2016 Audi S5

8.6
2016 Audi S5

The Basics:

The Audi S5 is the spicy, performance version of the Audi A5 convertible and coupe. Underneath its skin it's also related to the sporty S4 sedan.

The 2016 Audi S5 Coupe and S5 Cabriolet are among the best-looking (and best-performing) luxury coupes on the market.

The S5 is effectively an upgraded A5, with more intense styling, better performance, and more tech and luxury touches.

After seven years on the road, the Audi S5's styling is no longer new, but it's still one of our favorites. It has the proportions of a classic luxury coupe, with a sculpted, flowing look that's never bawdy or over the top. To distinguish this performance model from the base car, Audi fits the S5 with blacked-out trim and 21-inch wheels.

The interior of the S5 can seem cluttered, with its myriad small switches. It's still a well-finished, nicely appointed place to spend hours, so long as you're in the front seats.

The powertrain in the S5 is Audi's supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. It turns out 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Audi promises a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds in the coupe, and only 5.1 seconds for the Cabriolet model.

Though steering can feel numb and artificial, the S5 has great handling. A Drive Select switches lets users toggle between comfort and sport modes, which tailor the feel of the transmission shifts, throttle input, steering weight, and on some models, the adaptive suspension damping force.

In nearly every other respect, the S5 feels like a spirited, versatile touring car from the driver's seat, one that's particularly capable and nimble. Standard all-wheel drive helps this, biasing the front-rear power split at 40/60 percent. That affords a wider margin of all-weather safety, and braking performance is very good. The engine doesn't require revving to tap into its torque, but sounds great when you do so.

The S5 duo grants the room you'd expect in its two-door size class. Excellent front seats have plenty of spread-out space, but the back seats are barely usable for adults. Comfort is excellent in the front seats of the S5 Coupe/Cabriolet; they're supportive and firm, and bolstered nicely to adapt to many body sizes and types. The rear seats, on the other hand, are short in the legs for adults. Both models have fold-down rear seats that expand usable cargo space. The glovebox and console lock, and the door panels have molded-in cupholders.

No crash test scores are available for either S5, but Audi fits active pop-up roll bars, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and knee airbags. In the coupe, over-the-shoulder vision is pretty bad, thanks to the good-looking roofline; the same holds true for the convertible, when the top is up.

There's nothing like active lane control, but the S5 gets leather, satellite and HD radio, and automatic climate control. Dynamic variable-ratio steering and adaptive cruise control are options, as is an excellent Bang & Olfusen audio system.

Audi's Multi-Media Interface infotainment is one of the best in terms of menu structure and general responsiveness, and you can opt for the Audi Connect system that brings wi-fi connectivity for up to eight devices plus Google Earth mapping and info access.

The EPA rates the S5 Coupe at 18 mpg city, 28 highway, 21 combined when it's equipped with the automatic, 17/26/20 mpg with the manual. The auto-only S5 Cabriolet is rated at 18/26/21 mpg.

Buying Tips:

If you need a bit more space but otherwise like the S5's presentation, consider the Audi S4 sedan.

Other Choices:

  • 2016 BMW 4-Series
  • 2016 Porsche Boxster
  • 2016 Porsche Cayman
  • 2016 INFINITI Q60
  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz E Class

Reason Why:

The 2016 Audi S5 Coupe and Cabriolet have cohesive designs and styling details that really set them apart from key rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 335i and M3, and Porsche Boxster and Cayman, among other sporty luxury coupes. The Infiniti Q60 Coupe and Convertible are close in performance, yet they fall far short on traditional luxury measures like ride, noise, and general refinement. The Porsche Boxster and Cayman are true sports car, without rear seats, although their driving experience is more vivid than that of the S5. On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class goes the other way—in more of a luxurious grand-touring direction that makes it the high-class pick for road trips. The BMW 4-Series—even the high-performance M4—lands in the middle; it's a nicely balanced, comfortable, and tech-loaded coupe or convertible.

The Bottom Line:

The 2016 Audi S5 Coupe and S5 Cabriolet are among the best-looking (and best-performing) luxury coupes on the market.

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