Sunday, 14 October 2007
Quad exhausts? The perfect outlets for the Audi’s big V8, delivering a great burble that’s easily audible inside. Audi has given the S5 a 349bhp 4.2-litre engine that’s closely related to the R8 supercar; with good throttle response and beautifully liner power delivery, it’s a fast car. It’s a confidence-inspiring one too, with an incredibly capable platform and quattro four-wheel-drive system. Possessing reassuring traction and good balance, it’s an easy car to drive fast. However, the steering could be more sensitive, while there is continuous suspension patter and some steering kickback over bumpy roads. It is at its best on smooth tarmac, where the S5 proves taut and incisive.
The S5 is a great looking car – particularly in darker colours, where the curvaceous shoulder line is accentuated, and the S-specific 19-inch wheels and aluminium mirrors really stand out. All A5s feature the stunning LED running lights, which only add to the effect. The S5 tops the range, though it’s not quite a BMW M3 competitor. Then again, it is £10,000 cheaper! The two-door coupe is said to seat four, and comes with just the one V8 petrol engine choice, befitting its range-topping status. It’s a shame, however, that Audi’s penny-pinching approach to standard kit doesn’t reflect this.
No doubt about it – the S5 has the best cockpit in its class. It oozes sophistication, and has superb design and ergonomics. But while the driver feels special, those in the rear won’t be as impressed; the low roofline and small glass area makes an already-cramped cockpit feel claustrophobic. The upside is a generous 455-litre boot, boosted even further by split-fold rear seats. Running it will be convenient too, with 19,000-mile service intervals, while insurance and contract hire rates are also competitive. It retains not far off 60 per cent of its list price, too. However, the engine may sound good, but it’s extremely thirsty – our overall return of 18.3mpg is very poor, as is the short 254-mile range.