New & Used Audi S5: In Depth
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The Audi S5 may be one of the most stylish designs on the road today, but it's also a fairly practical coupe or cabriolet that's part of the best-selling lineup of Audi models. Its close siblings include everything from the S4 sedan to the Allroad wagon, but the S5 sets the performance benchmark with its finely tuned suspension and supercharged V-6 engine. The seriously fast V-8-powered RS5 model is available for anyone who wants more power than the S5's 333 horsepower.
MORE: Read our 2015 Audi S5 page for pricing with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings.
Brand-new in 2008, the S5 went on sale side by side with its platform-mate, the Audi A5. While those coupes arrived with turbocharged four-cylinders and normally aspirated V-6 engines, the original S5 was equipped with a rich-sounding 4.2-liter V-8 with 354 horsepower. Tight tuning, big tires, and visual tweaks completed the identity swap, and the S5 became an instant rival for the BMW M3, with a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
In 2010, Audi updated the S5 lineup by adding a Cabriolet convertible model, one outfitted with a power-folding fabric top. The S5 Cabriolet drew its power from a new 3.0-liter, 333-hp supercharged V-6, connected to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. At the same time, the coupe versions of the S5 stood by the V-8 engine. By 2010, both body styles of the S5 could be equipped with driver-adjustable suspension, steering, throttle, and transmission--Audi calls it Drive Select--and its quattro all-wheel-drive system was updated to split its torque with a bias to the rear wheels.
An updated S5 arrived for the 2013 model year. The coupe finally switched from V-8 power to the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that was already in convertible models. Coupes retained the choice of either a true manual transmission or the dual-clutch automatic, while convertibles only come with the dual-clutch.
The same year, Audi introduced the RS 5 in both coupe form, with the cabriolet following a year later. Essentially a spin-off of the early S5 and its V-8, the RS 5 sports a 450-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8, set up with a quattro all-wheel-drive system with a rear torque bias, all geared via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. (Read our first drive of the RS 5 for more.) The RS5's performance is bright: at 4.5 seconds to 60 mph, it's also capable of a 174-mph top speed. Drive Select is standard, but on the RS 5 the suspension is not adaptive.
Audi installed an advanced infotainment system in the S5 and RS 5 beginning with the 2013 model year. The system, dubbed Audi Connect, wraps together Audi's Multi Media Interface with a handwriting-recognizing touchpad, 3G connectivity, wireless hotspot capability, and optional navigation rendered with Google Earth and Google Street View maps.