- Rumbling V-8 character
- All-wheel-drive traction
- Gorgeous styling
- Outstanding braking and all-around performance
- Kids-only rear seats
- Lofty price tag
- Tight trunk
- Swoopy styling limits rearward vision
The 2009 Audi S5 looks like no other and performs as well as its top rivals—but you will pay for the privilege.
The 2009 Audi S5 is a performance companion to the A5 introduced two years ago.
The S5 is powered by a 354-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine that spins out a peak 325 pound-feet of torque. Rear-biased all-wheel drive helps the wheels get traction no matter what the surface, and helps neutralize handling in spirited driving. With either transmission--six-speed manual or automatic, both a joy to drive--the Audi S5 gets to 60 mph in a mere 4.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 155 mph. It's the only car in its class to offer all-wheel drive with a manual transmission.
The optional Drive Select package enables drivers to tune suspension and steering response. The S5 has some harsh ride motions but also has brilliant handling through tight corners. Even with electronic power steering, it turns in flat and responds in a snap, though the feel is a little light. The 2009 S5's braking is stellar.
The cockpit has a tight feel, paired with a complex set of controls. Audio system control buttons are numerous; the designers have opted for lots of shiny aluminum and chrome trim, so it's not a restful place to meditate. The front seats cradle you in comfort, but the rear seats are merely tight and totally unable to accommodate adult legs. Thanks to a low roofline and thick roof pillars, outward vision can be dismal. On the plus side, the trunk is big for its class.
The 2009 Audi S5 doesn't give up any conveniences in the name of high performance; expect everything that you would in a full-fledged luxury coupe, including power and heated everything, along with features like adaptive headlamps. TheCarConnection.com's editors, some of whom are audiophiles, are very fond of the available Bang & Olufsen sound system.