.

Performance statistics as tested:

0-30: 2.0 seconds

0-60: 5.2 seconds

Average economy: 18.1MPG overall

Facebook followers. Neal S: If AWD is what you seek, then yes $15K more than a mustang 5.0 is worth it. If you just want fast, get the ‘stang. Kevin F: Yes you can, the price for refinement is at least $15K.Daniel L: Understeer is really not that bad, yes it is there if you REALLY push it, but 99% of drivers will never notice. S curves are fine until the limit, at the limit the active diff helps calm the beast.

IMG_1746 IMG_1752 IMG_1759 IMG_1753 IMG_1747 IMG_1748 IMG_1757 IMG_1761 IMG_1751 IMG_1754 IMG_1760 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_1762 IMG_1758 IMG_1763 IMG_1749 IMG_1750 IMG_1756 IMG_1755

]]> 52
Bye Bye Green Audi Tue, 14 Sep 2010 14:30:20 +0000

Two months ago I wrote about the rather bizarre manner in which the drooling idiots of the world reacted to my Audi S5 and the eBay auction of same. Here are some of my favorite comments:

How to spoil a good looking car with a cheap paint job! Boak!!

looks very cheap and shitty in that stupid green

oh no no no looks like the ugky duckling of a grass patch

While you guys are sitting idle saying “do not want” I’ll wait for this car to drop in price then buy it and paint it a respectable color.

Looks like a watermelon on wheels….this is going to be a tough sell.

Were they correct?

Of course not. I’ve been relatively quiet about this until today, but I am pleased to announce that early in August I sold the S5 to a rather discerning fellow on the Left Coast. Although there were a few mitigating factors added to his bid — I had the car Audi Certified at a dealership and replaced some rather expensive wear items — it also pleases me to note that no other S5 of similar mileage and condition has fetched anything like the same money. Most people who buy used German cars are looking to save a buck, but this fellow was perfectly aware of the wait and hassle involved in doing an Exclusive-color S5 and simply wanted to save time.

My broker, Auto Adrenaline‘s principal Jody Moggenberg, predicted early on in the process that this car would be sold in a private transaction. Jody reached out to his network of high-net-worth individuals and simply let them know the car was available. In that rarefied world, cars must be unique to be worthwhile; he’s currently brokering an “Azzurro California Blue” F430 Scuderia, a nearly perfect, low-mileage DeLorean, and a Switzer-prepped 997 Turbo with over eight hundred horsepower at the wheels. It took him about two weeks to put the deal together, and before I knew it my S5 had been whisked away to San Francisco. The only thing that kept the deal from being perfect for everyone involved: the buyer didn’t need or want my Borbet wheels and Dunlop winter tires. Oh well. Those, I think, will sell on eBay because the average twentysomething S5 owner who lives with his indulgent parents and makes the payments with his McJob can put them on his silver-with-black-interior “whip”, yo.

I’ll miss the Audi; it took me everywhere from the Deep South to the “CTS-V Challenge” television show. The fact that I put 33,000 miles on it in 19 months, however, made me realize that I needed something better-suited to my odometer-rolling lifestyle. Did I mention that I drove nearly 35,000 miles on my Porsches, and 7,000 miles on my second Phaeton, during the same period?

I hope the story of the Audi’s quick and fairly-priced sale encourages others to go out and make some fearless choices with their cars. The entire world doesn’t have to be “griege”. Not every choice you make has to be made with one eye on what everyone else is doing. I found it amusing that my pal Nick Salvatore from Speed:Sport:Life took delivery of his “Glut Orange” S5 right as I was selling my green one:

I don’t know what he’s thinking! LOL FAILZ! ALL AUDIS SHOULD BE SILVER BECAUSE THAT IS THE COLOR THEY ALL ARE IN THE GERMANY I HAVE NEVER VISITED OR TAKEN ANY TIME TO LEARN ABOUT! I hope Nick finds ownership of a one-of-a-kind car to be as fun, rewarding, and interesting as I found my time with the green one to be.

For the month after the Audi left, I pressed my pair of modern Porsches into service as daily drivers. They’re now both filthy inside and out. The Boxster is showing a Check Engine light; the 993 is down to the metal cords on the inside of its rear Goodyears. It was time for me to find another car. This one’s far more conventional than the last one, but I expect to be just as satisfied with it. And it contains real Panther…

]]> 66