By on April 1, 2011

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.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!


54 Comments on “Review: 2011 Audi S5...”

  • avatar

    Despite the fact that I love convertibles, I’d take the coupe just to get the V8.  That V6 is no slouch, but there is nothing like the sound of a V8.
    Beautiful car too, but I never understood the idea behind that half-hearted “sunroof”.  Give me a proper sunroof that opens, or don’t give me one at all.

    • 0 avatar

      As noted in my review of the S4 here, the V6 is soulless compared to the V8. I’ve yet to drive one of these with the active differential, but without it the handling lacks character as well.
      One more advantage of the V8: the water pumps used with the V6 have been failing. This cased the repair frequencies of Audis V6s to shoot through the roof recently, based on responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.
      To look up stats for various cars, and sign up to help with the survey:

    • 0 avatar

      Karesh is correct about the water pumps, but as of mid-2010 Audi changed over to a new water pump that corrects this problem.  Of course, this still leaves thousands of 3.0T and 2.8 V6s out there with this unit which detonates.
      The good news is that these pumps seem to be failing very early on, so at worst you are looking at the inconvenience of being stranded when it blows up.  I believe that Audi has actively begun replacing the bad units as owners come in for regular maintenance.  I need someone to confirm that if they can.

  • avatar

    I could buy this car just for the looks.
    It makes all the other coupe´s look plain (BMW 3-series, MB E-series), or just plain ugly(Cadillac CTS)

  • avatar

    This is an exceptional automobile, but it probably will not be mine.
    I can steer my AMG with my right foot. It consistantly gets 26 +/- on the highway. The new Pilot Sport All Season tires go through the Virginia snow as well as anything I have ever driven.
    The Audi is slightly quicker.

  • avatar

    I prefer RWD balance in applications like this with a set of Blizzaks on call for the 10% of the time they are really needed for 90% of the USA.

  • avatar

    If Audi offered this car in RWD, I’d consider it. Until then, it’s BMW.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Or you can buy the A5, badge engineer it to look like the S5, and only your mechanic and insurance agent will know for sure!

  • avatar

    Stylistically, the Audi S5 is the farm girl with perfect skin compared to the airbrushed fashion models from BMW and Mercedes.
    The farm girl is much more my style, except that this one costs $60k.  The A5/S5 looks even better in person than in photos.
    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.
    Another great line, but is this any different than a hot Mustang or CTS-V?

  • avatar
    Sam P

    The photo location looks suspiciously like the top floor of a certain park & ride in Bellevue, WA (just off I-90).

  • avatar

    Would the Volvo S60 R have been the closer relative to an M3? The S70 R is a wagon while the 60 was a sedan.
    Either way, the S5 is a sexy piece of metal. It may lose to an M3 on the track, but for daily commuting in various weather scenarios I think I’d roll with the slower Quattro than the super beast M3.
    I’ll have cross my fingers for a prettier S6 though as I need the second set of doors.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Rob,  Probably, but Volvo still pushed the V70R as an M3 alternative with a bigger cargo area. Go figure. The point being that while the R was an interesting option vs the older M3, the modern M3 blows it away. (The often rumoured S60 T6 R-Design with power pack bumping power up to 330+HP will still be a generation behind in performance, but vs an S4, could be a fun comparison.)

  • avatar

    Or you could get two extra doors and the 3.0T now in the S4.  As someone who’s not too big a fan of the large coupe, I’d opt for this.  IMHO, the sedan has better proportions, but I’m sure I’ll be disagreed with.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree.

      The A4 (and A8 for that matter) almost seems to have a sloping beltline from some angles. It looks weird, it looks like every other Audi and moreover if you don’t option some sweet wheels it looks very plain IMO. It probably doesn’t help my perception that every accountant and junior consultant here in the Netherlands seemingly decided they absolutely need to have one (in base diesel trim, of course) solely because every other accountant and junior consultant has one too. I’ll take a 3-series thanks.

      The A5 OTOH…is pretty. Walter did good work. It’s almost pretty enough to overlook the fact that it is still essentially a frontheavy FWD understeery beast.

    • 0 avatar

      This color definitely does not do it justice though. In fact I doubt there are many colors that would look worse on this car.

    • 0 avatar

      The design of the A5/S5 really is vastly superior to the A4.  For the best of both worlds, Europeans get the A5 Sportback which essentially is a 4-door A5 – so you get 80-90% of the A4’s functionality and the significantly better looking (wider/lower) A5 design.  If they offered it here in the US, I’d be all over it.
      Audi’s current strategy is to offer the A4/A6/A8 as fairly conservative vehicles that play to their base.  The niche models (A5/Sportback/A7) are going to be the sexy models that attract those looking for something slightly more unique.  I think it’s a good strategy, personally, considering the new MLP platform they’re utilizing gives them the manufacturing efficiencies to make it profitable to do so.

  • avatar

    After seeing the M3 kicking the RS5’s arse on a wet(!) track in one of the latest TopGear episodes, any doubts I might have had about which one I’d have has been taken away. Sure, the stig is a pro, but it’s not just that the M3 was about a second quicker, it’s also that it looked very poised on track while the Audi was understeering into oblivion at about every turn, despite all the trickery Audi has tried to kill the understeer on the S5 and RS5. It was just painfully obvious that the thing just didn’t want to turn in.

    It is very pretty though. I see a lot more of these on the roads here than E92s. Just happened to see an RS5 yesterday crawling through the neighbourhood and it did make a sweet noise too. Still, if I wanted to get a base model german coupe I’d choose an A5, but if the budget allowed it, the 335 or M3 would be my choices (Unfortunately, especially the more powerful engined models are easily twice their US prices here so those will remain a (too) costly luxury for most).

  • avatar

    For a while there I thought not only are you going to compare this to the M3, but you we’re going to declare it a better performance car.

    WHEW {wiping imaginary sweat from brow}. I’m so glad you didn’t. In fact, I don’t think its fair to the Audi to even be compared to Bavarian bahn burner. It falls short in so many ways but, compared to a 335i, the Audi shines and may even come out on top depending on what you’re looking for.

    In my opinion, when talking about performance cars,  Audi comes in with price tags that don’t match their performance. This car is a looker but I’d pass.

    One other thing. It’d be nice to see Audi make a commitment to better reliability/dependability. At least get to average. After all this is the “Truth In Engineering” car manufacturer, n’est-ce pas??

    • 0 avatar

      You said it far more diplomatically then I ever could have and I agree whole heartedly. It is a shame because I do like the design styles and interior appointments.

      I went to the Houston Car Show a couple of months back. I was really looking forward to sitting in the new A8. It did not happen. The doors were locked so no one could enter the vehicle. All the S cars were on turntables.

      This pretty much sums up Audi’s marketing strategy. We want you to buy them but only if you do not shop them.

  • avatar

    The S5 is by far the best looking Audi of the litter and the V8 is an aural delight. However, the problem is the price not compared to the M3 or even 335is – but against the lighter, faster, more agile and more economical 335 coupe which is 10K cheaper any way you look at it.
    To me the A5 2.0T would be a much better proposition – lighter, more efficient and just as beautiful and doesn’t break the bank.

  • avatar

    I’ve never liked BMWs, and I personally think the Audis look so much better than them. But my stereotype toward BMW drivers being total d-bags was only reinforced today when I was rear ended by an older M3. He hit me at maybe 10-15 mph. It only took him about a second to get out of his car and start yelling at me “You were in the wrong lane why didn’t you change blah blah…” (tuned him out)
    A cop arrived within seconds, who then arrested the guy for reckless endangerment, I believe, I’m not sure exactly what it’s called when you’re clocked going 90 in a 35, as well as running a red. The officer told me he was pulling out behind him about to pull him over when he hit me. Thank god he had the sense to hit the brakes enough so that the crash wasn’t bad, I only have a slightly sore neck.
    The speeding of course was bad, as well as the crash, but the thing that still sticks in my mind is the guy immediately trying to chew me out…
    I don’t want to stereotype, I know hardly all BMW drivers are jerks, there are plenty that drive Audis too, but an experience like that is something I know will be hard to erase for me. I think my car might be totaled, too, although I was planning to trade it in soon anyway. Sorry for typing a massive paragraph. I do like the M3’s performance and I think it’s a great car. Just wanted to share/vent to somebody. Good article yet again TTAC

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Sorry to hear that the idiot hit you. Too many BMWs fall into the hands of morons who don’t deserve a Nissan Versa. When I drive mine around, I try to practice more courtesy than I normally would in my wife’s Subaru as to not reinforce the “BMW owner” stereotype.

  • avatar

    I own a 2008 S5 with the 6 speed MT, and the above is a pretty damn accurate assessment.  The car just does absolutely everything well, but doesn’t do very many things exceptionally.  Take 3 people AND their equipment to the ski hill without breaking a sweat? Check. Make for a pretty good track day and still drive home in comfort? Check. Swivel necks with ridiculously good looks? Check. Allow you to weave through traffic in a horrendous snow storm? Check. Hell, I’ve fit a TWIN MATTRESS in this car.  Try that in an M3!
    However, at the end of the day this is a Grand Tourer, not a sports car. It’s big, heavy, gets abominable mileage and, in the first generation at least, it does understeer significantly when pushed.  That said, it has gobs of torque, more than enough power, tenacious grip and is amazingly comfortable.
    Now, ask me if I’d own it outside of warranty…..

  • avatar

    You should compare the RS5 to the M3.

  • avatar

    I’m usually a big fan of Audi’s styling, but when I first saw the profile I thought “Civic Si or Kia Forte”.  For fifty large plus, that is not a good thing.

    • 0 avatar

      See it in person.  I don’t see how you could ever mistake this car for a Kia or Civic.  These pictures don’t do it justice.  I think it’s the low perspective.

  • avatar

    Something I think that is pretty significant is this has nothing to do with the M3. S5 is bigger, more of a CLK/650, different intents, actually bought by different people than the M3 or a C63, fatter car, AWD… you say it’s heavy. It’s not the same.
    Pretty VAGy in my opinion.

  • avatar

    the only major downside to the 3.0T is the distinct reduction in aural satisfaction caused by the missing cylinders… While the aural purists may welcome the continuation of the V8 in the S5, I’d take the supercharged six any day.
    I’m reading these words, but I can’t comprehend them.
    If I may (slightly) steal a line from Jonny Lieberman, I want to lick this V8.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of new S4 owners are upset by the complete lack of sound from the 3.0T’s exhaust – it’s probably the biggest complaint I hear about that car (apart from the imploding water pumps).  But, do a Google search for Milltek or APR and 3.0T and you’ll find what a good exhaust changeup can do to that engine. Makes it sound great.

  • avatar

    Supposedly the story is that Audi was going to ditch the V8 as they did in the Cabrio, but their customers and some engineers demanded that the V8 stay. In the next generation car, it’s a safe bet that it will be a V6 under the hood, with the V8 reserved for the RS5.
    Speaking of the next generation, that may be when the Audi truly becomes the performance choice over the BMW. By many accounts, the new A6 is already a better drivers car than the new 5 series. Every new BMW is getting fatter and slower, and just about every review I’ve seen has ripped the new 5’s numb electric power steering system to shreds.
    The A6 meanwhile is lighter, faster, and more nimble than the car it replaces. It’s a safe bet that the next S5 will be considerably lighter and better balanced than the current car. What will happen to the 335?

    • 0 avatar

      Audi steering is far from the best, so nothing gained there. With the new Drive Select system you can seriously dial down the level of assist, but the resulting feel is somewhat artificial.

    • 0 avatar

      “What will happen to the 335?”—-That is the question of the hour. The 335 is BMW’s bread, butter and Karo syrup so hopefully they’ll leave well enough alone (unless they can honestly, HONESTLY, say what they’re doing will make  a better driver’s/performance car).

    • 0 avatar

      Correct – Audi is planning to ditch the V8 for the S5 during the upcoming refresh, which I hear will be a 2012.5 or 2013 model.  They retained it primarily because the marketing positioned the car as a “grand touring coupe”, and they felt that the V8 was necessary in that niche.
      Audi really has improved their chassis dynamics, though the steering could use a bit more work to make it less artificial.  I don’t know if the facelifted models will overcome this, but when the next generation platform makes its way in another 5 years or so I would expect them to push the bar further.

  • avatar

    An Audi S5 could have a Chrysler Slant 6 in it and still be hot.

  • avatar

    It’s kind of funny the author talks about how great the AWD is.  I recently was debating between the A5 and the 328i xdrive coupe.  I ended up going with the 328 for two reasons – 1. I couldn’t find a dealer in the NY area with an A5 AWD to test-drive, and 2. I heard about the reliability and understeer issues and decided I should go with the beamer.  Hell, the Manhattan dealership told me they’d have to go to the docks just to get me an A5 with RWD to test.
    I agree though, the A5/S5 is a gorgeous car to look at.  I definitely like the smooth style in every dimension.  I think it’s difficult to compare to the very aggressive 3 coupe.  The profile is very wide in front to give the illusion of this big car bearing down on you in your rearview mirror, and the back is very low and sporty.  The A5 is very curvy and I think a bit more elegant all around.

    • 0 avatar

      It is true that there is some supply constraint for the A5.  If you want any color other than black or silver, I’d bet that you’d have to order one from the factory.  Perhaps that is a vote of confidence towards supply/demand and resale value.  That being said, when I ordered mine, I was told to expect a 4 month wait and it was only 2.  But other folks have had the opposite happen to their wait times…
      As for the dimensions of the  car, the A5 is definitely wider than the A4 if not also the S4.  Also, the seating position is different.  Compared to the A5, the A4 felt like a much smaller car to me, even though it is more or less the same size.
      As for reliability, I have 18000 miles on mine and it has been flawless.  I read about some clutch, control arm, and oil-burning issues in the first few model years, but obviously I have been unaffected.  I think that TrueDelta has an accurate reflection of the reliability.

  • avatar

    I’d rather buy an M3 than this. I’ll never be in the market for this type of car, but if I was, I’d take the Bimmer.

  • avatar

    A bit OT, but I was wondering if anyone can explain all the costs involved of buying a new car in the US to me…

    When I read these reviews I’m always amazed at how (relatively) cheap cars are in the US. Of course compared to the Netherlands cars are pretty much cheap everywhere, but even compared to Germany, it still quite a difference:

    The MSRP of an M3 for instance is $55900. I know this does not include sales tax applicable in most states, so I think it’s comparable to the German list price minus VAT =(66.800/1.19)=Euro 56134. Obviously the Euro is quite a bit more than the dollar right now, and the car needs to be shipped to the US as well…This struck me as odd but I always thought you guys got better prices so the manufacturers could get volume.

    However, after reading this Audi review I thought I’d check out used prices for the A5 in the US. I first checked Audiusa for the new MSRP and saw the MSRP for the A5 is in the range of 37-45K (plus extra options). Hence, I was expecting the cheapest 08s, considering Audi’s stellar reliabilty reputation in the US *cough* to go for about 25K. Much to my surprise though, a quick search on two sites revealed you can’t have one under about 32K.

    So what’s going on here? Do these cars just hold value that well or have I been missing some hidden cost of purchasing a new vehicle in the US all this time after all.

    In other words, if you live in Texas right now (no sales tax IIRC) and you want to buy a new base model A5 (MSRP $36.900), how much will it actually set you back?

    • 0 avatar

      For the past few years, A5s have had some of the highest resale values of any model.  It is true that Audi has not the greatest reliability either in reality or perception, but I think that the resale value does in part indicate that this model is fundamentally sound for at least two or three years, for whatever that’s worth.
      As for prices, I think that you should be able to get the A5 for invoice or close to it, regardless of whether or not you are ordering the car from the factory.  So, the price of the vehicle would probably be close to $2000 less than MSRP, but you’ll probably make that up plus a few thousand in taxes, tags, and registration, not to mention AudiCare and road hazard insurance, if one opts for those things.

    • 0 avatar

      Ok, thanks for the reply.

      The few thousands in taxes is that just sales tax or do other taxes apply as well?

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    On a racetrack, the S5 has a serious deficiency of pace compared to an M3. Everywhere else, the M3 is an ugly, tacky, deeply unfortunate vehicle.

  • avatar

    Test drove a 335, and CTS Coupe (i figured WTF) before buying a Silver A5 with 19′ wheels (the best looking combo for exploiting it’s lines-IMHO, of course.) The BMW was high strung, the Caddy was surprisingly okay, but the A5 is the perfect porridge. Just right.
    The writer has his/her comparisons a bit turned around.The 3 series is the plain one. The M3, regardless of driving brilliance, and bad-ass look, has become a cliche-a German IROC-Z. The A5 is DeSilva’s masterpiece, and his design will stand the test of time.

  • avatar

    …and that’s the most common response I hear from people who have purchased an A5/S5: it’s juuuust right. Audi is quickly becoming the Apple of automobiles: they know that it is better to engineer its products to do what 85% of the population wants versus try catering to the demands of the 15%.  Case in point, the original iPod.  All of the criticisms from tech blogs and magazines was that it didn’t include an FM tuner, its encoding was less than the competition and didn’t support formats like OGG.
    Well, the reality is that for 85% of the marketplace, Apple hit the sweetspot and gave users a solid, functionally easy to use product that was logically organized with a great interface.  Audi’s product lineup at the moment seems to reflect a similar zeitgeist where they hit a sweet spot that doesn’t necessarily push the envelope in any particular way, but performs its assigned task very competently.
    As much as I think the M3 is a badass car, I know that outside of maybe one or two track days per year it will be solely underutilized.  The A5 on the other hand, will be appreciated daily and is absolutely gorgeous in person.

    • 0 avatar

      I am that 15%, but still prefer Audi since I mod to get it to perform how I want…. Cost is becoming an issue though. Audi used to be a great value vs. BMW, but now, not so much. Too damn heavy too. I’ll wait for a lighter one with the 3.0T. Until then, my hot rodded A4 (which makes as much power as the S5 anyway) will do just fine :)

  • avatar

    All this love for torque-vectoring AWD puts me in mind of the late, unloved 2005-08 Acura RL (which I just happen to own).
    There’s a thread on Acurazine about an owner who dropped a Comptech TL supercharger into his RL — not a tough installation. Pick up a low-mileage example for about $20-25k, spend $5-10k on the supercharger and $1g on the underpublicized factory A-Spec suspenders. You’ve got a sled with understated styling, gorgeous interior, slightly porky weight and fantastic handling, plus Japanese reliability to boot, all for about half the coins.
    Or, do it to a new AWD TL if you don’t have an aversion to ugly.

  • avatar

    I know this article is several yrs old but I am looking for a new commuter car and the S5 of this and the current series is one that appeals to me. Anyone have any experience or knowledge of these and long term maintenance etc.

    I just got rid of my BMW 550 that I firmly believe was sent to this planet to nickel and dime me the moment I ran past the warranty. I have had BMWs many in a row now and I am looking at a possible switch any scoop is appreciated!.

    My current daily drive is an old rigid frame HD that gets a bit gnarly in winter months in SF Bay area. So please be gentle :)

  • avatar

    I have a 2011 S5 v8 coupe, six speed manual coupe. Best car I’ve ever owned.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • threeer: As a longtime Bimmer fan, looking at this makes my heart hurt. Makes me miss my E36…and my...
  • Ol Shel: Edsel asks for a re-evaluation, thinks it got screwed.
  • turbo_awd: Good one, Karen.. Yeah, Covid + crazy wildfires and we had a couple of days of possibly not enough...
  • Old_WRX: “two big nostrils” Maybe the same people who make those eyelash things people put on cars like...
  • mcs: The roadster will be lighter and faster than the plaid S. Hopefully smaller too.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber