Being in the fold since 2007, it was about time for the Audi S5 to usher in a new generation, and it will do just that for the 2017 model year. With the new generation comes a new, wider front grille, larger corner air inlets on the front fascia, a more muscular hood, and new, thinner taillight units. Inside, the car has gone through a major revamp, sporting an updated instrument cluster, a new infotainment display that sits above the center stack, a new center console, and redesigned door panels. The S5 still sports a 3.0-liter, gasoline-powered engine, but for 2017 it’s been updated to deliver 354 horsepower – a 21-horsepower increase over the previous generation.
As always, the S5 shares a strong amount of its DNA with the Audi A5, but offers up significantly more power in an overall sportier package. As a model that competes with the likes of the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe, Audi had to put in the wrench time to make sure the S5 is more competitive than ever. Part of that time was dedicated to developing an all-new chassis, revised aerodynamics, and shedding a little weight despite having a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.
The Audi S5 doesn’t look vastly different from the A4 but it’s this yellow colour which instantly stands out and makes people stare with admiration. As the A4 isn’t available in this paint shade, the S5 does come across as either a specially painted A4 or something different. The rearview mirrors are finished in silver and the right side mirror is too zoomed for easy rear visibility. For keen eyed viewers, recognising this as the S5 isn’t very difficult as compared to the A4, this model is naturally longer, wider and of course lower (much to our disappointment, more on that later). The difference over the A4 might not be striking but they are in line with the S4 with the changes to the bumpers and grille.
Where the Audi S5 is clearly visible as something different is the coupe design that’s evident at the rear. The roof flows all the way back till the boot as the tail gate is a one piece (both the boot and windshield open in one piece). This also results in the window line being lower and curvier, giving the S5 a striking visual identity. There is of course the S5 badging on the front grille and the boot while the V6T badge sits on the front fender.
The S5 Sportback is something that blends the sporty design with lavishness to offer an experience like no other. It is extremely spacious from inside furnished with comfortable sports seats. However, buyers can opt for ‘S’ Sports seats, which are available as optional. Both seats in the cockpit have electrical adjustment facility along with 4-way lumbar support. Nappa seating upholstery is available as standard, but individuals can choose it from four different color schemes. Also comes as standard is the contrasting stitching and S5 embossing on seats. It indeed has a driver oriented cockpit with commanding driving position and ergonomically positioned control switches. It has a smooth dashboard featuring an attractive center fascia loaded with all the advanced equipment. The attractive factor of the insides is the instrument cluster that has two analogue gauges along with an LCD display integrated to it. The steering wheel has conventional three-spoke design featuring metallic inserts and S5 emblem. Also there are illuminated control switches for operating the audio system as well as calls. Another highlight of the cabin is the floor console that houses gearshift selector along with engine start-stop switch and other functions.
When talked about comfort, this company certainly offers the best of facilities. It is installed with a three zone, deluxe air conditioning system that creates a pleasant ambiance. This has separate controls for front and rear along with adjustable temperature and air distribution settings. Meanwhile, the air vents spread air in the whole cabin thus, adding to their convenience. The cruise control system is useful to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. The Bang and Olufsen sound system is a plus point. It comes with high quality loudspeakers that gives brilliant listening experience. The driver information system with a high resolution color display screen provides other useful updates. There are electrically adjustable front seats with lumbar support and the rear one gets folding facility. It has a storage package that includes cup holder in the rear center armrest, lockable glove box, and space under front seats. Besides these, the Audi drive select aids in adjusting various characteristics of the vehicle. It comes in different modes like auto, comfort, dynamic and efficiency. There are sunvisors available at front, while the heated outside mirrors are electrically foldable, adjustable and has automatically dimming with memory functions. The slide and tilt glass sunroof with a tinted safety glass, welcomes cool air and sunlight inside. In addition to all these, it also has a multi functional steering wheel, bottle holders, Bluetooth interface, front intermittent wipers, power windows, and a few others.
The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 from the S4 is brilliant in its ability to go from smooth and refined daily driver to savage beast depending on how firmly you flex your right foot. Even the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox does a great job in traffic, scooting you around with minimal intrusion. In fact, leave the Drive Select switch in ‘Efficiency’ mode and don’t go too hard on the gas, and it can even be quite frugal – so yes, it can conceivably be used every day.
However, it is a performance car at the end of the day, so you’ll want to know how it feels to unleash all of that 328bhp and 44.86kgm, right? Well, because it’s supercharged rather than turbocharged, there’s no lag before all that torque comes in. In Dynamic mode particularly, it’s always raring to go, and the gearbox will lock you into the heart of the powerband, shifting down quickly and intuitively to do so. The paddles work really well too, but honestly, the gearbox does a good enough job all on its own. It feels properly quick too, and Audi’s 5.1-second claimed time for 0-100kph is perfectly believable. That sense of speed is also helped by the nice little purr this motor emits – again, not a raucous growl like you’d get from an RS5, but just enough to let you know it means business.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The Audi S5 doesn’t get adaptive suspension so the Drive Select doesn’t alter the suspension which shouldn’t be the case considering this is a fully imported car. The ride quality is very good and the S5 is properly usable as a daily driver. The suspension being on the stiffer side works quite well and also ensures high speed stability is excellent. Since the S5 is a CBU model, no changes have been made to the ride height and one has to be extremely careful over bumps as it does tend to touch on big speed-breakers.
The handling of the Audi S5 is quite good, the chassis is old and that can be felt as it’s not razor sharp and the steering feels a bit lacking in feel, it’s just not as communicative as you would expect a S badged car to be. Power is channeled to all wheels via the quattro AWD system and the ESP isn’t intrusive in Sports mode, so you can do aggressive launches and also slide around a bit, in control of course. The brakes are strong and help shed speeds quickly
SAFETY AND SECURITY ;
This automaker has offered all its models with some advanced and vital security aspects and this one, is no exception. It comes with anti-slip regulation that increases traction and minimizes spinning of wheels. There are full size dual front, side and head airbag system available to safeguard occupants in case of an impact. The electronic stabilization control helps the vehicle to remain steady even when driving at high speed. Meanwhile, the electronic differential lock functions by braking automatically on surfaces that are slippery. There are three point inertial reel seat belts for all occupants with belt force limiters and tensioners at front. Also, it has the advanced anti lock braking system along with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. This is helpful to prevent skidding besides improving braking performance in any road condition. The parking system plus with reversing camera is another aspect that aids in easy and safe parking. It is an acoustic and visual parking system that displays the image of area behind this machine. Apart from all these, the list also includes rear defogger, high mount stop lamp, crumple zones, door ajar warning, seat belt reminder and many others that gives enhanced protection.
It’s about time Audi updated the A5 and S5 lineup, and it did a fair job bringing together new technology, better comfort and luxury, and a more aggressive front end. But the S5 still looks way too much like the lesser A5 for my taste. Sure, there are minor differences in the front and rear exterior, and there’s a fine list of standard features for the S5, but I still think Audi could differentiate the models a little more. That said, the new S5 should soldier on for the next six or seven years before Audi drops a new-gen model, and a facelift won’t be in the cards until the turn of the decade. Even if the S5 is quite similar to the A5, I’ll still take the S5 over the A5 any day – that 354 horsepower is enough to sell me on the more expensive model.