2010 Audi S5 Performance

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Performance

In tests of the 2010 Audi S5, TheCarConnection.com's experts find a high-performance hardtop coupe and soft-top convertible that is plenty quick in either guise.

The S5 coupe flings out 354 hp from a 4.2-liter V-8 that also twists out 325 lb-ft of torque. The S5 Cabriolet, meanwhile, gets a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that puts out the same amount of torque, but loses 21 horsepower to the V-8. With either delightful transmission-six-speed manual or automatic-the 2010 Audi S5 sends power to all its wheels, which helps it hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and shoots it to a top speed of 155 mph. The Cabriolet isn't too far behind, crossing the 60-mph threshold in just 5.6 seconds-and it offers Audi's new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to boot.

The 2010 Audi S5 / Cabriolet is a powerful sports car in either guise, but it could use less weight on its nose for better handling.

Edmunds remarks the V-8 has "eager response." Cars.com likes its "smooth-spinning nature." Car and Driver reports it bellows "at a volume no one would expect from a car so well dressed." Differing opinions feel the engine is too quiet, "almost to a fault," says MyRide.com.

The 2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet gets a lower-displacement, but nearly as powerful, supercharged V-6 that fares very well with reviewers. Cars.com points out that they don't know "how much of that power will be missed by convertible drivers," since these consumers tend not to be as performance-oriented anyway. Regardless, Car and Driver says that the Audi S5 Cabriolet offers "nearly identical performance and 20 percent better overall fuel economy" compared to its coupe sibling.

The 2010 Audi S5 coupe sports either a 6-speed manual or automatic. Both come with all-wheel drive. The S5 Cabriolet is, according to Popular Mechanics, available exclusively with "Audi's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (S Tronic)" and the same all-wheel-drive system, with the addition of "torque vectoring" that shifts power from side to side as well as front to back. Cars.com says the manual "shifter slides smoothly between gears" but thinks it "engages with a slightly mechanical feel." They do state, "Drive the S5 aggressively, though, and smooth shifts become easier." Edmunds comments on the manual's "light, if somewhat long, throws with firm engagement." No reviewers drove the automatic. The manual takes just 4.9 seconds to scoot to 60 mph, according to Edmunds. Audi says the automatic S5 will hit 60 in 5.1 seconds. As for the seven-speed dual-clutch, Car and Driver says it "makes take-off sluggish" and "responds painfully slowly to paddle requests"-exactly the opposite impression of the editors at TheCarConnection.com, who like the dual-clutch transmission's instantaneous responses.

The EPA cites the 2010 Audi S5 6-speed automatic at 16/24 mpg, the manual at 14/22 mpg. The S5 takes premium fuel. Fortunately, the V-6 that rests under the Cabriolet's hood is significantly thriftier, returning an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

New for 2010 is Drive Select, which adds adaptive dampers and dynamic steering. Without or with it, the S5 coupe and cabriolet turn in flat and respond in a snap. The power steering is electric, and it elicits mixed feelings. Edmunds reports, "The wheel's effort is a bit light" but it adds, "its precise action inspires complete confidence." Cars.com says the steering has "too much isolation from the road" and notes "the S5's firm suspension makes for a bumpy ride" but likes the "minimal body roll in tight turns." On the more comfortable Cabriolet, Car and Driver notes that the Audi "rides well but never feels floaty." The 2010 S5's braking is stellar. Kelley Blue Book calls the brakes "excellent and powerful." But while weight distribution is better in the Audi S5 than in the previous S4, with 56.9 percent of the mass on the front, rather than the previous 61.9 percent, according to Car and Driver, it's still hindered by heft. As Edmunds reports, "Beefy curb weight" and the S5's "artificial steering feel" cut into its appeal.

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