The 2018 Audi S5 is the performance version of the A5, Audi's compact-luxury coupe and convertible. These 2-door/4-passenger models begin with the appealing looks, impressive technology and free-spirit attitude of the all-new A5 coupe and convertible, and inject them with a turbocharged V6 engine, upgraded brakes and other spruced-up hardware.
You'll Like The 2018 Audi S5 If...
If you already have your eye on the A5 coupe or convertible -- impressive in their own right -- but seek a serious bump in power and performance, the 2018 Audi S5 is the logical choice. The S5 is also a powerhouse when it comes to tech and active safety features.
You May Not Like The 2018 Audi S5 If...
If you're among the few drivers who still demand a manual transmission, look to the BMW 4 Series. If you want your convertible to have a retractable-hardtop roof instead of fabric, the 4 Series is also the way to go. The Lexus RC and new Infiniti Q60 bring arguably more fluid looks.
The 2018 Audi S5 is all-new. Based on the Audi A5, the S5 packs a serious performance upgrade thanks to a turbocharged V6 engine that spits out 354 horsepower, stronger brakes and other hardware. The S5 will be the lineup's top performer until the ultra-hot 2018 Audi RS5 arrives next year.
Both the Audi S5 coupe and convertible have seating for four instead of the five found in the A4 and S4, and the two rear seats aren't much to boast about. Most adults will be cramped, and just getting in and out of the rear seats in the coupe can be an exercise in agility. Thankfully the front seats are sublime. We've already mentioned their standard massage functionality in Favorite Features. In addition, they have pneumatic side bolsters that help cradle you during spirited driving. The cabin itself is sleek and contemporary, with an infotainment screen that blooms from the center dash.
As with the S4/A4 sedan relationship, the S5 coupe and convertible look very similar to their lesser A5 brethren. Up front are Audi's big ol' Singleframe grille -- quite tasteful for what it is -- and a domed hood that is meant to evoke muscularity. One way to tell the difference between an S5 and A5 is go around back. The S5 has quad tailpipe outlets, which more than hint at this model's enhanced power. The S5 coupe has a panoramic sunroof as standard, while the cabriolet has a black fabric that can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph.
The new Audi A5, the S5's lesser sibling, already has an excellent blend of power, dynamics and everyday drivability. In the S5, the performance equation gets a serious boost, all without sacrificing comfort. The 2018 Audi S5 is the automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too. Power delivery from the new turbocharged V6 is immediate and gratifying. In coupe form, the S5 can hit the 0-60-mph performance benchmark in 4.4 seconds, while the S5 cabriolet is just a few ticks behind at 4.8. The sound of its exhaust is deep and powerful in Dynamic mode, though we admittedly prefer its quieter operation in the Standard drive mode after extended time on the road. Much more than a mere straight-line performer, the S5 shines when the road twists and turns. Here its asphalt-sticking ways help it adhere even when driven very hard.
The 2018 Audi S5 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $55,575 for the coupe and $63,275 for the cabriolet. The Prestige trims of each begin at $59,975 and $67,675, respectively. Options can lift those prices by a few thousand more. At its starting price, the 2018 S5 is higher than that of the BMW 440i and in line with the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43. Those two are the S5's most direct competitors, but others are within its hemisphere, including V6 versions of the Infiniti Q60 coupe, which start lower, and the Lexus RC 350 coupe. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. Resale value is still to be determined on this new S5, but past models have enjoyed good residuals in the past.
The 2018 S5 comes in two trims: Premium Plus and Prestige. With a designation like "Premium Plus," know that even a base model is nicely equipped. Included are leather/Alcantara upholstery, 12-way-adjustable heated and massaging front seats, tri-zone climate control, and HomeLink garage-door opener. The base audio/information system centers around a 7-inch display and has 10 speakers, AM/FM/HD Radio, CD player, and inputs for USB and SD card. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard. The S5’s safety features include side assist (blind-spot monitoring) and Audi's pre sense systems that can automatically stop the car to avoid or mitigate a collision.
Stepping up to the Prestige trim adds the sweet Virtual Cockpit feature that turns the dashboard into a configurable digital screen, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, navigation, a larger 8.3-inch dash display, and parking system with top-down-view camera. Other options include an S Sport Package with adaptive damping suspension and sport rear differential, ventilated front seats and Nappa leather interior. A Driver Assistance package on Prestige models bundles semi-autonomous driving aids like lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognizer. Both coupe and convertible can be had with 19-inch wheels in lieu of the standard 18-inch rollers.
MASSAGING FRONT SEATS
As with the also-new 2018 Audi S4 sedan, the latest S5 comes with S sport front seats with massage functionality. It's an unexpected indulgence, and one you can be thankful for on long and dreary commutes.
IT'S SMART, TOO
For all the S5's brawn, it's brainy, too. This being an Audi, it features the German luxury brand's slick Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display, realistic Google Maps navigation integration, 4G LTE wireless connectivity and a full roster of active safety features.
Under the Hood
The Audi S5 boasts a sweetheart of an engine -- a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that puts out 354 horsepower -- that's 102 more than the 4-cylinder in the A5. Tying it all together is an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that we like even more than the A5's dual-clutch 7-speed, and Audi's famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The S5 can be tailored to different driving styles and feel with its 4-mode selector (Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual). For all but the most intense driving exercises, we found the Auto mode a fine balance. While automatic is the only transmission choice, the S5 has steering-wheel-mounted paddles for do-it-yourselfers.
3.0-liter turbocharged V6
354 horsepower @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (coupe), 20/29 mpg (convertible)
The 2018 Audi S5 is the performance version of the A5, Audi's compact-luxury coupe and convertible. These 2-door/4-passenger models begin with the appealing looks, impressive technology and free-spirit attitude of the all-new A5 coupe and convertible (reviewed separately), and inject them with a turbocharged V6 engine, upgraded brakes and other spruced-up hardware. The S5 comes standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, one of the keys to its excellent traction, and a distinguisher between the S5 and rivals like the BMW 440i and the new Infiniti Q60 Red Sport, in which AWD is optional. Still to come is a third model, a sleek 5-door hatch called the S5 Sportback that will compete with the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.