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2015 Audi S5: New Car Review

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author photo by Autotrader March 2015

The 2015 Audi S5 may not have a V8 engine anymore, but it's doing just fine without it. As great as that dearly departed 4.2-liter V8 was, the S5's now-standard supercharged 3.0T V6 gets much better fuel economy, and that's the name of the game these days. But it's not all about saving the world; the 3.0T is also a fantastic high-performance engine in its own right. The throttle response is instantaneous, so there's no delay like with a turbocharged engine, and the intoxicating power keeps on coming as long as your right foot stays planted.

What we have here, then, is a drop-dead gorgeous coupe or convertible (Cabriolet) that goes fast, isn't bad on gas and cossets its riders with one of the nicest interiors around. Yes, we miss the V8, but we also badly want a new S5, supercharged V6 and all.

Even in the twilight of its career, the long-running S5 is not a car to hem and haw over. It's a car to lust after.

What's New for 2015?

The S5 carries over with minimal changes.

What We Like

Head-turning styling; satisfying supercharged V6; high-class interior; plenty of technology options

What We Don't

Cabriolet's soft-top is relatively insecure and doesn't seem to save much weight.

How Much?

$53,425-$68,075

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Audi S5 is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. A precise 6-speed conventional manual transmission is standard on the coupe, with a highly responsive 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual offered as an option. The Cabriolet, meanwhile, comes only with the automated manual. Audi's quattro all-wheel drive is standard on every S5.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the coupe with the automated manual returns a solid 18 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the 6-speed manual regresses to 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy. The Cabriolet nets 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The S5 coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) are offered in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige. The coupe body style comes with a panoramic sunroof (tilt only), while the Cabriolet gets a power-operated vinyl roof.

The Premium Plus ($53,425) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, quad tailpipes, xenon headlights with LED accents, LED taillights, fog lights, Audi drive select adjustable driver settings, exclusive sport-themed exterior styling flourishes, keyless entry/start, leather and synthetic-suede upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, sport front seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth (phone only) and iPod integration, the Multi-Media Interface (MMI) system with a dash-mounted control knob and a 10-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input, an SD card reader and satellite radio.

The Prestige ($59,675) upgrades to adaptive xenon headlights, a blind spot warning system, keyless entry with push-button ignition, MMI Plus with navigation and a console-mounted joystick knob, Audi connect telematics with mobile Wi-Fi, Bluetooth audio and a 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Note that any Cabriolet will cost considerably more than a comparable coupe, with the top-of-the-line Cabriolet Prestige starting at $68,075.

The Prestige trim's standard MMI Plus system (which includes a slightly larger screen) can be added to the Premium Plus as an option, as can the Bang & Olufsen stereo. A sports rear differential with side-to-side power distribution is available on both trim levels. The Prestige is exclusively eligible for a Driver Assist package that adds adaptive cruise control and a collision-mitigation system. The Cabriolet's Comfort package substitutes different seats with heating vents at the top of the backrests for comfortable top-down driving in chilly weather. All S5 models can be equipped with 19-in wheels and adaptive suspension dampers.

Safety

The S5 comes with standard stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. The coupe gets six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain), while the Cabriolet gets four airbags (front and front-side). A blind spot warning system is standard on Prestige and optional on Premium Plus, while the Prestige-only Driver Assist package includes a collision-mitigation system with low-speed automatic braking.

High-performance variants like the S5 typically aren't subjected to crash tests, and the regular A5 hasn't been crash-tested on our shores, either.

Behind the Wheel

The 3.0T V6 has the same torque rating as the discontinued V8, and horsepower is down a smidge. But that's no matter, because acceleration is intense, while throttle response is as prompt as ever. Like the ordinary A5, the S5 has a confident, almost invincible feel at speed. The main handling difference comes courtesy of the S5's optional sports rear differential, which really does mitigate the nose-heavy S5's tendency to understeer, even if rear-drive machines such as the BMW 4 Series and the Ford Mustang remain sharper. Although the optional 19-in wheels don't do the ride quality any favors, the S5 maintains that typical Germanic suppleness over rough pavement. More natural-feeling steering would be nice, but that's hardly a deal breaker.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 BMW 435i -- The 3 Series coupe is no longer a 3 Series, technically, but it still boasts a combination of performance and refinement that's tough to top.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG -- Entering its final tour of duty for 2015, the rowdy, V8-powered C63 is more expensive than the S5, but it's also more desirable.

2015 Ford Mustang GT -- The redesigned Mustang has manners like never before, and the GT model has one of the finest V8 engines in the world. Compared to the S5, it's a genuine bargain.

Used BMW M3 -- The previous-generation, V8-powered M3 was a contemporary of the S5 for years, and its high-revving, race-inspired engine is still one of the most thrilling we've experienced.

Autotrader's Advice

The S5 is at its most beautiful as a coupe, and call us old school, but we're fans of the precise manual shifter that's shared with the S4. We'd also want the sports rear differential and MMI Plus with Audi connect, though we know all that stuff doesn't come cheap.

Find an Audi S5 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Audi S5 3.0T Premium Plus Coupe
Used 2015 Audi S5
$34,400
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Audi S5 3.0T Premium Plus Coupe
Used 2015 Audi S5
$36,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Audi S5 3.0T Premium Plus Coupe
Used 2015 Audi S5
$33,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Audi S5 3.0T Premium Plus Coupe
Used 2015 Audi S5
$35,495
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Audi S5: New Car Review - Autotrader