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2008 Audi S5

Overview
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2008 Audi S5 Review

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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

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2008 Audi S5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.8
Out of 10

Based on 34 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.7/10
    Quality
    9.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.9/10
    Styling
    9.9/10

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."

19 people out of 34 found this review helpful

awesome sports coupe

By on Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive, power, handling"

Cons: "rear seat comfort"

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

"Fantastic build quality, very fast supercharged motor, handling 4 wheel drive is great! Elegant yet simple styling and lines on the car, large useful trunk. MPG better than expected, 22 in mixed driving. B & O sound system a must! Highly recommended."

17 people out of 27 found this review helpful

Beautiful design-exciting to drive

By on Monday, January 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I own a 2011 S5 Cab - premium plus with the MMI DVD/ nav pkg which includes a rear camera and parking sensors and the the comfort pkg which includes ventilated seats and what Mercedes calls air scarf which blows warm air on your neck which is nice in cool weather with the top down. I agree with most of the comments but I do want to point out a few cons that have not been mentioned. This is a car that lists for 63k and does not have specific features that u think would be standard ...so be careful when buying a used one. For example, no memory on even the driver seat and auto dimming is not included on the side mirrors nor does the passenger mirror dip when in reverse, a nice feature when parking. A USB connection would be appreciated and it's hard to eliminate the brake squeal when braking at low speeds. I believe some of the "cons" have been addressed in the latest models but it's still surprising that in a car at this price point they are not included as standard features. Ps....only the Germans have not found a way to control the brake dust!"

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Second S5--LOVE this car!!!

By on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Looks, Engine, Interior, Power"

Cons: "Needs more interactive (Pandora music, etc)"

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

"I owned a 2013 S5, and made the mistake of trading on another car (Tesla--horrible car). I LOVE my 2014 S5--the black optic package is so good looking. I have owned many $100K plus cars--Porsche, etc, and just cannot get enough of this S5. For the price and performance it CANNOT be beat. Amazing engine, interior, torque, maps, design, etc. Glad my new S5 is in my garage!"

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Like no other car!

By on Saturday, February 16, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Absolute joy to drive"

Cons: "NONE"

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

"Traded in 2007 Civic SI (daily driver) and 2008 Corvette convertible (weekend fun) for my 2012 S5. WOW! This car is amazing in every way. The B and O sound system is the best I've heard in a car. Lots of looks and great comments from strangers. I always start the car with the door open to hear the amazing V8 fire up! It's crazy but my neighbor commented he liked the exhaust note of my S5 over the Vette! You will LOVE THIS CAR!"

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

S5 Cab - Mid Life Crisis Completed

By on Friday, December 21, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "looks, sporty, fast, sick with top down..."

Cons: "you get what you pay for....pricey"

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

"I just purchased this 2013 S5 Cab in black. It's incredible and loving every minute. The acceleration is unreal and the exterior look is incredible. Sexiest car ever. Worth every cent."

13 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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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

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