- Throbbing, American-style V-8
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Sexy silhouette
- Outstanding brakes
- Teensy, token back seats
- Blistering price tag to go with performance
- Trunk space at a premium
- Rear visibility not so great
The 2008 Audi S5 boasts performance like a BMW M3, styling like a Chevrolet Camaro, and a brilliant handling setup that's distinctly Audi--but only the well-heeled need to apply.
The 2008 Audi S5 is a stunning car. The hotted-up V-8 version of the A5 two-door introduced last year throbs with musclecar power--and especially from the rear, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the coming 2009 Chevrolet Camaro, with great proportions, curves, and crests to its sheetmetal.
The Audi essentials are on full display, however. The S5 cranks out 354 horsepower from a 4.2-liter V-8 engine that also spins out 325 pound-feet of torque. With either delightful transmission--six-speed manual or automatic--the 2008 Audi S5 thunders to 60 mph in a blink-quick 4.9 seconds and tops out at 155 mph.
The S5 has brilliant handling, with some occasionally harsh ride motions if you encounter potholes in mid-corner. It turns in flat and responds in a snap, even with electronic power steering, which TheCarConnection.com's editors have mixed feelings about. But the 2008 S5's braking is stellar, and Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard.
Inside, the 2008 Audi S5 sports a cockpit with a tight feel and a rather complex array of controls on the dash. There are plenty of buttons for radio controls and a generous application of aluminum and chrome trim, too, making the interior a little busy. The front seats are tight where they need to be, unlike the rear seats, which are merely tight and are completely at a loss when asked to handle adult legs. The trunk is large, but the view to the rear while driving is pretty dismal, thanks to the thick pillars and low roofline.