The 2020 Audi S5 is a more powerful version of the A5, and both models are available in coupe, convertible and sportback forms, the latter of which is an attractive 4-door coupe design. While the S5 doesn’t quite represent the A5’s most potent form — that title goes to the RS 5 — it does offer increased power, style and performance over the basic A5 models.
Under the hood is a turbocharged V6 engine mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels via standard all-wheel drive. This is complemented by a more aggressive sport suspension, bigger brakes for greater stopping power and unique styling. Selectable driving modes change the responses of the throttle, steering system and transmission, while an adaptive suspension adds adjustable ride qualities into that mix. Sport front seats have also been fitted, but fear not, they’re still comfortable. The rest of the S5’s interior is simultaneously elegant and welcoming.
This review encompasses all three of the S5’s available body styles: coupe, cabriolet and sportback. The A5 range and RS 5 models are reviewed separately.
What’s New for 2020?
The S5, along with the greater A5 line, receives a mid-life-cycle face-lift for 2020. The changes are minimal though and include updated styling in the front and rear with new grilles, new LED headlights, new lower facias up front, new taillights, a new bumper and new tailpipes at the rear. There’s also a new infotainment system that Audi is referring to as MIB 3. This is accompanied by a new 10.1-in center display screen. See the 2020 Audi S5 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Polished design
- Smart cabin
- Superb driving manners
- Potent V6 engine
What We Don’t
- Otherwise common driver assistance features are limited to top trims
- Steering could have more feel
- Price climbs quickly when you add basic options
The S5 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels via standard AWD.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 combined for the coupe and sportback. The cabriolet takes a 1-mpg hit in all three categories.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Audi S5 is available in coupe, cabriolet and sportback body styles, the latter of which is a 4-door coupe design. All body styles are available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims for 2020.
The coupe and sportback body styles have a panoramic sunroof that, unlike in the previous generation A5, is capable of fully opening. The A5 Cabriolet has a power-operated fabric roof that can be operated at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.
The Premium trim ($52,895, coupe/sportback; $61,195, cabriolet) includes 18-in alloy wheels, full LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, keyless entry/ignition, a hands-free trunk release, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, selectable driving modes, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather/Alcantara (simulated suede) seating surfaces, 12-way power-adjustable heated massaging front seats with pneumatic side bolsters, ambient LED cabin lighting, a self-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, forward-collision mitigation, an integrated programmable garage door opener, Audi’s latest infotainment system known as MIB 3 running through a 10.1-in screen, a 10-speaker audio setup, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, HD radio and two USB ports.
The Premium trim is eligible for a Convenience package that includes driver’s-side memory settings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, an alarm system with motion sensors, rear collision mitigation, a 3-month trial subscription for satellite radio, self-dimming sideview mirrors and an Advanced Key for remote engine start/stop and trunk opening.
The Premium Plus ($54,400, coupe/sportback; $63,695, cabriolet) has the Advanced Key, blind spot monitoring, Exit Assist (alerts users to any hazards approaching when the doors are being opened), rear-collision mitigation, navigation, Wi-Fi, wireless charging, phone signal booster and the Virtual Cockpit (12.3-in configurable driver information display).
S5 Cabriolet Premium Plus models also include a wind deflector between the seats to cut down on cabin turbulence when the top is down.
The Prestige trim ($61,295, coupe/sportback; $69,595, cabriolet) adds handwriting recognition for controlling the infotainment system, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist (a partially autonomous system that steers and brakes in stop/go conditions of up to 40 mph), partially autonomous parking feature, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, road sign recognition and a Bang & Olufsen 755-watt/19-speaker audio system.
An S Sport package is available for Premium Plus and Prestige trims, bringing a sport-tuned adaptive suspension, a sport rear differential and red brake calipers. An available Black Optic package adds black exterior styling elements.
Cabriolet models are also eligible for a Luxury package that includes neck-warming air vents, a heated steering wheel and ventilated 14-way power-adjustable front seats.
Other options include ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 19- and 20-in alloy wheels, high-quality Nappa leather upholstery and variable-ratio steering.
Trunk space is 11.6 cu ft. in the coupe and 9.3 cu ft. in the cabriolet. The S5 Sportback offers 21.8 cu ft. of space behind the second row, or a rather impressive 35 cu. ft. with the second row folded.
While automatic emergency braking comes standard on the S5, features such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are all limited to either packages or upper trim levels. As with most German automakers, Audi is certainly anything but generous.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the regular A5 Coupe a top overall rating of five stars, with four stars for front impact protection and five for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also given the A5 Coupe a coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation after earning top marks in all the major categories.
Behind the Wheel
The S5 is an exceptional performance coupe, offering great straight-line acceleration, flat cornering, firm braking and excellent grip from its AWD system. Keeping the engine between 1,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm is a generously sized sweet spot where power delivery is particularly smooth and responsive. Going from 0 to 60 mph takes just 4.3 seconds in the coupe and sportback or 4.8 seconds in the cabriolet.
In most conditions, the AWD system sends 60% of engine power to the rear wheels, imparting an appropriately sporty feel. However, if circumstances dictate, up to 85% can be directed to either axle within milliseconds. The optional (and highly recommended) sport rear differential can even split torque between the wheels at the back axle, enhancing the car’s considerable cornering abilities.
The S5’s optional 19- and 20-in wheel and tire combinations don’t help ride comfort, but overall, the S5 has the obligatory premium-car suppleness over rough pavement. Most manufacturers struggle to provide a natural steering feel since adopting electrical assistance as the norm. Audi does fairly well in this respect, but a little more tactility would be welcome. Don’t let this be a deterrent, though, as the S5 is still an awesome driver’s car. At the same time, it can also be a luxury conveyance.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 BMW 440i xDrive — BMW follows virtually the same formula as Audi when it comes to its compact sedans. The 4 Series is to the 3 Series what the A5 is to the A4, and the two vehicles are offered in identical body style configurations. The 440i xDrive is a competitor to the S5 Coupe.
2020 BMW 440i xDrive Convertible — Same as before, this one would compete with the S5 Cabriolet
2020 BMW 440i xDrive Gran Coupe — The A5 Sportback is to the regular A5 Coupe what the 4 Series Gran Coupe is to the 4-door version of the regular 4 Series Coupe — or a more stylish version of the 3 Series sedan. However you want to look at it, the 440i Gran Coupe competes with the S5 Sportback.
2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 Cabriolet — Same as above, except this one competes with the S5 Cabriolet.
2020 Ford Mustang GT — While it’s still an American muscle car, the Mustang has come a long way in the past few years and now offers nearly all of the creature comforts you get with an S5 — including a fully digital gauge cluster — for considerably less coin.
2020 Kia Stinger GT — While you may be a little put off by the Kia badge on the nose, the Stinger offers a similar form factor to the S5 Sportback, with performance to match and for around $20,000 less.
Used Audi RS 5 — The top-spec RS 5 has now been offered over two generations here in the US. The first was sold from 2013 through 2015 as either a coupe or convertible, while the second-gen RS 5 has been offered since 2018 in both coupe and sportback body styles. Look to Audi’s Certified Pre-Owned program.
The S5 is a European luxury coupe with some muscle car attributes. It’s raucously fast while being quite comfortable and can be had with a lot of modern features, provided you’re willing to pay top dollar for a loaded example. Overall value with European luxury cars can be tough to gauge, considering that you’re paying a premium for the badge on the hood, but if you’ll settle for nothing less, the S5 is unlikely to disappoint. Additionally, the S5 is offered in three different body styles that suit a number of different tastes. The coupe is arguably one of the most attractive vehicles on the road today, the cabriolet offers an open-top experience, and the S5 ads loads of practicality via two extra doors and a practical and convenient hatchback design. Whichever body style makes the most sense for you, we’d probably look toward a middle-of-the-pack Premium Plus model, as this will offer most of the features buyers want. Beyond that, options will come down to individual buyer taste. Find a Audi S5 for sale