The Audi S5: Sleek to Freak in 4.5s

Throughout my career as an automotive enthusiast, I have had the privilege of cultivating a network of like-minded individuals who share my passion for automobiles. Our common ground extends beyond our appreciation for cars and into the realm of shared experiences and insights gained from traversing the open road. In addition to the camaraderie fostered by our mutual love for cars, I have had the good fortune of getting behind the wheel of a wide variety of vehicles, each with their unique characteristics and attributes.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days with a friend from Kolkata who had driven his Stage 1 Audi S5 to Mumbai. While we had already tested the vehicle against the BMW M340i on our YouTube channel, I want to focus on the Audi S5 as it exceeded my expectations as a true autobahn cruiser. Rather than dwelling on the well-known BMW M340i, I would like to highlight the impressive capabilities of the Ingolstadt powerhouse.

The Audi S5 is a stylish car that commands attention thanks to its sportback style rear end. If there was a beauty pageant between the AMG C43, BMW M340i, and the S5, the Audi would be the clear winner. The front of the car features an imposing grill, sleek Matrix LED headlights, and a long, low-slung bonnet that all contribute to its impressive presence. However, the real drama is in the sportback rear end, which defines the term “hate to see her go, love to watch her leave.” Overall, the Audi S5 is a stunning car that stands out from its competition with its unique design.

The interior of the Audi S5 may not be as flamboyant as some of its rivals, but it still exudes a sense of luxury. The design is simple yet refined, with nothing that would distract or draw attention away from the quality of the finishes. It’s not as flashy as the Mercedes C43 or the BMW M340i, but it’s a comfortable space, making it a great car for long trips. The dashboard design is similar to that of the A4, and while it might be considered old-fashioned by some, it still has a clean and sophisticated look. The brushed aluminum accents and light grey upholstery add to the elegance of the interior. The seats are made of a mix of leather and Alcantara, and the texture of the upholstery gives the cabin a sporty feel. Audi is known for its quality, and the S5 is no exception. It’s difficult to find any faults with the fit and finish of the interior.

When you get behind the wheel and start driving, the first thing you’ll notice about the Audi S5 is how comfortable the ride is at lower speeds. Compared to other cars in its class, the S5 has adaptive dampers as an option that can be adjusted to match your driving style. When you put it in Comfort mode, the ride is refined, smooth, and easy to handle, making it perfect for everyday use. However, if you hit a bump too quickly, you might hear a thudding noise from the 19-inch wheels.

When you want to speed up, the S5 is everything you’d expect from an Audi. The adaptive dampers stiffen up the rebound, giving you better feedback through the steering wheel. This means you’ll have a better sense of the road and more confidence when driving at higher speeds.  

The Audi S5, when compared to its German rivals, falls short in a few areas, particularly in the handling department. While the S5’s quattro AWD system provides immense mechanical grip in the corners, it is limited by the car’s weight and length. The M340i and C43, on the other hand, are considered nimble and direct, whereas the S5 is not. When pushed to its limits, the S5 struggles to hide its biggest weakness, which is its dimensions. Due to its front-heavy nature and long wheelbase, the Audi S5 can be prone to understeer in tight corners. However, it is still an amazing car to drive on a spirited run. It has loads of grip and the steering weight in dynamic provides really good feedback. But when compared to its rivals, the S5 falls short in terms of directness and agility at the absolute limit.

In my opinion, the most impressive aspect of the car is its 3-liter turbo V6 engine. The power surge that occurs once the twin-scroll turbo kicks in is truly addictive. This particular Audi S5 was equipped with a stage 1 remap from Eturns Greece, which made it even more powerful and exciting to drive. While the stock S5 produces 349bhp, this modified car now boasts around 400bhp. The power delivery is not just more aggressive, it is also smoothly integrated with the way the turbo spools. This means that the power is transferred to the wheels without any drama, allowing the car to maintain its grip at all times, even with all the driver assists switched off.

On the highway, the engine remains relaxed and quiet even at 160kmph, thanks to the long ratios of the ZF 8-speed transmission. The transmission is snappy enough to be enjoyable, but the shifts aren’t as aggressive as the M340i’s, which also houses a ZF 8-speed box. Overall, the 3.0 turbo V6 is a versatile engine. It is refined when needed, and a real firecracker when you push it. If you want even more power, the 3.0 Audi V6 is known for its potential and can be tuned up to 650bhp with bolt-on upgrades!

All in all, the Audi S5 proves to be a perfect daily sports car. It is built to stand the test of relevance with its supreme looks and versatile performance. The S5 is capable of cross-country travel, an exciting Sunday spin, and even the weekly grocery run. If I was in the market for a sporty luxury sedan and had to pick one car for it all, it would have to be the S5 for its sheer practicality. The only condition I would choose the M340i would be if I had another car in my garage or if I had to build a “10-second car”.  

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Bhavneet Vaswani
Bhavneet Vaswani

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