Audi S5, Frontal view

Audi S5, Frontal view

Makuhari Messe, Japan

Audi says their S5's "8-cylinder engine generates terrific power and is combined with a sports suspension and high-perofmrance brakes that have been dynamically tuned to match the performance of the engine". While the S6 sedan features Audi's 5.2-liter V10, this S5 makes do with Audi's 4.2-liter FSI V8. This engine delivers 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Audi says S5 has a 0-to-62-mph time (100 kilometers per hour) of 5.1 seconds, about a second faster than the standard A5. And that ain't hay. S5 comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission. The quattro system delivers 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels. And like the A5 upon which it's based, the S5 has its engine located slightly forward in the chassis to improve handling. The suspension has also been tightened up; upgraded brakes get neat-looking black-painted calipers. Standard 18-inch wheels are shod in 240/40R18 tires. S5 gets subtle exterior changes ranging from obvious upgrades like silver side mirrors, chrome-accented grille work and quad exhaust tips, and then almost-invisible tweaks like the body-colored door sills and the cross-hatched air inlets in place of the standard model's honeycomb design. Now, that's the kind of Teutonic attention-to-detail which makes German cars the tight, sporting and fun-to-drive vehicles they are, and have been for decades, from VW right on up to Porsche and (dare we say it?) Maybach. Perhaps in another year or so this car will get the V10 engine which it deserves, especially with that "S" designation at the start of its name.

Interior upgrades consist of the usual combination of sport seats, a sport steering wheel and gray-faced gauges. And like the A5, the S5 will offer a long list of customizable trim. Instead of your usual bird's eye maple and sandy oak, however, the S5 will offer choices like aluminum, stainless steel or carbon fiber. Or at least something that looks like carbon fiber.

Look for the 2008 Audi S5 in dealerships this fall right alongside the standard A5.

Previous | Main | Next