We drove the $65,000 Audi S5 Coupe -- and it's pretty much flawless

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider
  • The second generation Audi A5 Coupe is all new for 2018.
  • The A5 shares a platform with the highly touted A4 sedan.
  • Business Insider had a chance to test out a sportier version of the A5 Coupe called the S5.
  • The 2018 A5 starts at $US42,800 while our S5 Coupe test car cost $US64,750.

In late 2016, Audi dropped off a brand new 2017 A4 sedan for Business Insider to check out.

After just a week behind the wheel, it became apparent that the current fifth generation A4 is, without a doubt, the most exquisitely executed sedan ever to emerge from the Ingolstadt, Germany-based automaker.

The A4’s solid driving dynamics, handsome styling, state-of-the-art tech, and luxurious cabin blew us away.

We liked the A4 so much that it finished second only to the Acura NSX for our 2016 Car of the Year award.

Fast forward a year or so and Audi is back with the second generation A5 coupe. It’s based on the current A4 sedan, but with two fewer doors and a sleeker body.

Recently, we got a chance to experience Audi‘s new coupe first hand on the roads in and around Atlanta, Georgia.

Our test car turned out to be a sporty S5 variant clad in a striking Daytona Grey Pearl Effect paint job. The A5 and S5 are virtually identical apart from the S5’s more powerful engine and a few custom design treatments.

In the marketplace, the S5 is a direct competitor against the BMW 440i xDrive Coupe and the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe.

The 2018 Audi A5 Coupe starts at $US42,800 while the mid-grade S5 starts at $US54,600. Our option heavy 2018 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T quattro tiptronic test unit costs $US64,750.

The new Audi S5 is the epitome of understated style.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Audi can certainly make an eye-catching machine. The R8 supercar and the RS7 Sportback come to mind.

But the A5 Coupe and its sportier sibling, the S5, don’t fall into that category. Like the A4 sedan on which they are based, the A5/S5 are restrained in their styling.

Don’t get me wrong, our S5 test car was exceedingly pretty. But it doesn’t wow you or blow you away with its looks. Instead, it requires a closer examination of its subtle lines to fully appreciate the intricacies of its design.

Under the sculpted sheet metal, the A4 sedan and the S5 both share VW Group’s well regarded MLB Evo platform. The same platform also underpins the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga SUVs.

However, the S5 is more than just an A4 with two doors lopped off. Instead, Audi gave it bespoke sheet metal that allows the coupe to stand apart from its corporate sibling.

The S5’s interior delivers the quality and style expected of an Audi.


In recent years, Audi interiors have been an exercise in minimalist chic. It’s a design aesthetic that we’ve come to appreciate here at Business Insider.

The understated feel of the S5’s exterior continues inside the cabin. It’s attractive and luxurious without verging on the tacky and overdone. The material quality is also excellent. We were particularly impressed by the Fine Nappa leather upholstery and metallic inlays.

The heated, power seating provided the front seat passengers with more than adequate support while its quilted stitching looks simply amazing.


Audi loaded up our test car with a full slate of its latest high-tech goodies.


The most prominent feature is Audi’s stunning 12.3-inch virtual cockpit instrument display. The revolutionary system allows the instrument cluster to be reconfigured to the liking of the driver.

Our test car was also equipped with an 8.3-inch center console mounted display running the latest version of Audi’s MMI infotainment system. Audi MMI is generally considered to be one of, if not, the best infotainment system in the world. The rotary dial-based control system is easy to use while the system’s menus are intuitively designed.

The optional 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system delivered stellar sound quality.

The biggest difference between the A5 and the S5 lies under the hood.


The standard A5 Coupe is powered by a 252 horsepower version of VW Group’s trusty 2.0-litre, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. It’s the same motor we experienced in the A4 sedan that really impressed us with its smooth power delivery and no-nonsense performance.

The S5 gets a hotter powerplant. Under the hood, our test car packed a 3.0-litre, V6 augmented by a twin-scroll turbocharger producing 354 horsepower. The direct-injected V6, shared with the SQ5 performance crossover, is gutsy and delivers great low-end acceleration.

A good trait to have in a high-performance sports coupe.

Those looking for more oomph can opt for the red-hot RS5 Coupe which is powered by an all-new 450 horsepower, 2.9-litre, biturbo V6 shared with the Porsche Panamera 4S.

What’s it like to drive?

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

On the roads in and around Atlanta, the S5 aced every obstacle we put in front of it from gridlock airport traffic to the winding roads in the foothills of Appalachian Mountains.

On the road, the S5 is pure, unadulterated GT car. It embodies all the best attributes of a grand tourer; powerful engine, well-balanced chassis, comfortable ride, and luxurious cabin.

Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s award-winning quattro all-wheel-drive system, the S5 can hit 62 mph in a manufacturer-claimed time of 4.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph.

To drive, the S5 feels quick and light on its feet. Power delivery is smooth, linear, and always manageable. The ride is stiff enough to deliver confident handling around the corners but doesn’t compromise passenger comfort.

The verdict.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The Audi S5 is a terrific car. If you’re looking for a bonafide grand touring coupe, this one ticks all of the boxes. The S5 is powerful with loads of extra grunt in reserve for high-speed passing. It rides on rails through the twisty bits while maintaining exceptional levels of comfort. The cabin is luxuriously appointed and loaded with tech.

However, all of this Audi awesomeness comes at a fairly steep price. Even though the S5 starts at $US54,600, just a handful of options pushed that figure up to nearly $US65,000.

Apart from the price tag, there isn’t a whole lot to gripe about. And even then it could be argued that the such a lofty price point is justified because that’s roughly what it costs to get behind the wheel of one of Audi’s Teutonic rivals.

As a car, the S5 does everything that’s asked of a vehicle in this genre. And does so exceptionally well. Unfortunately for Audi, the market for compact luxury cars as a whole is on the decline. As a result, the 2018 Audi S5 Coupe will be destined for life as a niche product.

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