2017 Audi S5 3.0 TFSI quattro tiptronic in glacier white.

Swoopy S5 a suburban street brawler

What is it?

It’s bold, brassy, and beautiful.

And Audi’s S5 comes as a coupe, convertible or swoopy four-door liftback.

A turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 replaces the previous supercharged engine, producing 260kW of power and a stonking 500Nm of mesa flat torque – the latter from 1370 to 4500 revs.

Power is fed to all four wheels, through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system and an 8-speed Tiptronic auto.

In Dynamic mode, one of five drive modes available, the 1690kg machine will see 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.

You get this with combined fuel economy of 7.5L/100km.

But, given the S5 is predominantly a suburban street brawler, the quoted city figure of 10.0L/100km is more likely.

With suburban and some highway work it wasn’t unusual to see 8.5L/100km.

Our test car was the two-door coupe, with doors longer than a supermodel’s legs and a roofline that demands you duck your head.

Once in headroom is adequate for all but a Goliath, but rear legroom is only average – even though the car is a long 4.7m.

The body has been slightly refined, with firmer looking haunches and LED headlights that are linked to LEDs down the back by a single, long crease line.

The aerodynamics have also been tweaked, with a drag coefficient of just 0.25Cd.

The coupe rides on 19-inch Continentals, with 255/35 series rubber and grip is prodigious.


What’s it cost?

S5 is priced at $116,500 driveaway.

For the money, you get a gorgeous combination of quilted, diamond-patterned leather and high quality plastics – both to look at and touch.

The seats are heated, but surprisingly not cooled, an oversight in a warm climate such as Australia – especially with leather.

The climate control air conditioning is three-zone, however, with separate outlets and temperature controls for rear seat passengers.

The driver faces Audi’s beautiful to read and use 12.3in high definition “Virtual Cockpit”.

It delivers a preset range of views that includes a full width map display.

Heads Up Display, which projects information on the lower part of the windscreen, is also provided and is intuitive to use.

The cabin layout is mostly ergonomic while drive mode offers Dynamic, Auto, Comfort, Individual, and Efficient.

An oddity is the monolithic display screen located in the upper centre of the dash.

Although it displays navigation, DAB/FM radio and other options, they’re selected via the Menu tab and jog dial – it’s not in fact a touchscreen.

Also, in radio mode, it doesn’t display the Radio Data Service on the same screen as the station – unlike others.

Frankly, it looks plain tacked on.

Cargo space behind rear seat passengers is a handy 455 litres, jumping to 829 litres with the seats folded.

There’s a bigger than expected fold out tray for rear seat passengers that includes two cup holders.

Not unexpectedly the car comes with a high level of safety.

There’s Collision Avoidance, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Cross Traffic Assistance – but when it comes to airbags the driver’s knees miss out.

Warranty is 3 years/unlimited kilometres – a term that’s now falling behind many others.

A three-year roadside assistance program helps offset that.


What’s it go like?

It goes like the proverbial off a Teflon-coated shovel.

Repeated attempts at the quoted 4.7 second 0-100km/h time confirm this, although seat of the pants feedback suggests this time is conservative.

Opting for Comfort or Efficiency dulls the razor sharp edge and handling – but doesn’t dull driving enjoyment.

But be careful because with all that torque mid-range acceleration could cost your licence.

At the same time it makes overtaking far safer than others without this sheer ability.

It also makes using the paddle shifts a doddle, with changes quicker than a blink.

The chassis has poise, is delicate yet assertive and absorbent yet firm.

It’s also an ideal hill climb vehicle.

Driven hard the S5 laps up hilly roads, despite off camber turns and corners that slow progress to 15km/h – as it waits patiently for more.

With all-wheel drive it never feels like a lack of drive or grip will be a problem, turning some tight corners into broad sweeping turns.

The front suspension has been quietly and subtly worked over, and is more communicative with better steering feedback.

Twitch and the car moves sideways.

The brakes are superb, with repeated hard stops producing consistent, fade-free results.

Freeway cruising is best suited to Comfort mode which really does make a difference.

The change is perceptible as the ride become more supple and gear changes feel more relaxed.

Even the paddle shifts are fractionally slower.


What we like?

  • Stunning good looks
  • Immensely flexible engine and transmission package
  • Virtual Cockpit


What we didn’t?

  • Almost afterthought look of the upper dash screen
  • Tighter than expected rear legroom
  • Thirst when driven exuberantly
  • No driver’s kneebag


The bottom line?

The S5 is luxurious, drives and handles with limpet grip and precision, is a relaxed freeway cruiser but gets fast very quickly.

Audi S5, priced from $116,500 driveaway
  • Looks - 8.0/10
  • Performance - 8.5/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 7.0/10
  • Practicality - 6.0/10
  • Comfort - 7.0/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7.5/10

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