Audi S5 review

Not the middle child you expect

₹ 79,00,000


Same sausage, different size is a game long played best by the Germans. But lately, the big three have also gotten pretty creative by altering the contents of the sausage. Before you hit the back button, let me cut to the chase. The Audi S5 Sportback sits between the vanilla A5 and the full-bore RS5, making this S5, a practical man’s sportscar who isn’t ready to commit. Completely. 
As an in-betweener, it gets a V6 TFSI engine that is good for a meaty 354hp and 500Nm, along with lashings of satin-finish aluminum on the exterior and Alcantara on the insides. The low-slung coupe-like roofline and 19in wheels give it a real sporty stance while the aggressive air-intake housings upfront and quad tailpipes at the rear add purpose to the sexy aesthetic.

It’s a car that begs to be stared at, especially in our test car’s shade of Turbo Blue. It has perfect proportions, and Audi’s expertise at Matrix-LED lighting pays dividends in brightening up the face, both figuratively and literally. In fact, there’s very little to separate it from the RS5 and if anything, the quad tail-pipes on the S5 look more menacing than the dual tips on the RS5!
Step in and things are what you’d expect from a top-tier Audi, with build-quality of the highest order and switches that click with a sound that is more satisfying than a midnight binge of Nutella. It doesn’t have the flamboyance of the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe, but Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus is still the best digital instrument cluster system there is with crisp graphics, full-screen navigation and shows a wealth of data without ever overwhelming you.

Drive: Frown to smile in 5 secs!

Drive modes are offered, but dynamic dampers get a miss on our test car, though they can be optioned into your purchase. The Quattro all-wheel drive system doesn’t get any significant rear-wheel bias so it’s hard to get playful with the S5, but the engine is a true gem here, mated to an exceptional 8-speed gearbox that never lets you feel turbo lag. Even on the 19in wheels, the ride was never jarring and the underbody never scraped on even the biggest of speedbumps, something no other car in its class can boast of!

In Comfort mode, it’s as useable as an A5 cruising around town, but switch it to Dynamic and the exhaust gets fruitier and throttle responses are immediate. The surge of torque is enough for a 4.8sec claimed time of 0-100km/hr and although we didn’t put that claim to an objective test, the scrambled eggs we had for breakfast can attest to it!

Thankfully, the brakes are superlative at shedding all that speed with linear and confident stopping power with just the right pedal feel. It does make the BMW M340i feel like a bargain with its higher power output and lower price tag, but if you’re looking to turn more heads with looks and noise, the S5 comes out on top.

Tech: What you get is what you need

Conservative in its list of tech goodies, the S5 sticks to the essentials. There is no wireless CarPlay or Android Auto and no wireless charging mat either, but you do get both USB-A and USB-C for the front passengers.

The new 10.1in touchscreen is placed well on the dashboard, so it never obstructs the view out of the windshield, even if you’re seated low in the driver’s seat. It works well and is logical enough but the one anomaly was the size of the icons with wired CarPlay. The touchpoints are visibly smaller than on other implementations of Apple CarPlay in other brand cars and given our less-than-stellar roads, I hit the wrong virtual button more than once.

Finding vehicle related settings is easy with its logical UI and crisp resolution of text. What is also appreciated are the physical controls for the climate control with integrated displays for temperature in the dial. Heck, there’s even a tactile, rotary volume knob which is a joy in these times of virtual buttons. The Bang & Olufsen Front 3D system on the other end of that volume knob sounds sufficiently grand when you’re not enjoying the fantastic sounds from the engine and exhaust duo.

Audi still persists with an outdated rear camera with poor resolution and fish-eye distortion, which is surprising at this price point. To feel good though, there is a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, 30-colour ambient lighting and well-sculpted, powered front seats.


Most of all though, it’s the practicality and everyday useability of the S5 that impresses for a car with its silhouette. The sportback boot opens like a hatch to reveal an enormous boot and the frameless doors may ooze style, but they open up to a comfortable cabin that never amplifies your BPM, unless you take control. 
You don’t have to worry about bad roads (within reasonable limits), you can seat four in comfort along with all their luggage and take on Porsches at red lights. In the world of indulgent cars, the Audi S5 really comes across as great value for money!

Stuff Says

Achingly beautiful and supremely capable of smiles, the Audi S5 is an everyday sportscar that hits the sweet spot.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. V6 engine has the grunt and sound

  1. Comfortable ride and adequate ground clearance

  1. Build quality second to none

  1. Great sounding B&O sound system

  1. Some key tech missing or seems outdated

  1. Cabin design doesn’t look special enough

Engine: V6 petrol (turbocharged)
Power: 354hp / 500Nm
Drivetrain: Quattro AWD
Transmission: 8-speed tiptronic
Acceleration: 0-100km/hr in 4.8secs
Tires: 255/35 R19