Tom Crosby: 2016 Audi S5 Sports Coupe adds luxury tweaks

Tom Crosby

Audi’s S5 comes either as a convertible or a hard-top but in either case, it is one of the best-looking sports coupes on the highway and for 2016 a pair of Black Optic option packages adds more beauty, like a beautiful model adding stunning make-up.

Our test-drive hardtop traveled on 20-inch, five-dual spoke wheels with titanium finish and all-season tires. A new standard feature is a Bang & Olufson sound system is, one of the best automotive audios available.

A Technology package added more comfort to the elegant cabin with leather/Alcantra two-tone seats and upscale trim materials complementing brushed aluminum touches. It also included a voice controlled navigation system, CD/DVD players and Audi Connect, which partners with Google via cell phone. It includes a car Wi-Fi hotspot, access to traffic, weather, Google Earth satellite maps and directions on the 7-inch dashboard screen, nearby fuel prices, music streaming and parking space availability in some big cities.

When positioned to parallel park, it can park itself without driver help using sensors to detect and avoid bumping into obstacles, like other parked cars.

High-tech aside, the thrill of the S5 underway is the 333-horsepower super-charged engine and solid steering that conquers corners with (quattro) four-wheel drive to create exceptional handling thrills. A sport-tuned suspension keeps the ride seamlessly smooth, even at racetrack speeds. The 7-speed transmission can be manually manipulated with steering wheel paddles to help ramp up adrenaline.

But comfortable seats, cathedral-like quiet and luxurious ambiance also make the S5 perfect for long, leisurely driven trips for two adults or a small child or two. Rear seating is space-scrunched for adults, typical for a sports coupe.

Outside, except for high-gloss mirror housings and black slatted grille, a monochromatic Daytona Gray pearl color has tasteful chrome surround on windows, lights and grille.

Inside fit and finish is flawless; there is a rear view camera and blind spot detection for safety, and Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) which controls hundreds of subset drop downs for radio, media, navigation, telephone, automobile (including increasing the sound of the engine when accelerating) and individual preference settings. The MMI knob on the center spine has a smallish push button for selection but feels jittery. There is no USB port for iPods and window visors are not extendable. Rear seats fold flat and there is a compact spare tire. Audi’s typically receive top crash safety scores.

LIKES: Luxury, power, ride, comfort, handling, looks, audio
DISLIKES: Rear seat space, no USB port
BOTTOM LINE: A comfortable coupe with excellent sports car chops.
Base price w/destination fee $55,025 ($60,800 as tested)
Curb weight 4,045 lbs.
Wheelbase 108.3 inches
Length 182.7 inches
Width 73 inches
Engine specs 3.0-liter, V6, super-charged, fuel injection, DOHC
Horsepower 333 hp at 5,500 rpm
Torque 325 lbs.-ft. at 2,900 rpm
Transmission 7-speed automatic with manual
EPA Rating 18 city, 28 highway
Range 16.1 gallons, premium fuel
Performance 0-60 in under 5 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.