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2016 Audi S5: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 Audi S5 is a drop-dead gorgeous coupe or convertible (Cabriolet) that goes fast, isn't bad on gas and cossets its occupants with one of the nicest interiors around. The 3.0-liter V6 is a fantastic high-performance engine. Because it's supercharged as opposed to turbocharged, throttle response is instantaneous. There's no turbo lag, and the intoxicating power keeps on coming as long as the accelerator pedal stays down. An all-new version is expected for the 2017 model year, but even in the twilight of its career, this long-running Audi is a car to lust after.

What's New for 2016?

The previously optional 14-speaker/505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system is now standard. A Black Optic Plus package is now available, featuring black side-mirror housings and 20-inch wheels.

What We Like

Handsome styling; high-class interior; fabulous supercharged V6; superb dynamics

What We Don't

Basic infotainment system has fiddly dash-mounted controls; no USB port

How Much?

$54,025-$63,562

Fuel Economy

The S5 has a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 developing 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 7-speed automated manual. Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system is standard on every S5.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the coupe with the automated manual achieves a solid 18 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined. The 6-speed manual returns 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined. The cabriolet's fuel consumption is 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Audi S5 Coupe and Cabriolet are offered in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The coupe body style comes with a panoramic sunroof (tilt only), while the cabriolet has a power-operated vinyl roof.

The Premium Plus Coupe ($54,025) includes 18-in alloy wheels, quad tail pipes, a sport suspension, xenon headlights with LED accents, LED taillights, fog lights, Audi drive select with adjustable driver settings, exclusive sport-themed exterior styling flourishes, keyless entry/starting, 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 14-speaker/505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system (12 speakers in the Cabriolet) with an auxiliary input, SD-card reader and satellite radio.

The Prestige Coupe ($60,275) upgrades to adaptive xenon headlights, a blind spot monitoring system, keyless entry with push-button ignition, MMI Plus with navigation and a console-mounted joystick knob, Audi connect telematics with mobile Wi-Fi and Bluetooth audio streaming.

The Premium Plus Cabriolet ($57,749) and Prestige Cabriolet ($63,562) have comparable equipment to their fixed-roof counterparts, with the obvious exception of a power soft-top that provides excellent insulation, takes no more than 17 seconds to come up or down, and operates at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Cabriolet versions also have a wind deflector.

The Prestige trim's standard MMI Plus system (which includes a slightly larger screen) can be added to the Premium Plus as an option. A sport rear differential with side-to-side power distribution is available on both trim levels.

Prestige models are eligible for the 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 models can be equipped with 19-in or 20-in wheels and adaptive suspension dampers.

Cargo capacity is 12.2 cu ft. for the coupe and 10.2 cu ft. for the Cabriolet, which are both quite reasonable. Both cars' rear seats will also fold down for a little extra space and versatility.

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 monitoring system is standard on the Prestige trim and optional on the Premium Plus, while the Prestige-only Driver Assist package includes a collision-mitigation system with low-speed automatic braking.

High-performance variants such as the S5 typically aren't subjected to crash tests, nor has the regular A5 been crash-tested by agencies within the United States.

Behind the Wheel

Like the ordinary A5, the S5 has a confident, almost invincible feel at speed. In this case, acceleration is intense and throttle response is immediate. The main handling difference comes courtesy of the optional sport 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 remain sharper.

Although the optional 19-in or 20-in wheels won't help the ride quality, the S5 maintains a typical Germanic suppleness over rough pavement. It would be good to have more natural-feeling steering, but that's hardly a deal breaker.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW 435i -- This model enjoys a combination of performance and refinement that's tough to top.

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe or Cabriolet -- The C43, a variant of the all-new C-Class generation, will arrive in the fall of 2016 with 362 hp.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS -- This model is less expensive than the S5, but it comes with a monstrous 455-hp 6.2-liter V8, a glorious exhaust note and decent handling.

Used BMW M3 -- The previous-generation, V8-powered M3 coupe/convertible (E92/E93) was a contemporary of the S5 for years. Its high-revving, race-inspired engine is still thrilling.

Autotrader's Advice

Most driving enthusiasts will go for the coupe because they like the rigidity of a fixed roof and the lower weight (there's a 450-pound difference between the manual coupe and the auto cabriolet). If this applies to you, you should go for the sport rear differential and MMI Plus with Audi connect. But don't forget that there's a new version coming for 2017.

Find an Audi S5 for sale

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Certified 2016 Audi S5 3.0T Prestige Cabriolet
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Used 2016 Audi S5 3.0T Premium Plus Cabriolet
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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.
2016 Audi S5: New Car Review - Autotrader