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2011 Audi S5

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2011 Audi S5 Review

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These are interesting times for the luxury car market in North America, and it is made more interesting by the almost explosive growth of Audi in the U.S. The addition of the A5/S5 Coupe and Cabriolet to its mix only serves to raise that growth and awareness. And while there have been a host of competitors attempting to capture the allure of the BMW's 3 Series Coupe and Convertible, most make the attempt with a barely concealed clone of the original recipe. To Audi's credit, the A5 and its S5 performance derivative represent their own takes on a near-luxury sporting coupe and cabriolet. Not only does Audi's recipe constitute a viable option to the 3 Series, in an era of diminishing resources it could constitute a viable alternative to Bentley's Continental GT. And while we're not sure how that would work in or around Windsor Castle, we know it would play (and play...) on California's 101.

You'll Like This Car If...

In a word (or two), Audi's take on the near-luxury coupe and cab encloses a competent drivetrain and comfortable accommodation with what is generally accepted as drop-dead gorgeous sheetmetal. If you are at the life stage which puts a value on at least two of the above three, you'll love Audi's take on two-door transport.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Despite Audi's spectacular growth in recent years, it remains well outside the consideration curve for those solidly in the automotive mainstream. In the segment there are a number of no-brainers, including BMW's 3 Series, the Mercedes C-Class/E-Class, and Infiniti's G37. If auto buying is little more than a reflexive exercise, you'll probably find yourself in someone else's showroom.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2011, there are new wheel designs, tweaks in interior trim, and a new Titanium Sport Package available with Premium Plus and Prestige models.

Driving the S5

Driving Impressions The A5, sharing its basic platform with Audi's most recent A4, puts an emphasis on balance. With a new all-wheel drive gearbox, the engine can be placed further back in...

the chassis, creating a far better weight distribution than is typically found in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive chassis. The A5's base 2.0 liter four is responsive, although arguably works better in Audi's own TT or A3 than in the heavier A5. The Cabriolet's standard supercharged V6 is probably the sweet spot in the coupe/cab's drivetrain selection. The all-independent suspension is supple, the steering amazingly direct, and the overall comfort level high. That said, going to 19-inch rims will compromise the ride, and the S5's V8 will compromise your license.

quattro All-Wheel Drive
Standard on all but the A5 Cabriolet - which employs front-wheel drive - the Audi all-wheel-drive system is one for the ages. Impeccably balanced, with a 40 percent front/60 percent rear torque split in most driving situations, the A5 and S5 are revelations to those coming to all-wheel drive with '80s-era preconceptions.

S tronic Dual-Clutch Transmission
With the precision of a manual and convenience of an automatic, the dual-clutch transmission, which is made standard on the S5 Cabriolet, is a way significant moment in the annals of high-performance motoring, and embellishes the S5's capability as an uber-tourer. We look forward to its widening availability on other Audi models.

2011 Audi S5 Details
Interior

At a company known for its brilliant interiors - both in design and execution - the A5 and S5 don't disappoint. The leather-upholstered front buckets provide that often elusive combination of accessibility and lateral support, while the rear seating area serves as a comfortable enclave for two. And while the Coupe's greenhouse is visually airy, the EPA rates the interior environs as subcompact. Moderately sized adults will be comfortable; larger physical types should grab their own A5. The S5 moves the meter, with S-design leather sport seats, Silk Nappa leather and unique inlays (brushed aluminum, carbon fiber, stainless steel or gray birch) completing the high-performance impression.

Exterior

As the only enthusiast pub in the U.S. with a regular column (by Robert Cumberford) focusing on automotive design, Automobile Magazine knows of what it writes. In 2009 the magazine awarded its "Design of the Year" to Audi's A5 Coupe. One look confirms their selection. You're greeted by Audi's mono-form grille, drawn in by carefully sculpted side contours and delighted by a crisp character line which runs the length of the car. The A5/S5 mechanical layout sets the engine further back in the chassis than is the typical FWD/AWD norm, allowing for a shorter front overhang and more athletic stance. Finally, the A5/S5 Cabriolet's use of a cloth roof is an almost classic touch, and has the practical benefit of not impeding (significantly) available trunk space when dropped.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In examining the list of standard equipment, you'll ask the inevitable 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 and a panorama sunroof. On the S5, standard trim is dubbed Premium Plus and includes19-inch alloys, Bluetooth touch-free interface, sport seats covered in Silk Nappa leather, sport suspension and three-zone automatic climate control. With the exception of the A5 Cabriolet, all include Audi's quattro all-wheel drive in the base MSRP.

Optional Equipment

With so much standard, those features customers might opt for are (typically) encompassed in one of two packages. Premium Plus includes its own 10-spoke alloy wheel, Audi Music interface with iPod cable, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, heated front seats, Xenon plus headlights and three-zone automatic climate control. On the S5 Coupe the upmarket trim is Prestige and includes DVD player, Bang & Olufsen premium sound, memory for driver seat and mirrors, navigation and voice control of nav/phone. Functionally, the biggest news is the availability of a sport rear differential on the S5, which varies the amount of torque delivered between the rear wheels.

Under the Hood

As a base powerplant, Audi's superb 2.0 liter TFSI turbocharged four is almost perfect for the application, with adequate (211) horsepower and prodigious (258 pound-feet) levels of torque. As noted, we think the 3.0 liter supercharged V6 may be the sweet spot (S5 Cab only), with horsepower - 333 - close to that of the Coupe's V8 in a lighter, more efficient package. The S5 Coupe's 4.2 liter V8 may - at this point - seem old school, but behind the wheel of 354 horsepower, who's gonna care?

2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
211 horsepower @ 4300-6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
21/31 (quattro manual), 21/29 (quattro Tiptronic), 22/30 (FWD, Multitronic)

3.0 liter V6 Supercharged
333 horsepower @ 5500-7000 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2900-5300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (S tronic trans)

4.2 liter V8
354 horsepower @ 7000 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 (manual), 16/24 (Tiptronic)

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2011 Audi S5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.6
Out of 10

Based on 41 Ratings for the 2008 - 2016 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
    9.9/10

Audi S5 - Timeless Design

By on Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

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, sport mode, fit and finish"

Cons: "drive mode is a bit sluggish"

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

"I ordered my S5 in February of 2014 from my local dealer and waited 3 months for it to be built to my specs. I have owned the car for just over a year and still find myself gazing at the lines of the car. I swear the exterior styling of the car pays a bit of homage to the 60s muscle cars with it's roofline and tastefully flared fenders. The attention to detail in the interior is exceptional...many say Audi makes one of the best interiors at it's price point and I agree. Press the button to start the car and your rewarded with a nice rumble. In "D" mode the car is almost too passive, but drop it into "S" and soon you realize this car means business. Shifts are crisper, the suspension tightens up and the car downshifts aggressively with a nice little "blip" from the exhaust! Want even a more interactive experience...move the shifter over and flip the paddles to switch gears. You really do get two cars for the price of one....a smooth daily driver and a heck of a sports car. Plus, my ten year old son fit in the back with no problem, as does my medium sized dog (with a seat cover of course)."

9 people out of 22 found this review helpful

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."

7 people out of 9 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."

22 people out of 42 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"

28 people out of 55 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."

7 people out of 12 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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