2015 Audi S5

the 2015 audi s5 now this review will also cover the a5 as well as the rs5 in some small amount but we’ll be focusing primarily on this s5 in terms of overall design you can think of the s5 the rs5 and the a5 as the coupe version of a hybrid between the Audi a4 and the Audi a6 in that respect this is very much like the Lexus RC and RCF Howdy’s design language is typically restrained and elegant and that’s true for the s5 as well even though this is the 333 horsepower version the rs5 gets a slightly different front dent but it’s not boyracer like you’d expect out of something perhaps like the

Cadillac ats-v or even perhaps the mercedes-benz c-class coupe I think the c-class coupe does have a more aggressive front end but I think this is the most attractive in the segment part of why I think the a5 is the most attractive entry in this segment is this side profile it is a very attractive style to my eye but it’s also very simple very much like the front and the rear of the a5 if you’re wondering why the a5 side profile looks a little bit different than the other entries in the segment the reason is all under the hood and we’ll explain that when we dive under there and talk about

engines the rear of the a5 s5 and rs5 should be very familiar to you if you’ve owned or seen any recent outtie product that’s because Audi tends to like the one sausage in different lengths school of design I think it’s very attractive back here we have these red tail lamp modules unfortunately we don’t get Amber turn signals in the United States and for the s5 we get quad exhaust tips overall

the rear is again styled very elegantly but very simply you’ve probably heard some reviewers talk about the Audi front-wheel drive proportions so we need to talk about the way the drivetrain is

designed in out equatorial products I’m specifically talking about a 4 a 5 a 6 a 7 8 8 Audi products because the a3 is a little bit different well it’s true that many Audi models start out as front-wheel drive vehicles the platform was actually designed for Audi permanent all-wheel drive system called Quattro Audis Quattro system really operates very similarly to the mercedes-benz 4matic or

BMW xDrive system with one key difference that key difference is that outtie puts the transfer case and the front differential inside the same case as the transmission so even though this uses a the same ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that we find in the BMW 4-series this one has that all-wheel drive system componentry built into the case and the BMW system it’s outside the case daddy

quattro system is the reason for this shape because the all-wheel drive system is all integrated in that transmission case that means the transmission can’t end behind the front axle so the transmission actually ends slightly in front of the front axle and the engine is entirely in front of the front axle in a BMW 4-series for instance the engine is almost entirely behind the front axle the

6-cylinder models a little bit of the engine is in front but most of it is behind even in the all-wheel-drive models now the reason I’m talking about this is all down to weight balance because the engine is entirely in front of the front axle it means that this vehicle has a weight balance that’s closer to 60/40 than 50/50 and the BMW 4-series in most versions is right around 50/50 from this

angle you can really see what I mean because the front axle is right around here right around the strut towers and the entire engine is in front of that portion of the vehicle now that does mean on the flipside the engines easier to work on that an engine that would be jammed all the way towards the back of the firewall the a5 starts out with a 2 liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine

producing 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque then an engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a ZF 8-speed automatic the s5 gets this 3 liter supercharged v6 engine producing 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque it’s mated by default to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic the rs5 gets Audi’s 4.2 liter v8 engine producing 450 horsepower and 317 pounds of torque and it’s made it only to the 7-speed DSG I’ll let you refer to the fuel economy chart on the side of your screen but one of the big takeaways here is that you

can get the manual transmission in the 2 liter and 3 liter versions of the a5 and s5 that’s getting a little bit unusual in this segment in fact these are the default transmissions you actually pay extra for the automatic transmission it’s a little bit different over there with the BMW where it’s a no-cost option to actually get the manual transmission the automatic is technically standard the Lexus

RC and RCF are automatic transmission only I’m going to give front seat comfort 10 out of 10 points we are in the s5 which does give us this four-way adjustable lumbar support we also have this extending fine cushion and a wide range of adjustability although we do not have an adjustable headrest it is fixed into place we also have a tilt telescopic steering column with a large range of

motion and like many audi products the front seat goes very far back in its tracks meaning that it’s a lot easier for taller drivers especially to find an ideal driving position as you’d expect from a vehicle in this price range the front passenger seat has the same range of motion as the driver’s seat the audi has slightly less room in the back seat than you’ll find in the 4 series or the mercedes-

benz c-class beginning in the rear is very much the same getting in and out of the rear is made a little bit easier by this automatic electric seat you just press the button right there it scoots all wet to the front of its track to make it easier to get in and out of the back and then we press the button to pull the seat back again rear seat comfort in this segment comes in at around 8 out of 10 points I

realize that sounds a tiny bit high this is a little bit less comfortable than you’ll find in the BMW 4 Series right about the same as the mercedes-benz c-class a little bit more comfortable than the Lexus RC one thing that’s done very nicely back here however is the fit and finish the materials quality we also get a very large softly padded center armrest with a storage cubby right there we get large cupholders which are a little bit surprising in the back of a German vehicle this is a four seat vehicle so there’s no center seatbelt and we also get a ski pass-through in the back that makes this

a little bit more practical than the simple 60/40 folding seat backs you find in some of the vehicles of course this also folds in a 60/40 fashion right like that and we have a very very large cargo pass-through to the trunk the one thing unfortunately that is lacking back here is Headroom my head is touching the ceiling you do have to crane it to one side in order to sit back in the seat one

thing I found a little bit disappointing in the a5 and s5 is that we have a cargo area that’s a little bit smaller than you’ll find in the BMW 4 Series BMW 4 Series has just under 16 cubic feet of storage space in this vehicle we have just under 13 on the bright side however if you get the a5 the s5 or the rs5 convertible we don’t lose quite as much trunk space because it is a soft top not a hard

top still there is more than enough room to fit 24-inch roller bags and 26 inch roller bags we can even put them on their side right like that we have hinges that do impact the trunk volume however they are nicely and off to the side we have released handles for the rear seatbacks back here so you can do that from either inside the vehicle or right here in the trunk under the cargo load

for you won’t find any additional storage however you will find a spare tire over all the s5s trunk gets 8 out of 10 points my exclusive trunk comfort index I think that the convertible version gets 9 out of 10 points because it is a reasonably sized cargo area also have a nice helper handle here to help you close the trunk lid and a very nicely done emergency escape release starting at our interior tour on the ceiling we do have a slightly translucent fabric right here for the sunroof that’s not my preference I would prefer something that was a little bit more opaque we help give me a little bit

less of a headache and can make the interior a little bit cooler in the Sun moving down from that we have adjustable height headrests for the rear passengers fixed height headrests for the driver and the front passenger and fixed height seatbelts there as well because we’re in an S 5 we have combination Alcantara and leather front seats with s5 embossed in the leather section right there we

also get a little bit more adjustability with an extending thigh cushion that is manual one thing to know about Alcantara is that it can pill if you do rub it a great deal so be careful when you clean it the front door panels are mostly soft touch plastic although we do get an all Qatar insert right there in the center you will find some hard plastics inside that storage bin on the bottom like most

Audi’s the design theme is simple and elegant so we don’t have any aluminum trim or wood trim going on in the dashboard just a soft touch injection molded dashboard hard touch plastic for the cover for the glovebox there moderately science glovebox two tiers you can see that we have one small shelf right up there and then a larger shelf below that in the corner of the glovebox is where

you will find the auxiliary inputs if you want to plug in an iPhone or USB device that’s where you’ll find that connector right there inside the glove compartment moving over to the center of the dashboard we have a center channel speaker right up there up top and then we have our relatively small MMI screen right here and that’s because the audi s5 and a5 and rs5 are a little bit older

than some of the other Aldi models out there so we get a screen that’s a tiny bit smaller then you’ll find in some of the Audi models below the screen we have two large air vents you’ll also find the single slot optical disc player and this little panel right here where you can insert SD card slots and the SIM card or the data services integrated with mm I’m in two zone climate control and our

Audi Drive select right here you’ll notice something unusual in this model and that is we have a six-speed manual transmission even though we also have all-wheel drive and that is somewhat of a rare combination even in the luxury segment we have holders right here for cards or parking tickets we have a small storage cubby right here that’s an ashtray in our particular model 12 volt power

outlet off to the side there electric parking brake start/stop button right over here and then the controls for our outie MMI system below that direct access buttons to the various features telephone navigation media radio etc the for contextual buttons in the system this is a joystick so this rotates around and this toggles up down side to side and clicks down to enter I’ll take the soda out of the

way so you can see that a little bit more clearly now like many European vehicles we do have one cup holder that’s a little bit too small for this particular soda it barely fits in there so you do have to

put that in the larger cup holder behind that we have a softly padded center armrest that slides forward and backward it’ll actually cover that smaller cup holder right there it also ratchets into position to give you a better height for your armrest if we open it all the way up you’ll see that we have a relatively small storage cubby right there that is because we’re in a all-wheel drive vehicle

and the drive shaft has to go somewhere on the driver’s side we have this grey faced four dial instrument cluster you can see that we have these smaller dials over here on the left and the right four engine coolant temperature fuel level in these larger grey speedometers and tacoma ters with a full color multi information display right there in the middle the multi information display is

controlled a number of different ways we have this little scroll wheel right here that clicks to okay and that’s used for going forward and backward on tracks depending on the source that you’re on and then the rest of the functions are actually controlled via this stock right over here on the side we actually have a button right here that toggles up and down on the end of the stock and then a

reset button below that we have a variety of different displays in the system we of course have the typical trip computer information we also have a screen that shows us fuel economy information and how we could drive a little bit more efficiently right now we could save a little bit of gas indeed we turn off the air conditioner for instance a green we’re driving that sort of thing we cycle back

around to various displays in this system and then if we use the wheel on the steering wheel that’s how we can actually change tracks depending on what media device were on for instance if we’re on the Sirius XM interface we can use this to actually change the Sirius XM channel as we scroll through it right like that if we had a USB device or an iPod connected we could use that to change

the tracks on the current playlist as well the mode button on the steering wheel allows us to cycle through to the telephone interface you can see if I keep pressing it it’ll change the different displays right there on the screen so if we’re over here on the telephone interface we have access to our directory dialed numbers missed calls etc zooming out from there you can see that we do

have this Audi flat bottom 3 spoke steering wheel with very aggressive sport grips up here see the controls that we have on the steering wheel as well that mode button and the scroll button I was showing you earlier we have a volume scroll button right over here we click down to mute repeat button for the nav system voice command button and then a lot of the other features are done on

the stalk so again this stock right over here which also controls the windshield wipers controls that trip computer so you have a toggle at the end and then the reset button underneath and then on the right side of the steering wheel we have the stock for our cruise control and then above that way the stock for our turn signals acceleration in the s5 is excellent I ran 0 to 60 in this particular

vehicle in 5.1 seconds now this is the manual transmission model and I wasn’t trying to roast the clutch I’m sure you could get faster if you were willing to do that you will of course get faster repeatable zero to 60 times in the automatic transmission version and for the s5 that would be the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission essentially the same one that you find in the rs5 the same goes

for the BMW competition the fastest version of the 435 I would be the one with the all-wheel drive system and the automatic transmission in terms of comparisons this will go 0 to 60 faster than the RC F sport or the mercedes-benz C 350 that’s the hair slower than the BMW 435i in most versions when it comes to breaking this vehicle performs very well but it is going to be a little bit

behind most of the competition largely because of the curb weight this does weigh a few hundred pounds more than the BMW 4-series about 150 pounds more than a comparably equipped Mercedes c350 steering is an interesting thing to talk about because this has a very different dynamic than the BMW 4-series or even the mercedes-benz C 350 because all versions are all-wheel-

drive and about 60% of the weight is up front a lot of reviewers seem really focused on the weight balance but in you’re not going to notice that unless you’re really pushing your s5 hard the only time the average buyer will notice the front heavy nature of the s5 will be when rotating the tires because the front tires will wear a little bit faster than you’ll find in the four series if the wheels and tires were equal than any of the rear wheel drive vehicles in this segment are going to out handle the s5 simply because of the weight balance in this vehicle we have more weight overall and we have more weight up front than you find in any of the competition however things aren’t equal and Audi really stuffed some wide grippy tires on all four corners of the s5 to compensate once again

I must temper that with a little bit of reality because unless you’re really pushing your vehicle to nine tenths or ten tenths you’re probably not going to notice that yet again front heavy vehicles like

this will tend to understeer rather than oversteer that’s more predictable for the average person the fact that all of these models are all-wheel-drive also aids in the grip and the handling ability of

this vehicle audio system does try and send the majority of the power to the rear under most circumstances but it’s always sending power to all four corners giving it a very sure-footed feel despite the fact that this s5 is an incredible amount of fun and we have been driving it pretty hard this week I’ve been averaging a fairly impressive 23 point five miles per gallon and this is again a permanent all-wheel drive vehicle and we do have a six-speed manual now the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission will give you better real-world fuel economy simply because it’s going to always be

using those higher ratios whenever possible and of course a manual transmission it’s up to me to decide when to shift I’d like to leave it about fifth gear or so the cabin in the s5 is not as quiet as

the BMW 4-series it is a little bit quieter than the RC or the mercedes-benz c-class the noises that do come into the cabin are absolutely excellent however and you can thank the fact that this is a supercharged engine not a turbocharged engine for that because a turbocharged engine has that turbo in the way of the exhausts of the exhaust noises are a little bit different that’s why BMW has

been piping fake exhaust noises in most of their vehicles for a while this vehicle has an excellent exhaust note inside and out because the supercharger is not affecting that exhaust note it’s not in

the way of the exhaust just in the way of the intake it does sound a little bit better as a result the ride is very well composed although I do think that the dynamic suspension system is a good upgrade option our particular model has the optional 19-inch wheels which do affect the ride a little bit but overall this is still a very composed ride I like the way that Audi tends to design the suspensions in their vehicles because they tend not to be as harsh as some of the competition so the Mercedes c63 AMG for instance is just a little bit too harsh for me the m4 again just a hair too

harsh and I think that the Audi versions are a little bit better sorted overall the biggest thing you’ll notice about the s5 when you’re out test driving it really is this supercharged v6 engine because it

makes it feel very different than the BMW or the other turbocharged engines out there there’s zero turbo lag in a supercharged engine design and that’s why out he does it the trade-off for that

instant power is a slightly reduced torque figure because the supercharger does consume some engine power as well as slightly lower fuel economy in general compared to a turbocharged engine

the difference is even more noticeable when we take a look at the Cadillac the Lexus and the Mercedes because we get that instant torque right from idle in a supercharged engine as well as larger overall torque numbers I realize this is going to sound a little bit funny to say but this s5 reminds me a little bit of my Volvo v70 R that I had a few years ago I also had the 6-speed manual in that Volvo I bought that Volvo for the same reason that I am drawn to this x5 this is not the best handling vehicle in this segment but I like the way that it drives I like the way that it seems to fit my

particular preferences it is a little bit front heavy but again that is a little bit more predictable it doesn’t have the rear wheel drive dynamic which you know is a little bit sad sometimes but I think

that overall I’m willing to trade that for this excellent all-wheel drive system there was a time where the Audi option in each segment was the value option and that’s different for the a5 the s5 and the rs5 alike the a5 starts at $40,000 for the 2-liter turbocharged engine and the six-speed manual transmission if you want this s5 that we’ve been testing here that starts at 50 $2,500 again with

the 6-speed manual compared to the Mercedes C 250 and C 350 the a5 and s5 do represent a little bit of a value now we get a few more options in the Mercedes standard than we get in this vehicle

so the price tags end up roughly about the same adjusting for feature content however this will be faster than the Mercedes in both versions both this s5 compared to the mercedes-benz C 350 or the a5 compared to the mercedes-benz C 250 when comparing the vehicles with one another keep in mind that the Audi has standard all-wheel drive but it doesn’t have a standard automatic

transmission and over on the Mercedes side you will find a standard automatic BMWs 428 I starts a little bit more than the base version of this but it is faster now it starts of course in rear-wheel

drive but includes a standard automatic if you were to add an automatic transmission – this will actually be more expensive than a base 428 i the s5 we’re taking a look at right here compares to the BMW 435i the 435i is the same speed or slightly faster depending on the version that you get however it is significantly less expensive than the s5 now interestingly enough and we take a look at

the BMW m4 the m4 is actually less expensive than a starting rs5 admittedly you cannot get all-wheel drive in the m4 and that is standard of course in the rs5 even though the a5 has been around for a while I think that the exterior and the interior look fresher than the Cadillac ATS the Cadillac ATS coupe and the Lexus RC coupe are of course going to be the value entries in this segment the

Lexus RC is a little bit closer to the size of this a5 and s5 than the Cadillac ATS is the ATS coupe is a little bit smaller because it was sized after the last generation BMW 3-series not this current

crop of German sedan and German coupe the Cadillac ATS is probably the most direct and most engaging entry in this segment Cadillac really went after an incredible driving dynamic in the current generation ATS the Lexus RC is direct but it’s not as direct as the Lexus IS it feels a little bit more isolated a little bit more like the current generation BMW 4 Series Cadillac will be offering

an engine lineup that more closely mirrors the German competition whereas Lexus with the RC is only offering two engines a 3.5 liter v6 engine that’s performance wise somewhere between the a5

and s5 and a 5 liter v8 engine that’s really more along the lines of the Audi rs5 all you can’t get all-wheel drive over there in that Lexus RCF depending on how you configure your s5 this will be between four and six thousand dollars more than a BMW 435i and we get features in that 435 that you cannot in the s5 at any price like a heads-up display at the finger writing recognition on the

navigation software etc I have a strong personal preference towards all wheel drive vehicles but the Audi doesn’t give you a choice in that manner so we only have all wheel drive in the s5 BMW does give you that choice with the manual transmission or with the automatic so you can get it in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive any way you slice at the 4 Series is a better handling

vehicle when it comes to absolute numbers if you put identical tires on them they’re going to handle a little bit better than the s5 models that’s simply down to the weight balance now of course I

tend to prefer the way the Audi handles over the way the BMW 4-series handles however I have to admit that the BMW 4-series does handle better overall I’m going to have to give the win in this segment to the BMW 435i because not only is it a slightly better handling vehicle slightly faster to 60 but it’s also a better value than this current generation Audi s5 now that said if my money were

on the line I might be tempted to get the s5 instead of the 435 IX Drive largely because I think this is a slightly more attractive vehicle I also like the fact that it’s less common than the 435i it’s a

little bit more unique out there on the market mostly it’s the looks for me I think this is more attractive inside and out I prefer the interior a little bit better although I do wish this had some of the

features you can get in that 4 Series the value entry in this segment really would be the Cadillac ATS and I think that dead last in this segment I would put the mercedes-benz c-class coupe the C AMG is very fast for sure but the transmission really is not as smooth as the dual clutch transmissions that you find in the s5 or in the rs5 definitely not as smooth as the 8-speed automatic that you find in the a5 or in the BMW 435i the lower end models the c-class are much slower than the corresponding outtie model about a full second or so so the C 350 is going to be a full second slower than this s5 and the C 250 is about a full second slower

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