2012 Audi S5 Expert Review

4.3 Overall Score
Performance 4.4 Comfort 4.0 Styling 4.7 Value 3.9

Editor's Overview

Sculpted looks, a spirited powertrain, and exceptional fit and finish enable the A5 to stand out amid stiff competition. Audi's all-wheel-drive system keeps car planted, while its four bolstered leather seats comfortably do the same for occupants.

You'll Like The 2012 Audi S5 If...

The 2012 Audi A5 line continues to offer buyers beautiful, emotive styling that walks the line between grace and aggression. In addition, fuel-efficient powertrain options and the availability of Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system make the Coupes and Cabriolets attractive choices.

You May Not Like The 2012 Audi S5 If...

Buyers shopping in this segment are fortunate to have a wealth of choices, and the 2012 Audi A5 line is up against a host of stiff competition The BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Infiniti G37 Coupe each offer varying levels of panache, sportiness and luxury.

What's New

Audi has differentiated the 2012 A5 Cabriolet from its Coupe sibling with a new 18-inch, 15-spoke wheel design. There's an 18-inch, 10-spoke V-design wheel on the Coupe, while new S line trim options add a sportier appearance and nicer interior details.

Interior Features

There are plenty of attributes that help define the A5 line as a viable alternative to, for example, the BMW 3 Series, but the A5's interior shines as one of the most important. Front occupants are treated to leather seats that offer excellent support without sacrificing accessibility, and the driver-oriented gauge cluster and center-stack help lend the cabin a sporty feel. The S5, meanwhile, goes even further with a spread of Nappa leather and a variety of unique dash inlays. Buyers may choose between carbon fiber, brushed aluminum, stainless steel or gray birch.

Exterior Features

Audi has done an excellent job of crafting a corporate design language that doesn't feel forced or overbearing, and the 2012 A5 Coupe is a perfect poster child for the company's efforts. Audi's trademark single-frame grille, LED accent lighting, finely-tailored sheet metal, expressive fenders and sleek profile give the A5 an undeniable distinction. For 2012, buyers may choose to equip the A5 with S line exterior treatments that include more expressive front and rear bumpers, side skirts, door sills and badges.

Driving Impressions

Audi has led luxury automakers in the utilization of weight-saving aluminum chassis structures, and that pays huge dividends in how the 2012 A5 performs on the road. The A5 Coupe offers terrific balance above all else, with excellent poise and a comfortable ride in just about any reasonable situation. The S5 Coupe, meanwhile, delivers blistering speed and over-the-road competence, courtesy of its brawny 4.2-liter V8 engine and the quattro all-wheel drive system. Even with its remarkable power, the S5 Coupe can easily and precisely be manipulated through your favorite corners, and you don't have to be an expert driver with a racing background to appreciate its handling prowess and refinement.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 Audi A5 Coupe with manual transmission is just over $37,000; the Tiptronic automatic transmission will add approximately $1,200. The base A5 Cabriolet (FWD, CVT) is over $42,000, with quattro and Tiptronic adding $2,100. The S5 Coupe, with its impressive V8 and manual transmission, is around $55,000, while the V6-equipped S5 Cabriolet is over $59,000. When shopping, reference kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price for an indicator of what customers are paying in your area. Audi's predicted resale is very good, with the 2012 A5 Coupe expected to do significantly better than the BMW 3-Series Coupe or the Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe

Notable Equipment

In examining the list of standard equipment of the 2012 Audi A5, it's tempting to ask the question: What more could anyone want? The A5 Coupe's Premium trim level includes 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seating surfaces, automatic climate control, Audi concert radio (with 10 speakers, Sirius Satellite Radio and 180 watts), power front seats with driver memory, a panorama sunroof and auto-dimming mirrors. On the S5, the standard trim level is called Premium Plus and includes 19-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth touch-free interface, sport seats covered in Silk Nappa leather, sport suspension and three-zone automatic climate control.

Notable Options

For 2012, the Audi A5 is now available with an optional Convenience Package that offers Bluetooth, HomeLink and Audi Music Interface with an iPod cable. The A5 Premium package includes power front seats with a driver memory function and auto-dimming mirrors. Additionally, navigation is now a stand-alone option, which many buyers may appreciate. And A5 Prestige models are now fitted with adaptive headlights and a handy lane-change assist function.

Favorite Features

3.0-liter Supercharged V6
Though the naturally-aspirated V8 in the S5 Coupe produces marginally more horsepower, the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in the S5 Cabriolet delivers just as much torque and at a lower engine speed, making it just as useable in most driving situations. In addition, the V6 is vastly more fuel-efficient, beating the V8's fuel economy by three mpg in the city and four mpg on the highway.

S tronic Dual-Clutch Transmission
With the precision of a manual and the convenience of an automatic, the dual-clutch transmission, which is standard on the S5 Cabriolet, is a significant advancement in delivering the power to the wheels and embellishes the S5's capability for easily and efficiently putting pavement in the rearview mirrors.

Under the Hood

As a base powerplant, Audi's superb 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged 4-cylinder is almost perfect for the application, with adequate (211) horsepower and an ample (258 lb-ft) level of torque. The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 may be the sweet spot (available only in the S5 Cabriolet), with horsepower - 333 - close to that of the Coupe's V8, yet in a more efficient package. The S5 Coupe's 4.2 liter V8 may seem old school but, behind the wheel of a car with 354 horsepower, who cares?

2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
211 horsepower @ 4,300 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
21/31 (quattro manual), 21/29 (quattro automatic), 22/30 (front-wheel drive, automatic)

3.0 liter V6 Supercharged
333 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (S tronic automatic)

4.2 liter V8
354 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 (manual), 16/24 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

The 2012 Audi A5 and its more sporting counterpart, the 2012 S5, deliver comfort, performance, handling and luxury, all wrapped in a package that is stunningly gorgeous on the outside, beautifully sumptuous on the inside and crafted with impeccable fit and finish. Powered by a range of smooth, powerful and fuel-efficient engines, and offering the availability of Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, the A5 Coupe, A5 Cabriolet, S5 Coupe and S5 Cabriolet provide extremely appealing options in a market full of stiff competition.

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