I have just parked the new Audi S5 to take a picture and I step out to find the all the sensuous lines of this new Audi covered in road grime and to me it looks even better now. It is wearing all the streaks of hard use rather proudly because it is meant to be driven and driven hard cause with the S5 you cannot help but oblige in giving it a thrashing. The new S5 to me is one of the best everyday performance cars and that is because it is a wonderful combination of performance and practicality. The S range of Audi cars are always about that, I remember driving the S4 and the previous S5- both of them huge fun and a happy middle ground between the sober suited diesel Audis and the mental RS models. Ideal for India.
This is the new gen of the A5 range which is coming to India within a few days time and Audi will launch not one but three cars with the A5 Sportback, A5 Cabriolet and the S5. On landing at Jaipur airport, before even the folks at Audi India can say it, I got hold of the keys to the S5. I love the way this thing looks. The Sportback shape works superbly and the lowered stance with those two extra doors added gives it plenty of presence. The S5 gets added performance styling with matte grey and aluminium scattered (shiny grille, silver door mirrors) all over the car plus of course the quad exhausts and those delicious alloys. Clad in this colour with the glittering Rajasthan as the backdrop, the S5 looks purposeful and menacing.
Enough looking around, Instagram posts can wait as I hurry up and hit the start button to wake up the 3.0 turbocharged V6. The numbers look mighty fine with 354 bhp and 500Nm. Add in Quattro all wheel drive into the mix and a fast eight-speed tiptronic then you get 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds with a limited top-speed of 250 km/h. This is a muscular powertrain with a never ending stream of power and torque at your disposal. Hit the Drive select button to Dynamic and with all systems set to max attack along with manual gearshift, the S5 is ruthless at devouring large patches of road within seconds.
It sounds naughty too with the exhausts belting you some sonorous V6 music. Plus thanks to Quattro, I never had so much easy access to performance that I can uncork 350 bhp anywhere and anytime. The gearbox is fast and overall feels more suited to it than the last S5. Due to turbos, unlike the supercharged V6 in the previous S5, performance is bigger and there all the time but it also pays to explore its rev range. Being like any performance Audi, AWD is a big part of the character as there is grip, grip and even more grip. It is glued to the road which gives it terrific high speed stability and as said earlier you can carry big speeds with no fuss. The steering which is a bit light for a performance car is otherwise very direct and is extremely precise.
One important quality of a performance car that is overlooked is the everyday use-ability, with low profile tyres that run away with a mere sight of a pothole, you cannot drive many performance cars easily on our roads. Audi choosing its base for the drive, being a hotel that is quite far away and having some less than perfect roads that lead to it was a bold decision but a confident one as the S5 took all of it in its stride. Yes, it rides surprisingly well and that is scoring some important brownie points.
A big change over the previous S5 obviously now entering the new gen is the interior. Its decked up with all the latest Audi gizmos and the design style. I love the flowing air vents throughout the whole interior, the virtual cockpit, the dash of aluminium and grey all over being the sportier one over the traditional A5 plus of course the sheer quality takes your breath away. Being a Sportback, it is also practical with a good amount of space at the back and headroom is not as bad as you think despite its low, slinky proportions.
We expect Audi to keep prices competitive so expect a sub Rs 70 lakh price which as a package is a superb deal. The characterful motor, the space, practicality, Quattro and the sharper looks make it a steal. It is an ideal performance car that simply works on our road conditions with a price tag that is more palatable than your average sports car. Audi, it seems, has hit it out of the park with this one.