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- Highs Sweet twin-turbo V-6, nicely-appointed interior, impressive braking.
- Lows Too modest visually, begs for a manual transmission, big premium for the convertible.
- Verdict The S5 has the punchy power and athleticism of a bona fide sports coupe, though we wish it looked hotter relative to the more civilized and slower standard A5.
You might have to squint to tell the 2023 Audi S5 coupe and cabriolet high-performance models from their standard-issue A5 counterparts. The meaningful differences hide behind the S5’s nose. Every S5 gets a 349-hp turbocharged V-6 with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a substantial leap from the A5’s 261-hp turbo-four. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive is standard equipment, and so are a pair of burly six-piston front brake calipers. Although the S5 is more bite than roar, its subdued exhaust note is a change of pace in a segment with a lot of buzz and thunder. The guts of the S5 are fashionable and they complement its accurate and predictable helm. The coupe and cabriolet body style lack the passenger space of the four-door S5 Sportback (reviewed separately), but all three share available tech like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display, a large infotainment touchscreen, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. The S5 isn’t quite as quick as more aggressive options such as the BMW M340i and Mercedes-Benz C43, but it’s nonetheless engrossing to drive, and it will fit the needs of those seeking a balance of comfort, sporty performance, and tasteful style.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
The S5 gets additional standard equipment for 2023, though most updates are to optional appearance packages. The S5 Coupe receives the Bang & Olufsen sound system for its mid Premium Plus trim. The Black Optic package has been replaced by a Black Optic Plus package that now includes black rocker sills, rear spoiler, exhaust tips, and darkened Audi badges. Adaptive cruise control is now included with the available Convenience package. An optional Audi Sport interior is new for 2023 and gives the inside of the S5 a black interior with red stitching and RS carbon trim bits. Finally, the Chronos Gray replaces the Quantum Gray paint option.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Audi S5 Premium Plus coupe is the one we’d pick. For as much fun as convertiblesare, in the S5’s application, the cabriolet is slower and adds an extra $8100 at every trim level. The Premium Plus trim is a good balance of options and price, one that includes standard equipment such as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display, blind-spot monitoring, passive keyless entry, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree camera, wireless charging, and more leatherette surfaces throughout the cabin. We'd coat our S5 in distinct District Green paint and choose the Black Optic package (20-inch wheels on summer tires and black exterior trim). We also like the racier look of the carbon-fiber interior accents, and we'd be remiss if we didn't maximize our S5's performance with the S Sport package. It adds sport-tuned adaptive dampers, a torque-vectoring rear differential, and red brake calipers.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All S5s come with the same 349-hp turbocharged V-6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Thanks to its launch-control system and all-wheel-drive traction, the last S5 coupe we tested delivered solid acceleration in a class of quick alternatives. In our testing, it went from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Despite the additional weight, the convertible S5 cabriolet that we tested was still plenty quick, hitting 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Both titillating two-door S5s we tested were equipped with the optional 19-inch performance tires and the S Sport package, which adds a torque-vectoring rear differential and adaptive dampers. As equipped, our test cars sported firm but still compliant rides. The coupe also came equipped with the Dynamic Steering option, which quickens the steering the more the wheel is turned from center. We found the system uncommunicative and unpredictable; we recommend against it and that you stay with the standard fixed-ratio steering setup.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With a potent turbocharged V-6 and standard all-wheel drive, one might expect the S5 coupe and cabriolet to have not-so-great fuel economy. However, the fixed-roof version gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway—choosing the convertible reduces the city and highway ratings by 1 and 2 mpg respectively. We tested both body styles on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and the coupe earned 30 mpg while the cabriolet earned 32 mpg. For more information about the S5's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The S5's interior is marked by soft-to-the-touch, expensive-feeling materials, high-quality fit-and-finish, and a user-friendly design. Both driver and front-seat passenger are treated to comfortable and roomy power-adjustable seats, while rear-seat riders are left with the bare minimum of acceptable space. Those in need of more rear-seat room should look at the four-door S5 Sportback, which has a longer wheelbase and offers more room for rear passengers. The S5's interior starts with a conservative but modern dashboard design that's pieced together with laser-tight precision. Additionally, every S5 includes luxuries such as front seats with heating and massage functions, three-zone climate control, and push-button start. In our testing, the S5 coupe held as many carry-on suitcases as the last 440i coupe we tested, making it one of the top rated in its segment. Meanwhile, the convertible swallowed as many carry-ons in its trunk as the C43 cabriolet. Additionally, the S5's comparatively low lift-over height and wide trunk opening make loading items into the cargo bay an easy affair.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every S5 is outfitted with Audi's latest infotainment software, which is displayed on a high-mounted 10.1-inch touchscreen. The system also can be operated via voice recognition and steering-wheel controls, but the intuitive rotary controller on the center console has been nixed. Along with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, the S5 can be equipped with a slick-looking 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 705-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The S5 coupe and convertible have a suite of available driver-assistance gear, but few features are standard. For more information about the S5's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The S5's warranty is average for the class, but it doesn't offer complimentary scheduled maintenance like other automakers such as BMW.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance