Audi has always aimed at delivering vehicles that are luxurious and convenient at the same time; Audi S5 2017 is no different. It is a good looking, performance driven car that has the sporty punch. Audi S5 images took the internet by a storm and the car in actual tells one what the hype was all about; it totally is a stunner. The vehicle drives maturely while the suspension is just right to give the passengers a comfortable ride irrespective of the road conditions. The only shortcoming for the vehicle can be that it has the shortage of space for passengers; other than that, it is an absolute winner from the house of the German maestro.
EXTERIOR AND STYLE
If our test car hadn’t borrowed color from an alphonso mango, it wouldn’t have grabbed as many eyeballs. Over the years, the design directive for the ‘S’ lineup has been rather simple. Be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. Be covert, blend in and let the engine do the talking! Clearly Audi forgot this when they painted this particular one. As expected, the S5 turned a lot of heads. If being the centre of attention is on your bucket list, make sure you opt for a loud red, a flashy blue or even this unapologetic yellow. Most of you will call it a slightly flashy A4. We don’t blame you – it is. For all practical purposes, the S5 is the same size as the A4. It’s just the right size honestly. It isn’t intimidating in any manner. In fact, you can jump in, drive off and feel confident about where the four corners of the car are.
The design is typically Audi. The curves and creases are minimalistic. It gets a large, open-mouthed grille, LED daytime running lamps and some lovely looking 18-inch wheels. If the large wheels didn’t give the sporty pretensions away, the S5 gets subtle albeit noticeable bits like the lip spoiler and quad exhausts that stamp the fact that it means business. The S5 is a four-door, unlike the mental RS5. The Sportback design means that the roofline slopes into the rear in one clean sweep. Overall, it makes for a clean and understated silhouette. The trademark differentiators are in place, though. The platinum finish on the hexagonal grille, brushed aluminium on the mirror caps and a garnish of S badges is hard to miss.While the design is clean, there’s no novelty in there. It feels like a mix and match of bits and bobs from different Audis all stitched together around the profile of the S5. We aren’t complaining. But, Audi, we think you’ve taken the family look a bit too far.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
On the inside, we see a significant departure from the previous model. Right away, the most notable changes include the new infotainment display that is perched on top of the dash and the new layout for the HVAC vents. Since the display isn’t integrated into the center stack, the dash on the new S5 actually sits significantly lower, and the vents are now arranged in a straight line, running from one side of the dash to the other. The instrument cluster was replaced by Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display to go with the 8.3-inch display on the center stack. The dash now has a flat face to it that is accented in a light gray color, offsetting the naturally dark ambiance created by the black trim.
The center console also features a new design. The shifter is much smaller and was moved farther back on the console. There are two cup holders up front, almost below the center stack, and a small control knob for the infotainment system is located between the cup holders and the shifter. It also looks like there is red, neon accenting in the cutouts on the side of the center console that match the red finish of the exterior – an optional feature on the A5 that offers up to 30 different colors, but may be standard on the S5. With the new design, there is increased space for the driver and front passenger, and the dash layout makes the car feel wider.
The rear seatback has a 40:20:40 split that allows it to expand on the 16.4 cubic feet of available cargo space in the trunk. MMI navigation should come standard on the S5, as should Audi Connect with the LTE hotspot. As an option, the Audi Connect Safety and Service Package is also available, which works similar to GM’s OnStar, and allows owners to lock and unlock the car, check its geolocation, and call up vehicle status from a smartphone, smartwatch, or even fouth-generation Apple TV systems. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard. For those wanting a concert hall on wheels, a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system is available as an option.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
What remains to be spoken of is the 3.0-litre TFSI V6 petrol mill under the hood of the S5. This is a supercharged petrol engine that pumps out 328bhp of power at 5,500rpm and 440Nm of torque at 2,900rpm. It comes mated to the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox that sends power to all four wheels via Audi’s renowned Quattro all-wheel drive system. A tap on the accelerator and the S5 kicks off dust to reach the 100kmph mark from standstill in less than five seconds. It tops out at a limited 250kmph.
Like most modern Audis, the S5 too comes with five driving modes: Comfort, Efficiency, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. These modes change the response of the engine and gearbox, steering and suspension to give the S5 a tangible change in character. The changes are pretty evident with the engine revving higher, the throttle response becoming sharper, the ride becoming stiffer and the steering weighing up nicely in Dynamic mode. All of this goes light and soft in Comfort making the S5 feel like two very different cars. So, in Comfort and Efficiency modes, the steering feel is lighter, the throttle response is slightly dulled, and the suspension is soft enough to make the S5 glide quietly and effortlessly on the road. Even the engine note – which isn’t loud to begin with but offers a sweet tone in the Dynamic – mellows to an unobtrusive mechanical note.
RIDE AND HANDLING
As for ride and handling, the first thing you should know is that the S5 Sportback doesn’t have adaptive suspension, so changing the Drive Select modes won’t affect the ride in any way; that’s a shame because it would have been a great differentiator from the conventional sedans. Still, the good news is that, though it’s based on the A4, the S5 doesn’t have the same soft, floaty suspension as that car, because it is an import. As a result, the car isn’t raised or altered in any way for India, and the ride is actually better for it. It feels controlled enough for you to corner enthusiastically, but it actually handles bumps and potholes quite well too. And yes, though it’s a fair bit lower than the average luxury sedan, only the very largest speed breakers will pose a problem for the S5’s belly. Where this chassis age does show is the steering, which has that numb lifelessness that characterised Audis of old, but is much improved on the newer cars. It’s not a deal-breaker, but when the rest of the package is so strong, the weakest link really stands out. The S5 of course has Quattro AWD, and an ESP system with a Sport mode of its own, which lets you have a little bit of fun while still keeping you safe.
The car gets a 6 airbag system with dual frontal, side chest and side head-protecting airbags as standard. Side chest protecting airbags in the second-row outboard seats are available on the A5. It gets a pop-up bonnet for pedestrian protection, tyre pressure warning, light and rain sensor, ISOFIX child seat mounting and top tether. Other features include anti-theft wheel bolts, seat belt monitoring, anti-theft alarm and a variable restraint system. The A5 also has some electronic safety features like AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) and LSS (Lane Support Systems). On the service front, Audi has authorised service stations in most major cities in India.
For all the posturing, the S5 isn’t a brat outright. It isn’t an out and out driver’s car either. The somewhat vague throttle and distant steering make sure of that. The gearbox grumbles, although annoying at first, can quickly be worked around. So it misses a bit of magic, but it is still a very likeable car. As expected from Audis, the S5 is an elegant, comfortable and rapid machine. So, if you are looking for a capable companion with a bit of a wild side for your long journeys, the S5’s mixture of naughty and nice will seem just right.