The Audi A5 are stylish coupes and convertibles featuring luxurious cabins and that handling precision that goes with Audi quattro all-wheel drive. The same goes for the high-performance Audi S5.
The A5 and S5 were launched as 2008 models. There are no significant changes for the 2012 model year. Some new wheel designs have been added and there have been some minor changes to the packaging of standard features and options.
Audi A5 and S5 are grand touring cars designed to cover lots of ground at high speed while coddling two occupants. The rear seats are for the occasional adult passengers or for bringing kids along. The A5 involves the driver physically, audibly, and mentally though never to the point of making it a chore or less than inviting. The Audi S5 can be hustled down virtually any road at a good clip. These are substantial cars, however, so they don't behave like small, lightweight sports cars.
The A5 looks distinctive and is very attractive from any angle, with flowing curves bringing musculature to sleek, aerodynamic forms and arresting light patterns. Viewed from behind there's a chance of mistaking an A5 for a British GT, but from any other angle it's unmistakably Audi.
Audi interiors have been racking up awards for a long time and the A5 is in the same mold. It has the features expected, good ergonomics, a central interface system that won't drive you to cursing, and it's all assembled to a high standard using appropriate materials. Despite the standard all-wheel drive on most models it also has reasonable trunk space, so you can enjoy a road trip without sending clubs and luggage FedEx.
The Audi A5 delivers confidence and luxury in a package not likely to be seen at every intersection. The Audi S5 delivers more performance and luxury, which comes at a higher price, yet it still represents a decent value among high-performance coupes.
Audi A5 competes primarily with BMW 3 Series coupes and convertibles, Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupes and convertibles, and the Infiniti G37 coupe. Audi S5 offers capabilities that it might also be shopped against the Jaguar XK or Porsche 911. All of these are fine cars, but only the 911 can match the S5 with the availability of all-wheel drive, and with the Porsche it comes at a substantially higher price. Quattro all-wheel drive comes standard on all A5 models except one convertible.
The Audi A5 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. EPA fuel economy numbers for the Audi A5 Coupe with the four-cylinder engine, manual gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive are 21/31 mpg City/Highway. For the Audi A5 Cabriolet with the four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive, the figures are 22/30 mpg. Automatic quattros get an EPA-rated 21/29 mpg.
The Audi S5 Cabriolet is powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with S-tronic 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The supercharged V6 has 333 horsepower, 325 pound-feet of torque on tap and a quick-shifting automated manual gearbox for performance. The federal government rates the S5 at 17/26 mpg.
The Audi S5 Coupe uses a high-revving 4.2-liter V8, with 354 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, essentially a milder version of the engine in the Audi R8 mid-engine sports car. The S5 coupe uses a 6-speed automatic or manual gearbox, the latter the quickest of all S5 models. Fuel economy from the V8 is an EPA-estimated 16/24 mpg with the automatic, 14/22 mpg with the manual gearbox.