2015 Audi S5

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2015 Audi S5. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Supercharged V-6's smooth, linear power
  • Responsive dual-clutch transmission
  • All-wheel-drive system's rear-biased torque split
  • Appearance with Black Optic Package
  • Visibility

The Bad

  • Shift delay in auto transmission's manual mode
  • Extra-firm base suspension
  • Too much power-steering assistance
  • Loud brake squeal
  • Console MMI buttons take eyes from road

Notable Features of the 2015 Audi S5

  • Midlevel performance version of A5
  • Supercharged V-6 engine standard
  • Coupe or soft-top convertible
  • Manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • All-wheel drive standard

2015 Audi S5 Road Test

Mike Hanley

The all-wheel-drive 2015 Audi S5 deftly combines style, luxury and performance, but it needs a more compliant base suspension for better everyday comfort.

The S5 is the midlevel performance version of Audi's luxury coupe, slotting between the regular A5 and the highest-performance RS 5. Luxury competitors are increasingly following Audi's performance-car approach, with brands like Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac launching AMG Sport and Vsport models, respectively, that are a step below their AMG and V-Series cars. The S5 is also offered in soft-top convertible form.

The S5 coupe's $53,425 starting price, including a $925 destination charge, is higher than those of all-wheel-drive versions of the BMW 435i and Mercedes-Benz C350 coupes, but nearly identical to the mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive Porsche Cayman (to see their specs compared, click here).

Our test car had an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which added $1,400 to the base price; additional options like a navigation system, 19-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery and a torque-vectoring rear differential brought the as-tested price to $63,025.

Exterior & Styling
The S5's styling hasn't changed much since the car's debut as a 2008 model, and the once-radical "Singleframe" grille now seems ordinary. The headlights, taillights and Audi's plunging grille were tweaked for the 2013 model year, but the S5 still has the clean, unadorned lines that have been its signat...

The all-wheel-drive 2015 Audi S5 deftly combines style, luxury and performance, but it needs a more compliant base suspension for better everyday comfort.

The S5 is the midlevel performance version of Audi's luxury coupe, slotting between the regular A5 and the highest-performance RS 5. Luxury competitors are increasingly following Audi's performance-car approach, with brands like Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac launching AMG Sport and Vsport models, respectively, that are a step below their AMG and V-Series cars. The S5 is also offered in soft-top convertible form.

The S5 coupe's $53,425 starting price, including a $925 destination charge, is higher than those of all-wheel-drive versions of the BMW 435i and Mercedes-Benz C350 coupes, but nearly identical to the mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive Porsche Cayman (to see their specs compared, click here).

Our test car had an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which added $1,400 to the base price; additional options like a navigation system, 19-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery and a torque-vectoring rear differential brought the as-tested price to $63,025.

Exterior & Styling
The S5's styling hasn't changed much since the car's debut as a 2008 model, and the once-radical "Singleframe" grille now seems ordinary. The headlights, taillights and Audi's plunging grille were tweaked for the 2013 model year, but the S5 still has the clean, unadorned lines that have been its signature since the beginning. Overall, the 2015 is unchanged versus the 2014 (see the two model years compared here).

Our test car had a $1,300 Black Optic Package, which includes 19-inch, five-spoke wheels in a titanium finish and gloss-black trim that looked great against our test car's $550 Misano Red paint color. Summer tires are also included in the package, but our test car was fitted with winter tires to match the season.

How It Drives
The S5 does some things that thoroughly impress, but there are a few characteristics that leave you shaking your head, wondering what could have been.

The 333-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine is very good. So good, in fact, that I never missed the 4.2-liter V-8 that powered the S5 coupe until the 2013 model year. The V-6 is perfectly suited to American driving, with 325 pounds-feet of torque available from just 2,900 rpm. That torque is there whenever you need it; pressing the gas pedal brings immediate thrust that shoves you back in your seat. Power delivery is smooth, linear and gratifying — every time.

It helps that the engine teams with a responsive dual-clutch transmission. Whether the gear selector is in Drive or the Sport setting, the transmission quickly kicks down a gear with just a nudge of the accelerator. Shifts are smooth and refined, but they firm up in Sport mode.

After experiencing the transmission's wonderful responsiveness in plain-old Drive, its manual mode is a letdown. Steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles or the console gear selector let you control gear changes, but there's an unsatisfying delay from the time you ask for a gear change and when the transmission responds with one. It doesn't matter whether you're upshifting or downshifting. This has been a problem with manual modes for years, though it's gotten better recently in some cars. The S5 isn't one of them. Fortunately, a traditional six-speed manual transmission is standard.

The S5 coupe's EPA-estimated gas mileage trails its competitors. It's rated 18/28/21 mpg city/highway/combined with the automatic transmission and 17/26/20 mpg with the manual. The all-wheel-drive 435i, meanwhile, gets 24 mpg combined with an automatic and 23 mpg with a manual. The all-wheel-drive C350 coupe is automatic only and gets 22 mpg in combined driving. The fuel economy leader is the lightweight, rear-drive Cayman, which is rated 26 mpg combined with an automatic transmission.

The S5's standard all-wheel-drive system has been tuned appropriately for performance driving. The system's rear-biased torque distribution sends more engine torque to the rear wheels, giving the S5 the feel of a rear-wheel-drive coupe, and the available torque-vectoring rear differential proactively sends power to the outside rear wheel for better cornering performance. It's a fun car to drive on winding roads.

I grew tired, however, of the S5's standard sport suspension. This is a firm-riding car, and the ride can be quite jarring on bumpy pavement. Even the Cayman doesn't ride this rough. Audi offers an adaptive suspension for $1,000 that provides a choice of ride firmness.

The steering left me underwhelmed. You get only a little feedback through the steering wheel, and there's too much power assistance. Choosing the Dynamic mode in Audi Drive Select dials it back only slightly.

The S5 has large 13.6-inch front and 13-inch rear ventilated brake discs, but the brake system in our test car had a tendency to produce a loud, embarrassing squeal when coming to a stop. The noise would go away after a bit of driving, but it was odd to hear a non-ceramic brake system make such a racket.

Interior
The S5's cabin is going on 8 years old. It's held up remarkably well, but a few elements look past their prime. The aluminum-infused wood trim is great and looks like something you'd see in an ultra-luxury car, as it should considering it's a $1,100 option. The rubberized upper door and dashboard trim, however, is from an earlier luxury-car era, and some buttons don't have a premium appearance.

Despite the S5's sleek exterior look, forward, over-shoulder and rear views from the driver's seat are good. An optional backup camera further improves visibility. It's part of a $2,900 Technology Package.

The front sport seats are wide, and I like that they include manually adjustable thigh support. The side bolsters are large and hold you in place in corners.

The two-person backseat provides passable comfort for short trips. I'm 6-foot-1 and had just enough headroom. The seat's geometry is good, and with the front seat moved forward a little, legroom is tolerable. Large side windows keep claustrophobia at bay.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The S5 has an older version of Audi's Multi Media Interface that has a few shortcomings: The 7-inch dashboard screen looks small in an era when displays are now regularly 8 inches and larger, and entering a destination into the navigation system with the console knob controller is a tedious process.

The biggest problem with MMI is the location of direct-access buttons for audio, navigation and other systems. They frame the knob controller, and I had to take my eyes off the road whenever I needed to use one of them. Perhaps the location of each button would become familiar in time, but it wasn't on initial use.

Bluetooth cellphone connectivity is standard, and Bluetooth streaming audio is included with the Technology Package. The system readily paired with my iPhone, but I had to hunt around in the multimedia system settings to activate the streaming audio function.

Cargo & Storage
The 12.2-cubic-foot trunk is a little larger than the C350's 11.7-cubic-foot luggage area, but it's smaller than the 435i's trunk, which measures 15.7 cubic feet. The mid-engine Cayman has front and rear luggage areas that total 15 cubic feet.

The S5's trunk has a rectangular shape with few intrusions. A 60/40-split folding backseat is standard, and lowering both sections of the backrest reveals a large opening between the trunk and cabin for carrying longer items.

Safety
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash-tested the S5, but it's not uncommon for sporty cars to go untested.

The Technology Package includes a few safety-oriented features, like rear parking sensors and a backup camera, but only one active-safety feature: blind spot warning. Adaptive cruise control is also optional. Active-safety features such as forward collision warning with autonomous braking and lane departure prevention are becoming increasingly common in the luxury segment, and both features are optional on the C350 coupe. For a full list of the S5's safety features, see the Features & Specs page.

Value in Its Class
It's not unusual for optional features to significantly bump up a luxury car's price, and that's what the $8,200 in optional features did to our S5. Some of the things that cost extra, however, should really be standard; you shouldn't have to pay extra for a backup camera in a luxury car, and the torque-vectoring rear differential should be included, too, considering the S5's performance focus.

Audi does performance-oriented luxury well, but there are some clear areas where the S5 needs to be better to keep pace in its class. Considering this model's age, that next effort may not be far off.

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Latest 2015 S5 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

A beautiful way to smile from Point A to Point B

by jacsctogra from San Jose, CA on June 28, 2018

The S5 is quick, capable, and achieves a near-perfect balance of luxury comfort and sporting passion. It's an extremely well-rounded driving experience. I've also dreamed of owning Sepang Blue Pearl ... Read full review

(5.0)

Most sexy and fun car I've ever owned

by millimal from Atlanta, GA on June 20, 2018

This Audi S5 exceeded my expectations in terms of performance, reliability and efficiency. The interior space is comfortable for a sports car. By far, the overall best bang for your buck! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 Audi S5 currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2015 Audi S5 has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Audi

Program Benefits

Comprehensive 300+ point dealer inspection, 24/7 roadside assistance including towing and trip interruption reimbursement, 1 Year/Unlimited Miles Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty coverage, transferability of the Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty to a subsequent private owner, and CARFAX® Vehicle History Report.

  • Limited Warranty

    1 Year / Unlimited Miles

    1 Year/ Unlimited Miles Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty features 1 Year / Unlimited Miles of warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired and coverage honored at over 300 Audi dealerships service centers throughout the U.S., total confidence is yours as you take the road less traveled.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 300+ point inspection.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The S5 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker