Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The S5’s 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo diesel engine is seriously sophisticated. It has a 48-volt electrical system that powers an electric compressor (basically a supercharger driven by an electric motor), which works alongside a regular turbocharger to give a total of 345bhp and 516lb ft of shove. And because the latter is available from just 1500rpm, the S5 isn’t just faster than a Kia Stinger GT S in a straight line – the 0-62mph sprint is over in 4.8 sec – it’s also a far more flexible performer. In fact, it’s almost as rapid as the Mercedes-AMG C43.
Sadly, the driving experience is blighted by a laggy and unresponsive automatic gearbox. The noticeable delay when you put your foot down frustrates when trying to dive for gaps on roundabouts; the S5 lurches forward suddenly when the power does eventually arrive. Thankfully, this hesitance can be reduced slightly by knocking the gearbox into its ‘Sport’ setting, or by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles to preselect a gear.
As is the case with the C43, power is fed to the road through all four wheels. As a result, the S5 never struggles for traction – even when the road is wet. It can go around corners suitably quickly, too, but you won’t have a great deal of fun when doing so; the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce and even C43 are more rewarding to drive quickly along a winding road, thanks to their more playful handling and more feelsome steering.
Ride comfort is generally good, though, so when viewed more as a grand tourer that happens to be very fast, the Audi S5 has a lot going for it. The Vorsprung version wafts along particularly smoothly, thanks to its standard adaptive suspension.