2018 Audi S5 Review

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2018 Audi S5 Overview

The Audi S5—the A5’s sportier, more powerful sibling—gets a total makeover for 2018, with a new exterior design, an updated interior, a new powertrain, and even more driver-assistance technologies. The 2018 S5 is available in coupe or convertible form, with only minor differences between the two.

The new S5 displays a wider architectural design with a longer, flatter Singleframe grille and longer hood lines. The car’s stance is lower as well, with xenon plus headlights with daytime running lights up front and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals at the rear. Its profile shows off 18-inch Audi Sport 5-double-spoke-star wheels with summer performance tires, which can be upgraded to 19-inch 5-spoke-Cavo color-contrasting wheels.

The S5’s cabin gets a plethora of luxurious appointments, from a 3-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel with paddle shifters to S sport seats with contrast diamond stitching, pneumatic side bolsters, and a massage function. Other standard features include 3-zone automatic climate control with diffuser air vents, a panoramic sunroof, ambient LED lighting, aluminum matte brushed inlays, and a height-adjustable folding and sliding center armrest.

The convertible S5 variant is almost identical its coupe sibling, with a soft top that operates at the press of a button and folds into a tray beneath the luggage compartment. It works at speeds up to 31 mph, opening in 15 seconds and closing in 18. This year sees the debut of safety-belt microphones exclusive to the convertible, making voice commands more easily understood when the top is down.

For 2018, the S5 is outfitted with an all-new 3.0-liter TFSI 6-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission for an output of 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The S5 comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) and can reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (or 4.8 seconds for the convertible variant). Its revised suspension system delivers precise steering and handling for a sporty yet comfortable ride, and drivers can choose between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual drive modes to adjust the shift points, steering, and optional damper control and adaptive cruise control. Available dynamic steering further enhances the drive with a variable steering ratio that adjusts depending on the speed and drive mode. For an even more dynamic driving experience, the S5 offers an S Sport package with red brake calipers, a sport adaptive damping suspension, and a sport rear differential.

The new Audi virtual cockpit is now available for the 2018 S5 and adds a 12.3-inch color display screen with Google Earth-based navigation. The standard MMI infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and available options include a full-color head-up display, an upgraded 19-speaker 755-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, and MMI touch with handwriting recognition and a unique function-key layout with 2 touch-keys. The ultimate in connectivity is provided through Audi connect, a subscription service that offers traffic information, weather updates, fuel prices, read-aloud headlines, and even Twitter alerts. Audi connect also comes with available safety features like automatic crash notification, manual emergency call, stolen-vehicle locator, online roadside assistance, and service notifications.

Safety also gets an upgrade for 2018, with more advanced driver-assistance technologies like Audi “pre sense basic” now standard on the S5. This system prepares the vehicle for an imminent collision by closing the side windows and panoramic sunroof and tightening the seat belts. The Audi “pre sense city” system, operating at speeds up to 52 mph, detects vehicles and pedestrians in the surrounding area and will initiate full braking if a collision is anticipated. Available safety features include rear cross-traffic assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and traffic-jam assist, traffic-sign recognition, and lane-departure warning.

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Nicole Wakelin's passion for cars started on the day she went for a ride in a bright red Ferrari as a teenager. She writes reviews and covers everything cars for CarGurus, The Boston Globe, BestRide, and Be Car Chic and blogs all things geek over at TotalFanGirl.

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