Choosing between a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe can be a tough decision – while the former will appeal to your head, the latter will pull your heartstrings. This is exactly where the Audi S5 comes in. On paper, it is neither as meek as the A range of cars from Audi nor as berserk as the RS ones. It is supposed to be a blend of practicality between Audi’s normal sedans with a splash of sportiness from its performance cars. Or is it just a fancy paint job? Let’s find out!
How does it look?
Simply put, the S5 looks like any other Audi. The bends and creases are moderate and the car has 4 doors unlike the RS5 which is a coupe. The front grille, LED daytime running lights are very much identical to the run of the mill Audi sedans. The cast-aluminium 5-spoke 18-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli tyres look exquisite. If the expansive wheels didn’t give the sporty pretensions away, the S5 has certain bold differentiating design elements like the lip spoiler, ORVM’s finished in brushed aluminium, quad exhausts and ‘S’ badging that back the fact that the car means business.
How’s it on the inside?
On the inside, there are a few very loud and flashy bits like the flat-bottom steering wheel. It is wrapped in leather and feels good to hold because of its perfect size. The centre console and the doors have a plethora of carbon fibre elements. There’s also a different instrument cluster than the RS5 and an ‘S5’ stamped gear knob. The centre console has a lot of buttons and the dashboard houses a 7-inch screen that goes about as the display for the navigation, reverse camera, music system and the drive select too. The CD player and the dual zone climate control interface sit directly underneath the centre console. The optional ‘ Audi Super Sport Seats’ upholstered in top-class Napa Leather offer good all-around support and will never let you slide around even if you take a tight corner. The front seats of the S5 left us mighty impressed. However, legroom and headroom is slightly limited in the rear seat. The sloping roofline is mainly responsible for the lack of headroom at the rear. Overall, the interiors of the S5 feel a bit dated and it feels like any other Audi apart from the brilliant seats.
How does it drive?
With most of the modern day engines being downsized, Audi has also replaced old naturally aspirated V8 engine for a more efficient V6. The S5 is powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 which produces 333bhp of power along with 440Nm of torque. Audi claims that the S5 can do the 0-100kmph sprint in just 5.1 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed of 250kmph.
The S5 also gets Audi’s Drive Select system which lets you choose between Efficiency, Comfort or Dynamic mode. There’s also an auto mode which will figure out the best mode for you and it even has an individual mode which lets you alter the engine, suspension and steering manually.
In Efficiency or the Comfort mode, it drives like any other big Audi. Throttle response is dull and there is hardly any sense of urgency from the engine. The suspension also softens up absorbing most of the surface undulations. However, the ride becomes a bit bouncy at high speeds in both the efficiency and comfort modes. These modes are best suited for a calm highway cruise at around 100 kmph.
The car stirs up to life once you engage the dynamic mode. The steering weighs up, suspension becomes a bit stiff the quad exhausts become louder. The car upshifts at the 6,500rpm redline in this dynamic mode.
However, the cabin cuts out most of the quad exhaust’s soundtrack. It’s the engine note that’s more audible at times. The dual clutch 7-speed S-Tronic is very responsive and harnesses all of the 440Nm of torque brilliantly. Shifts happen instantly and even the paddle shifters are a delight to use. The gearbox is very versatile and you can either cruise in 7th gear at 70km/h or hold onto the 2nd gear up to 100km/h depending on your throttle inputs.
The S5 comes equipped with Audi’s much famed ‘Quattro’-all-wheel drive technology. it ensures that you can throw the S5 around a set of loopy roads and still be in control all the time. Basically, driving this car fast is no rocket science. The only bit that might let you down is the steering. It’s not very precise because of which you might not feel very confident at times. In Dynamic mode, the steering becomes a bit too heavy and stiff and it can be a struggle turning the car into a hard corner. A car that has a sorted chassis, excellent suspension and a decent motor, the steering does feel like a misfit.
The Audi S5 comes with an ex-showroom price of Rs 62.95 lakh and once you select some add-ons on the options list, include road tax and insurance – you will end up spending close to Rs 75 lakh. What you get in return is the performance of a punchy V6 motor and the practicality and comfort of a luxury sedan. At this price point, it nearly has no competition as well. If you are looking for a car that you can drive to your office on the weekdays and enjoy on the track over the weekends, the S5 does make a very strong case for itself.
The Road To Igatpuri
It started pouring down quite heavily as soon as I began my journey towards Igatpuri. It is a small hill station around 100kms away from Mumbai and has some really amazing roads which are full of twisties and perfect bends. The S5 comes equipped with Audi’s much famed Quattro (all-wheel-drive) technology which made sure that I could have some fun on the wet roads and be safe at the same time. Driving calmly on the Eastern expressway for a ‘few’ kilometres made me realise that the S5 can be a great tourer as well. The Audi Drive Select works superbly and as soon as you slot the car into Efficiency mode, it just transforms from being a rioting teenager to a benevolent monk. The gearbox upshifts sooner that you would expect it to (7th gear at 70kmph), the exhaust/engine become as silent as your everyday sedan and Audi’s claimed fuel efficiency figure of 12.28 kmpl is quite achievable. I kept on toggling between Efficiency and Auto mode depending on the stretch of tarmac that laid ahead of me. The Drive select also has an individual setting mode in which you can adjust the suspension, gearbox and engine/exhaust note’s eagerness on your own. Around 80kms later, the roads started getting emptier which was inversely proportional to my throttle inputs. And once you floor the S5, you just cannot unfloor it. It’s addictive, the sound, the aggressiveness, it’s just all there. It feels very much at home being thrown around into corners at nearly triple digit speeds and that is what adds to overall charm of this car.
I had a preconceived notion before I had even seen S5 in flesh. And even when I saw it for the first time, to be honest, I wasn’t very impressed. It looks like any other Audi especially is you don’t get this alphonso mango shade. The overall idea of introducing the “S” variants in the Audi lineupfelt a bit confusing to my head. But all it took was this little one-day solo road trip with the car. Yes, the Audi S5 makes a lot of sense in Audi’s lineup. It is nearly the best of both worlds