ART IN MOTION
Words by Reed Berry
If you are searching for a practical family car, I'm afraid you'll have to keep
looking. If you are in need of economical transportation for your part-time job
as a pizza delivery driver, move along – this car is definitely not for you. If
your lifestyle does, however, call for a sleek, sporty ride that will turn a
head or two, keep reading.
The Audi S5 Coupe is not inexpensive and it is certainly not economical, but it
is an honest-to-goodness two-door sport coupe, a nice change from the four-door
sedans with a rear spoiler slapped on that car makers refer to as a “sport”
model. The S5 is the sexier, sportier performance version of the Audi A5.
This car is one attractive piece of work. In fact, I have only been driving it a
short time and other drivers are pulling alongside me to shout such comments as
'Great looking car!' and 'Is that the new '09 model?' One driver, a
self-proclaimed performance car aficionado, actually followed me into a parking
lot to take a closer look and ask about the car.
In recent years, automotive designers have worked to combine bold styling with
sporty features. They have certainly accomplished this with the S5. The chiseled
features of this car and big 19-inch alloy wheels let you know that it is a
serious driving machine, while the sleek lines of the vehicle convey a feeling
of movement even when the car is at a stop.
While admiring the car at a distance can be enjoyable, the real fun comes when
you actually drive the S5. A 354-horsepower V8 engine paired with a six-speed
manual transmission seems to be a winning combination. The S5 accelerates
confidently without any noticeable hesitation. Shifting is smooth and precise,
and there's even an indicator on the driver display to tell you if you should
shift to a lower or higher gear. We're talking zero to sixty in under five
Handling is equally impressive thanks to speed-sensitive steering and sport
suspension. The S5 features Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. I
have a good feel of the road, yet the ride is smooth and comfortable. The car is
quite responsive, making almost any maneuver seem effortless.
As for the interior of the car, I was going to describe it as being like a
'living room on wheels', although such a comment sounds like it has the makings
of a Jeff Foxworthy redneck joke. My point is that the interior of the S5 is
probably as comfortable, if not more comfortable, than the average living room.
Dual-zone climate control and heated sport seats are among the S5's standard
features. Brushed aluminum trim gives the interior a cool, sporty look.
As for entertainment, the six-disc CD changer and ten-speaker sound system will
please any music lover. Should you desire even more variety, just push a button
and you're listening to SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The test vehicle I'm driving has
been outfitted with a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. The B&O system adds
$850 to the price of the vehicle, but it is well worth the extra cost.
Also in my test vehicle is an optional Navigation Package ($2,390) that includes
a color driver display and Audi music interface. The navigation system seems to
be quite accurate and very easy to program, but I am disappointed by the fact
that it can be programmed while the vehicle is in motion. For your safety, never
attempt to program a navigation system while driving.
Another 'must have' item on this vehicle is a rearview camera for safe backing.
It is part of an optional Technology Package ($1,700) that also includes
adaptive headlights, as well as 'Advanced Key' which allows you to unlock and
start the car without removing the key from your pocket. Proximity sensors
recognize radio pulses generated from the key housing.
With an estimated 14 mpg in the city, the fuel economy of the S5 really isn't
that impressive but the performance of the car is. Sure, in our troubled economy
many people are seeking out more fuel-efficient cars like the Toyota Yaris or
the tiny Smart fortwo, but for those who desire and can afford a performance car
that complements an active lifestyle, the Audi S5 Coupe will not disappoint.
Even Michelangelo would have been impressed with this work of art.
For more information on Audi products, go to
Name of vehicle:
2009 Audi S5 Coupe 4.2 quattro MT6
As Tested: $58,490
EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway:
14 / 21
4.2L DOHC V8; Fully electronic engine management with FSI direct injection
354 @ 6,800 rpm
325 @ 3,500 rpm
quattro permanent all-wheel drive
6-speed manual transmission; available 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission
Rack and pinion with Servotronic electric power assist
Front: 5-link suspension with upper and lower wishbones
Rear: Trapezoidal link independent suspension
19″ 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels
Disc brakes; dual-circuit braking system with electronic brake force
78 inches (with mirrors)
Curb weight (lbs.):
0 – 60:
Electronically limited to 155 mph