2016 Audi S5 Review


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2016 Audi S5 Overview

The Audi S5 is the German carmaker’s 6-cylinder offering that sits right between the regular 4-cylinder A5 and the V8 RS5, but for 2016 the RS5 is no longer in production on the current platform. For now, then, the S5 is the king of the hill in this model range. It's now in its seventh year in the U.S. market, a fact that becomes apparent in areas like the interior and especially when compared to the newer cars the S5 coupe and convertible competes with, like the BMW 435i, Mercedes-Benz E400, Cadillac ATS, and Lexus RC 350. But while it may be a bit outdated in certain areas, the S5 is still a comfortable, competent car that ably stacks up against its contemporaries, especially in the performance department.

The list of changes for 2016 is a short one. A new color, Misano Red, has been added, 20-inch wheels and gloss-black mirrors are new options with the Black Optic Plus package, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system is now standard. The S5 is still available in coupe or convertible forms, and the optional trim packages remain the base Premium Plus package and the Prestige package.

The Premium Plus starts at $54,100 for the coupe and $61,100 for the convertible, and it gets you 18-inch wheels, auto-dimming and heated mirrors, Audi Drive Select driving-mode selection, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats with memory, and a 6.5-inch display screen. The Prestige package, meanwhile, starts at $59,350 for the coupe and $67,350 for the convertible, and it adds adaptive headlights as well as the Technology package as standard (it is still available as an option for the Premium Plus). The Technology package actually adds a lot of desirable goodies, including Bluetooth streaming audio, navigation, Wi-Fi, voice controls, a larger display screen, console-mounted controls, parking sensors, a rear-view camera, and a blind-spot monitor.

Options bundles also include the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive steering and adaptive cruise control, and the Black Optic package, which adds special 19-inch wheels, gloss-black exterior trim, and upgraded leather. A Comfort package with ventilated front seats and neck-level heating is also available on the S5 convertible.

Compared to the normal A5, the Audi S5 gets a tighter suspension, bigger brakes, and some styling tweaks both inside and out, but the biggest difference is under the hood. Powering the S5 is Audi’s fantastic and remarkably smooth 3.0-liter supercharged V6. It makes 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to all-wheel drive (AWD), it puts that power to the ground effectively and gets the car from 0 to 60 mph in anywhere from 4.6 to 5.3 seconds, a quite impressive number for an automobile weighing between 3,858 (coupe) and 4,310 (convertible) pounds. For a heavy car with a blown 6-cylinder motor, the S5 also gets respectable fuel economy. The coupe when equipped with a manual will do 17 mpg city/26 highway, and it gets 18/28 with an automatic, while the convertible also gets 18/28.

The S5 coupe comes standard with a proper 6-speed manual gearbox that old-school driving enthusiasts will prefer, but the 7-speed automatic will no doubt be a popular option. The automatic does include paddle shifters for manual sequential shifting. These are actually quite fun to play with, and having the option of either automatic or manual shifting adds to the car’s versatility. One other optional extra is a sport rear differential that effectively combats the understeer that can plague AWD performance cars. Serious drivers will want to spring for this option.

Where the 2016 S5 will get the most criticism is on the inside. It’s still a perfectly fine place to be, but it’s somewhat dated compared to the competition as far as technology goes. For example, it doesn’t have USB connectivity, something you can find even in most econo-boxes these days. Otherwise, there have been complaints about the dash-mounted controls, but the console-mounted controls you get with the Technology package do rectify these issues a bit. The back seat is also somewhat cramped, at least for adult passengers, but people who actually care about rear-seat space should be looking at Audi’s numerous 4-door alternatives. Trunk space is also less than fantastic but perfectly adequate at 10.2 cubic feet, and one impressive fact about the convertible is that dropping the top reduces that capacity by only 2 cubic feet. Speaking of the top, it lowers in 17 seconds and raises in 15, and when it’s raised the convertible is no less quiet than the coupe. The convertible also gets 50/50 split rear seatbacks, but the coupe has to make due with 60/40.

The 2016 Audi S5 comes standard with ABS, stability and traction control, front side and knee airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. The aforementioned Technology package adds a blind-spot monitor, rear-view camera, and parking sensors, and the Prestige trim package gets adaptive cruise control that includes automatic braking. It’s therefore up to speed as far as modern safety goes, and one appealing characteristic of the S5 and other Audis is the Quattro AWD system. As an AWD machine, the S5 can be daily driven year round without much worry. Once the snow melts, you can then slap some stickier summer tires on it for the more vigorous driving it was intended to do. It’s also more than comfortable enough for long trips. As an all-rounder for someone who doesn’t need more than 2 doors, the S5 is a top choice.


Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a 1969 Lynx Formula Vee. After receiving two degrees in history, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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