All The Right Stuff
If you are going to drive an Audi S5 (or for that matter, an A5) be prepared for a lot of attention. This two-door Audi is a head-turner. People recognize it as something special everywhere you go. For 2013, Audi has updated the styling a bit, and at the same time, made a significant engine change, but more on that later.
You’ll easily recognize the 2013 model by its new headlamps. They feature wraparound LED running lights, which look a little spooky when you see them on the road at night. The headlights flank the signature single-frame grille that is wider now, and more clearly defined. As in the past, split-spoke alloy wheels highlight the side view.
On the inside, the well crafted, low-luster, interior gets a few refinements. There’s more brushed aluminum and piano-black trim than before, providing a welcome degree of contrast. Available two-tone leather upholstery adds richness to the cabin. And thankfully, an enhanced Multi Media Interface (MMI), which comes with the optional navigation system, is more user-friendly.
The S5 (as well as the A5) features “2 +2” seating. The driver and front passenger sit in well-contoured, sport bucket seats with plenty of room. Those unlucky enough to sit in back will find nice seats, but very little legroom. However, the seatbacks in the rear do fold down to enlarge the 16.1 cu.-ft. storage area of the trunk.
The S5 comes with a host of standard features, like Bluetooth, Bi-Xenon headlights, satellite radio and 10-speaker audio. But to get the high-tech goodies, you’ll need to order the pricey ($6,650) Prestige package for pushbutton entry/start, blind-spot warning, navigation and premium sound. And if you want more, Driver Assist ($3,250) provides adaptive cruise control, dynamic steering and Audi Drive Select. This last feature enables drivers to alter throttle response, transmission shifts and steering effort, at the press of a button.
However, all this techie stuff doesn’t overshadow the big news for the 2013 S5, which is that the coupe now gets the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that has powered just the convertible up to this point. This engine generates 333-hp, which is 21 horses less than the outgoing 4.2-liter V-8, but it also weighs less than the old motor, so performance is not diminished that much. Sixty-mph can still be reached in less than five seconds. Additionally, the lighter engine is more fuel efficient (21-mpg), although it lacks the marvelous rumble of the V-8. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the coupe; a seven-speed automated manual, the S tronic, is standard on the convertible and optional on the coupe. Both come with Quattro all-wheel drive.
On the road, the S5 driver always feels in complete control. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system provides ample traction to the tires, and torque transfers to the rear wheels as needed, so that the S5 feels like a rear-wheel-drive car. This Audi handles whatever you throw at it with agility and poise. It breezes through twists and turns effortlessly, and has so much grip in the corners, that it almost feels like its running on rails. You might expect that a car with this much handling capability would deliver a harsh ride. This is not the case—the ride is certainly firm, but nor ucomfortable.
The base Audi S5 coupe is competitively priced at $53,195. However, load it up with options, and the price soars. My test car, with Prestige and Driver Assist packages, plus $4,000 in other options, came in at $67,370.