Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000
  • Small Luxury Sedan Buyer's Guide
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
  • 10 Best Midsize SUVs
Go

2008 Audi S5

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Audi S5 Review

By

The undeniably well-proportioned 2008 Audi S5 marks a late but bold entrance into the luxury performance coupe segment for Audi. A high-performance version of the company's brand new A5, the S5 will actually beat the more "garden-variety" A5 to sale in North American markets. Like M is to BMW and AMG to Mercedes, Audi's "S" cars are high performance versions of existing models. While the S5 is no exception to the rule, it is not as uncompromisingly geared toward performance as BMW's M3, or as luxury oriented as the Mercedes-Benz CLK 550.

You'll Like This Car If...

Thanks to an entirely new chassis, Audi has been able to dramatically alter the layout in both small sedans and the new S5 and upcoming A5. The result is firmer handling with much improved weight distribution. The new layout has allowed a redesign of the steering system, which offers a level of feel and precision previously unknown to the brand.

You May Not Like This Car If...

It's hard to find fault with Audi's new S5, but if you're set on having a moonroof that slides open, you may be disappointed by the (large) fixed glass piece that only tilts, and spans nearly the entire length and width of the roof.

What's New for 2008

For years, German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have competed for dominance in this category, while Audi sat on the sidelines watching. The 2008 Audi S5 shows that being a late bloomer isn't necessarily a bad thing. The S5 will offer a unique alternative to the German competition, being the only car in the class to offer all-wheel drive combined with a six-speed manual transmission.

Driving the S5

Driving Impressions Easily the dominating element of the S5 driving experience is Audi's ever-popular and wonderfully torquey 4.2-liter V8. In the S5, the eager V8 produces 354 horsepower, which fires the S5...

off with authority at virtually any rpm. The manufacturer claims it will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and our seat-of-the pants evaluation gives us no reason to doubt this. Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system allows more traction than most drivers will ever need to call upon during hard acceleration, and a revised torque split in all models sends 60 percent of torque rearward, allowing a neutral feel that mimics rear-wheel-drive cars. As we've come to expect of cars competing in this segment, the brakes are excellent and powerful.

Rear-View Camera with Guidance Lines
We were surprised to find the medium-sized coupe equipped with Audi's rear-parking system, but once you adapt to backing up while using the monitor, you'll never want to change. The system activates when reverse is selected and automatically shuts off once you've hit five miles per hour in a forward gear.

Electromechanical Parking Brake
With the console-mounted switch mounted right beside the shifter, operation of the parking brake is like that of a power window; pull up to set, and down to release. A red light indicates the brake is engaged. It's something easily overlooked until you've lived with the convenience.

2008 Audi S5 Details
Interior

Audi's intuitive MMI (Multi-Media Interface) is one of the best central-control systems out there, providing easy access to everything from navigation to seat heating. The eight-way adjustable seats are quite comfortable and supportive, helping to add to the cocoon feeling inside the lavishly appointed cockpit. Despite the coupe's sweeping lines, there is ample head and legroom in the rear seats, which feature well-placed cup holders.

Exterior

Designer Walter de'Silva calls the S5 the most beautiful car he's ever designed. From the aggressive front grille to the Aston Martin-esque roofline and sweeping rear fenders, the design is positively gorgeous. Audi has taken a cue from BMW's angel-eye glowing headlight surrounds and incorporated its own LED arrangement, giving the S5 a futuristic look. The only cues to the S5's performance intentions are quad exhaust pipes tucked into the rear valance and subtle "V8" badges on the front fenders.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In addition to the bevy of high-tech features that are common to the category, the 2008 Audi S5 comes with a large tilting glass panel roof, a three-zone climate control system and speed-sensitive power steering. Unique sport seats, a suggested gear indicator for fuel economy and a 10-speaker sound system are also inside. Outside, 19-inch wheels with high-performance tires are standard, as are heated, power adjustable, power folding and auto-dimming exterior mirrors with memory and integrated side LED turn-signal indicators.

Optional Equipment

The S5 can be had with one of the better keyless start systems we've seen -- leave the key in your pocket and touch anywhere on the door handle lightly to unlock and open the car, then press the engine start button. Similarly, touch the door to lock the car on the way out. An optional Bang & Olufsen premium sound system provides top-notch audio, with a total of 14 speakers. The premium audio includes surround sound reproduction and dynamic noise compensation.

Under the Hood

The S5 comes equipped with a 354-horsepower version of the silky 4.2-liter V8 engine that powered the S4 in 2007. The nearly-effortless torque available in any gear makes the six available gear ratios of the manual transmission seem almost redundant. Using Audi's gear suggestion display, it's possible to shift at very low rpm to conserve fuel, but the EPA combined rating of 16 miles per gallon is the price you pay for having such reserves of power.


4.2-liter V8
354 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
325 lb.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2008 Audi S5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.6
Out of 10

Based on 40 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.6/10
    Quality
    9.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.7/10
  • Comfort
    9.8/10
    Styling
    9.8/10

I have been thoroughly surprised and pleased...

By on Friday, March 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great looks, driving dynamics, stereo"

Cons: "a little thirsty..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this vehicle. From the Prestige package on the fit and finish, to the 4.2 V8 that is always ready to please. Excellent driving dynamics and it is beautiful inside and out. One of the best sound systems for a vehicle that I can possibly remember. The Bang & Oluffsen is a perfect match. Well worth the price and I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the market."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Pretty good car, fun to drive

By on Friday, January 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Understated appearance, great interior"

Cons: "Transmission too short for this engine"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"First off I want to mention that I am very picky about my cars. Besides the S5 I also own a 997 and A8. The S5 is somewhere in the middle of my 997 and A8. The engine has lots of torque, but it is sluggish above 5000RPM. Coupled with the extremely short S5 transmission it makes for a short burst of acceleration followed by a gear change. A transmission this short requires an engine that delivers power at high RPM, like my 997. The engine revs 3000RPM in 6. gear at 70MPH. That is too high for a V8 that does not like to rev high... . Suspension is nicely firm and brakes are sufficiently sized. You can really throw the car around curves nicely. Quattro is Quattro and needs to comment here. Interior is very nice and of typical Audi quality. The sunroof is completely worthless, noisy and flimsy. It is good for letting some daylight in, but you can't really open it due to noise. Doors and trunk lid feel light and cheap due to weight reduction efforts by Audi. Seats, stereo, steering wheel are of great quality. Exhaust sound is deep and throaty. Transmission is clunky with very long throws, shifter is out of place and too far away, clutch is very heavy, steering is great. I still love this car with all it's imperfections. It is a good challenge trying to master it's mismatched engine-transmission-clutch combination."

21 people out of 39 found this review helpful

Fun to drive

By on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "No voice activated system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"One issue that I was not happy with is that the S5 convertible doesn't have a voice activated phone or command system where the hardtop does. For whatever reason Audi doesn't install it in the convertible is beyond me. Other manufactures install it in there convertibles. After all the top is not down all the time"

26 people out of 50 found this review helpful

Great drivers car

By on Saturday, October 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great driver"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned this car now for 4 months. It is a Prestige model.Driving the Audi S5 is absolute fun for cornering like it is on rails. The more you drive this car the more you enjoy driving. Car gets lots of attention wherever I am even at Gas Station. The fit and finish is fantastic and very tight. B and O sound is great and the v8 engine is strong and actually gets pretty decent mileage for a car of this caliber."

21 people out of 34 found this review helpful

A very well built car. Fun to drive.

By on Friday, October 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great in the snow and Ice"

Cons: "No cons."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"the car is actually remarkable in the snow and ice. It is a fun car to drive and is strong enough to be an everyday drive car. I would recommend to a friend who wants a sports car that can go in the snow and ice and has some room in the back for your kids."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Own the Convertible Version-Excellent

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Excellent all around vehicle"

Cons: "Expensive, but worth it. 9/10 for value."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this vehicle after looking at other convertibles and trading a Honda S2000. Wanted the power of the Honda, but needed some practicality. Where else can you get a convertible with AWD, seating for the wife and kids, a usable trunk, and can autocross on the weekends? Use it all the time, even driving through winters in Ohio, just need to put on winter tires."

23 people out of 40 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?