Audi’s S5 entered its second generation last year, but you’d hardly know it considering how little the car’s look has changed since its introduction in 2008.
Normally we’d criticize an automaker for leaving be a car’s styling for that long, but if ever there was a case for not fixing something that’s not broken, the S5 is it.
You have to dig into the S5’s list of features to see what’s changed for 2019. There’s a new standard 19-inch wheel design and Audi Connect with navigation and infotainment services for Progressiv and Technik trims; a new Black Optics option package also available on both trims; Technik can be optioned with a new 20-inch wheel; and Audi’s digital gauge cluster, called the virtual cockpit, is newly optional in Progressiv trim and standard in Technik.
Otherwise, the S5 is carried over. It comes as a coupe, convertible and a five-door called Sportback. Performance comes from a 3.0L turbocharged V6 that makes 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which goes into an eight-speed automatic transmission before being routed to Audi’s Quattro AWD system.
The hatchback body style lets Audi properly line up against the BMW 4 Series, which comes in the same trio of configurations; the Sportback also competes with the Buick Regal, sold in Canada exclusively as a five-door that, curiously, wears the same Sportback designation.
For the S5’s purposes, the Quattro setup is rear-biased and can be optioned with a mechanical torque vectoring rear differential to provide balanced handling under hard acceleration, similar to the way Acura’s Super Handling AWD works.
As is Audi’s way, the S5 shrouds its performance with an understated body that suits the car’s upscale mission but belies its potential as a speedy and entertaining way to get from A to B. If you’re keen on making your S5 as agile as possible, choose the Technik trim and check the box for the adaptive damping suspension, which changes the ride characteristics based on which drive mode setting is selected.
S5’s standard features include satellite radio, LED headlights and taillights, navigation and MMI Touch infotainment accessed through an 8.3-inch screen, heated front sports seats with power lumbar and massage, Nappa leather upholstery, 10-speaker sound system, panoramic sunroof, passive keyless entry, automatic headlights with automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, three-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, 7.0-inch driver information display, garage door opener and tire pressure monitoring.
Upgrade to the Technik trim and Audi adds the virtual cockpit, power-folding side mirrors, rear cross traffic alert, top-view exterior camera, Bang & Olufsen stereo, ambient interior lighting and blind spot monitoring.
Active safety features are bundled in the advanced driver assistance package, which comprises adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking; it’s an option in Technik trim and not available in Progressiv.
Audi also makes a heated steering wheel optional in both trims; it’s a round wheel that replaces the standard flat-bottom unit.
Audi had yet to publish 2019 fuel consumption estimates when we wrote this buyer’s guide, but we expect they will be similar, if not identical, to those for last year’s model. Those figures are 11.5 / 8.0 L/100 km (city/highway) for coupe and Sportback models and 11.9/8.1 for the convertible.
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