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      03-03-2010, 11:26 PM   #1
majin ssj eric
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Audi S5 test drive...

I've been test driving cars alot recently on my off days just for fun and today I stopped by the Audi dealer. I was intending to drive an A5 (wanted to feel the difference between my car and the 2.0t to see if I could deal with the hp decrease) and told the salesman as much. He seemed to think it would be better to sample a beautiful white S5 6MT instead and who the hell was I to argue???

I took some pics this time to liven up my story!


IMPRESSIONS:

The first thing I noticed was the sound. It was an understated growl but with a basso profundo quality you could feel in your chest. I know the 4.2 V8 is on the way out but I honestly can't see preferring the SC V6 over this engine even if it is faster. The V8 is just that good! Secondly, as I slid behind the driver's seat I realized that the steering wheel had MANUAL adjustments for up/down/in/out which surprised me in a car that stickered for $63k!!!

I snicked the six-speed shifter in first and we set off. Gear selection was smooth, if a bit notchy, but the clutch had a soft engagement that made it feel artificial somehow. I'm used to the 600 lb leg-press I have to do in my Infiniti so this clutch took some getting used to. The revs rise quickly in this car and, combined with the weird clutch feel, my first couple runs through the gears were a bit amateurish I must admit. Eventually I got settled in and could focus on the experience.

INTERIOR:



The car I got to drive had the red leather interior with CF trim. All I can say is: WOW. This thing has the class to put my poor ol' G37 to shame! Interestingly the door plastics were hard to the touch but still exuded quality. The Nappa leather seats were butter-smooth and felt like a million bucks on my backside. Other interior features included a button-type parking brake (which I did not like), a beautiful brushed aluminum starter button, and black cloth headliner (no alcantara unfortunately). The nav screen was on the small side IMO and the map screens were slightly disappointing (good resolution but unimpressive graphical design). The Audi MMI was very cool and allowed for numerous functions through the nav screen (though I was more focused on the drive so I didn't play around with it much).

I loved the gauges and the info screen in between was top notch. The smell was heavenly as well. I can't tell you how bad I wanted to sign the papers for that car right then and there but, alas, it wasn't meant to be.

PERFORMANCE:

The salesman was a really cool guy and he gave me plenty of leeway when it came time to open up the taps. I worked in a couple of highway on-ramp acclerations as well as some tight turns on my 20 minute test drive. The interesting thing about this car is that the power feels comparable to my G37's but the sound makes it seem like you are going much faster. In all honesty, my seat-o-the-pants dyno says that this car is quick but not amazing. The redline sits at 7k rpm and I wrung it out to that number in the first 3 gears several times so I can safely say I got to experience all she had to offer. Again it was impressive, but just marginally faster than my car.

The steering feel was a bit muted and artificial but very quick and very precise. I didn't get to do any full-on braking but the binders felt more than adequate in the stops I did make. In the short time I had with the car I can basically describe its performance as impressive, but not anything noticeably greater than the other cars in this class (G37/IS350/335i/etc). The thing that struck me most was the experience itself. This car just feels like its in a higher class than those other cars even if it doesn't necessarily perform any better.



FEATURES:

My tester was fully loaded and, manual steering adjustments notwithstanding, there were an impressive array of features including rain sensing wipers, two SD card slots, seat heaters with 6 adjustments, a panoramic tilting roof, and blind-spot indicators in the mirrors. Seat-coolers were conspicuous by their absence, however.

COMFORT:

The S5 is a fairly large car on the outside but that doesn't translate to the interior. The car is every bit as cramped as my G37 and the trunk is only deeper but no wider. The seats felt amazing but were a bit confining to my admittedly wide girth. Still, they were an order of magnitude more comfy than the sport seats in my Infiniti and they too have thigh extenders. The contols all fall right into your grasp as your hand rests on the shift-knob, eliminating the need to reach for buttons as you have to in both the IS and G37. I personally like the look of dash-mounted buttons better, but there is no arguing against the superior ergonomics of Audi's design. Of particular surprise to me was the use of some hard plastics in this car. While certainly unobtrusive, it was nonetheless interesting to note.



CONCLUSION:

All in all, I was blown away by this car. The looks alone are worth the asking price but the Audi is so much more than that. You get a visceral thrill rowing through the gears and listening to that amazing V8 soundtrack. The smells of expensive leather permeate your nostrils as the blare of the Bang and Olufsen stereo echoes in your ears. Visual delights abound, from the crystal clear instrumentation to the high-res nav screen to the polished aluminum and CF accents. Tactile touches such as the smooth Nappa leather and the chunky steering wheel/shift knob bathe your senses in the glow of extravagance. I loved this car. LOVED it. It really is that good.


Me, looking fat but happy!!!

I guess I will try to sample the A5 again one of these days, but I'm afraid the S5 has ruined it for me. Just as I suspect the salesman intended....
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      03-03-2010, 11:30 PM   #2
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Great Review, sounds like you had a great time
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      03-03-2010, 11:53 PM   #3
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lol so the S5 is impressive eh :P
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      03-04-2010, 12:40 AM   #4
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S5 is a beautiful car that just looks smooth. Its more of a cruiser that has so pep when you need it. i would drive one
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      03-04-2010, 12:54 AM   #5
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Man, looking at red interiors makes me wish I got indianapolis red leather. That Audi looks awesome btw
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      03-04-2010, 12:54 AM   #6
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Dude, I could actually picture myself driving, listening, and smelling the S5 while I was going down the line. Great write up.
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      03-04-2010, 01:45 AM   #7
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Yeah from experience: Driving an S4 and S5 totally ruined my expectations and experience in the 2.0T. Felt sluggish and harsh, lack of polish, and does not make good use of quattro b.c of the lack of power. The S4 and S5 I love both. Love the interior layout as you said. The exterior of the S5 is gorgeous.
As far as driving dynamics go I still prefer M3 to these 2, but nonetheless great cars!
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      03-04-2010, 02:21 AM   #8
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I haven't driven the S5, but we have an Q7 in the family and I totally understand what you mean my "artificial steering feel".
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      03-04-2010, 09:46 AM   #9
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For that much money, I think the M3 is a better buy.

That being said, I am going to take a hard look at a low milage B8 S4 when my M3 lease is up!
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      03-04-2010, 10:29 AM   #10
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I miss my S5. Until I hit the gas in the M3. To the OP, that was your happy look?
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Thickness feels good to me and my hands aren't that big.
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      03-04-2010, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by immiketoo View Post
I miss my S5. Until I hit the gas in the M3. To the OP, that was your happy look?
Lol, yeah. I kinda felt like a tool taking pics there in the front of the dealership with the salesman just behind me but I knew I wanted to post pics for my story later....
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      03-04-2010, 11:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majin ssj eric View Post
Lol, yeah. I kinda felt like a tool taking pics there in the front of the dealership with the salesman just behind me but I knew I wanted to post pics for my story later....
LOL! That's awesome man. I had the metallic black with the red seats and carbon trim. Great car!
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Thickness feels good to me and my hands aren't that big.
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      03-04-2010, 11:50 AM   #13
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^ Loved the license plate you had, wish we were as lucky.
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      03-04-2010, 11:57 AM   #14
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nice review!!! Would be a great DD if you dont need 4 doors. It wouldnt cut it for me as my performance car but thats why you need at least 2 cars
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      03-04-2010, 12:00 PM   #15
majin ssj eric
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I can't think of any car I'd trade in an S5 for........except an E92 M3! Beautiful cars Mike...
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      03-04-2010, 12:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majin ssj eric View Post
I can't think of any car I'd trade in an S5 for........except an E92 M3! Beautiful cars Mike...
I did the trading in of the S5 for an M3 and though the M3 was better in many a way it's the S5 I miss the most, so clearly Audi got something right.
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      03-04-2010, 01:04 PM   #17
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The M3 will run circles around an S5, but if you're not interested in that level of performance, the S5 will give you style and comfort in abundance.

In some ways though, I still feel the S5 is an odd bird. It's not any more comfortable or better looking than an A5, but it's performance is not remotely impressive for it's price. I suppose the market is for middle-aged+ males who want the style, comfort and convenience (quattro) with some sense of performance - as opposed to many of the people on this board who would start with performance and then want style and comfort.
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      03-04-2010, 02:02 PM   #18
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I'm lucky because the S5 is still available for me to drive. I came from an 01 S4 which I feel is more like the M3 than the S5. It was tighter, higher strung, and I loved it. The S5 feels lazy, smoother in comparison, and for a DD it is an awesome mile eater, but I like the edginess of the M3 better.
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      03-04-2010, 02:03 PM   #19
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I'm lucky because the S5 is still available for me to drive. I came from an 01 S4 which I feel is more like the M3 than the S5. It was tighter, higher strung, and I loved it. The S5 feels lazy, smoother in comparison, and for a DD it is an awesome mile eater, but I like the edginess of the M3 better.
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      03-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #20
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The S5 is a bit of an odd ball, frankly it's a mistake for Audi to continue with the v8 as the v6SC offers even better performance and better weight balance. But one thing that makes the S5 and any of the new Audi behave and perform better is the Sportsdiff, so while there is no doubting the M3 offer superior performance and handling the S5 with said diff gets much closer than you think and is certainly superior to the 335i.
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