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Audi S5: Buying guide and review (2007-present)

Audi S5: Buying guide and review (2007-present) Classic and Performance Car
Audi S5 Audi S5 Audi S5 Audi S5 Audi S5 Audi S5 Audi S5 Audi S5
Most sporty cars love to show off their performance potential, even when standing still.  Surely if you want something fast then you must also want a big wing, garish paint work with flame decals stuck to your doors? Unsurprisingly, there are those who appreciate driving something sporty without drawing any undue attention to themselves while doing it… 
 
As it turns out Audi has just the solution in the form of its S range of sports cars. Fitting in between the standard offerings and the full fat RS versions, the S spec cars offer a subtle exterior makeover combined with more powerful engines creating the perfect Q-cars.
 
The Walter Da Silva penned A5 is perhaps too elegant looking to ever go unnoticed however in S guise the subtle changes to the exterior make it stand out no more than any well specced standard car. The biggest changes take place under the bonnet with uprated engines that push performance uncomfortably close to the RS5. The Quattro four wheel drive system adds that extra level of safety to a great package.
 
Which one to buy?
 
An overview of the changes to engines, transmissions and body styles means that there are a number of variants to choose from and there should be an S5 for every taste.
 
The original S5 was available in coupe form with a characterful 349bhp 4.2-litre V8 providing motive power. It was available with either six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic transmissions, with this basic specification remaining until the 2012 facelift. 
 
The S5 Convertible and Sportback body styles introduced in 2009/10 also saw the launch of the 328bhp 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine which was unique to these body styles until 2012. No manual option was ever made available, offering the new seven-speed S tronic gearbox in its place. The MMI navigation and upgraded infotainment systems were also made available at this point.
 
2012 brought with it a mid-life facelift, which included changes to the head and tail lights, as well as suspension changes and an updated Quattro system. All models now featured the 3.0-litre supercharged engine and seven-speed S-tronic gearbox. Electromechanical power steering was introduced across the range. Desirable options to look for are the Bang & Olufsen sound system and keyless entry on the earlier models. Adaptive suspension makes a big difference to the ride quality and is worthwhile option to look for as well.
 
The original V8 coupes especially in manual form are quite different in character to the face lifted supercharged cars, they compromise on low end torque and fuel efficiency but make up for it with a great V8 soundtrack and more better steering feel. The Sportback body style adds the practicality of two extra doors and the efficiency of the updated drivetrain making it the family favourite. Convertibles also have the benefit of the efficient powertrains and transmissions, while offering open top motoring in a practical and desirable package. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Audi S5 Sportback
Engine 2995cc 24valve DOHC V6 
Power 328bhp @ 5500-7000rpm 
Torque 325lb ft @ 2900-5300rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.1 seconds 
Fuel consumption 34.9mpg 
Gearbox Seven-speed S-Tronic
Insurance group 40-42
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2811mm
Length 4718mm
Width 1854mm
Height 1382mm
Weight 1820kg
 
Common problems
 
Most early V8s have fallen out of the dealer network by now, so don’t be put off by service stamps from specialists as long as all the maintenance has been carried out correctly. Audi offers a four or five-year warranty extension on its new cars, which is transferable between owners, so it’s worth checking to see if this applies to the car in question.

• The V8 engines are low stressed and there have not been any major issues to worry about, and the 3.0-litre V6 engines are equally reliable. One issue that has started occurring is a carbon build-up in the intake manifold. While not causing damage, this can cause decrease performance, and appears to be a common issue affecting all FSI engines.

• Intermittent electrical issues have been noted by some owners but it seems that the systems affected are random so it is best to check the service history on whether your potential purchase is one of the troublesome cars.

• Headlight control modules can fail, however parts are readily available from the main agents. These arern’t cheap, so make sure everything is working correctly
 
Model history

2007: Audi S5 launched with 349bhp 4.2-litre V8 in Coupe form. It’s available with either six-speed manual or six-speed tiptronic gearbox
2009: Convertible and Sportback body styles introduced only available with new 328bhp 3.0l supercharged V6 and 7-speed S tronic transmissions. Upgrades carried out to MMI interface and optional navigation system
2012: Facelift carried out across range with changes to head and tail lights as well as trim options. Steering racks changed from hydraulic to electromechanical versions. All models now standard with 3.0-litre supercharged V6 and seven-speed S tronic transmission. Black edition offers upgraded sound system and matte exterior trim finish
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.audi.co.uk
• www.audiownersclub.co.uk 
• www.unit20.org – Audi specialists
 
Summary and prices
 
Early V8 Coupes without huge mileages start at £15,000 and are the only ones that were offered with a manual transmission option. £18,000 is where the first 2009 model year 3.0-litre supercharged cars start with not much difference between the convertibles and Sportbacks. 
 
2012 and newer facelifted cars start at around £25,000 which is a decent saving over the £43,000 pricing of a stock standard new S5, before options. A replacement should be announced in the next year or two so these 2012/13 models may well be the best place to put your money.

The S5 is an accomplished all-rounder with some real performance lurking under that unassuming exterior. With a range of body styles to suit a variety of needs it is a great sports car for those who prefer their performance served in a discreet package. 
 
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 17th Dec 2015
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Audi S5
15995 44000 GBP
  • Audi S5

    €44,000(£0) €44,000(£0)

    Variant: S5 3.0 FSI BL ED QUATTRO 328BHP

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    €44,000(£0) €44,000(£0)
    Joe Duffy - JDM Group-Audi North Dublin
  • Audi S5

    £43,990 £43,990

    Variant: Cabriolet 3.0 TFSI quattro 354 PS tiptronic Rear-view camera, Driver Assistance Pack - Tour, Brake calipers, painted in red, Extended LED Interior Lighting Pack - multi-coloured, Camera-based traffic sign recognition, Light & Vision Pack, Heated 3-spoke leather trimmed high multi-function steering wheel, Carbon Atlas, Audi Active Lane Assist, Door mirrors (folding), Wind deflector, Matrix LED Headlights, LED headlights , Automatic headlight adjustment, LED rear lights and dynamic rear indicators, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go and Traffic-jam assist, Headlight washer system, Audi Virtual Cockpit, Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System, Audi Phone box with wireless charging

    • Year: 2018
    • Mileage: 3500 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £43,990 £43,990
  • Audi S5

    £29,950 £29,950

    Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Comms Pack, Full Leather, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, Headlamp Jetwash, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Power Hood, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Stereo, 4 Wheel Drive, Acoustic Hood, Alloy Wheels, Full Service History, Low Mileage, Parking Sensors, Tiptronic, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Multi-function Steering Wheel, 4x4

    • Mileage: 8760 mi
    • Engine size: 2995
    For sale
    £29,950 £29,950
  • AUDI S5 4.2 V8 QUATTRO MANUAL - BANG&OLUFSEN - SAT NAV + MULTIMEDIA

    £25,995 £25,995

    The styling cues that set the S5 apart from its A5 sibling give the car's sleek form an edgy air befitting a performance model from Ingolstadt, with more pronounced bumpers, larger spoiler and chrome accents scattered about. But it's the engine that really marks the car as an S model. The 4.2-liter, 354-hp direct-injection V8, a detuned version of the Audi R8 supercar's engine, reaches a torque peak of 325 lb-ft at 3500 rpm, with 85 percent of that available at just 2000 rpm. In a straight line, the S5 pulls hard, with a fantastic rumble from the V8. During testing, it turned in a 0-60-mph time of 4.95 seconds. Flick the steering wheel, however, and the S5 really comes to life. It stays well planted around the cones, with a quick turn-in and predictable tracking, the nose reacting instantly to throttle inputs and demonstrating just a bit of understeer. This Brilliant Black example comes with a long list of extras to include Crimson Red Fine Nappa leather interior, Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi Multimedia with satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, 20 inch double spoke alloy wheels, Black Optic Package, Convenience Package - see more details below. Private plate S5 AWE

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 25000 mi
    For sale
    £25,995 £25,995
  • AUDI S5 3.0T QUATTRO MULTITRONIC CONVERTIBLE - 12000 MILES - AUDI FSH

    £32,995 £32,995

    Unlike many competitors, the S5 Convertible gets a light weight, insulated cloth folding top rather than a more complex, but more coupe-like, folding metal hardtop. The S5's exterior is set apart from its more mild-mannered sibling by a chrome-trimmed grille, quad tailpipes and more muscular bumpers. The resulting package is refined yet athletic, with luxury appointments that ensure comfort matched with a powertrain that won't disappoint. Unique front and rear fascias help the exterior, while the interior gets carbon fiber trim, a unique steering wheel plus it seats four adults with ease. Audi S5 Convertible is powered by a supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI V6 petrol engine which delivers 333bhp ? enough for 0-62mph acceleration in just 5.6 seconds. And driven with some restraint you should be able to get 30mpg from it, too. This Phantom Black / black Nappa leather hide example having covered only 12500 miles comes in unmarked condition. Long list of specification include Bang&Olufsen sound system, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, Audi Drive Select, Satellite Navigation - see more details below.

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 12500 mi
    For sale
    £32,995 £32,995
  • AUDI S5 4.2 V8 QUATTRO MANAUL - BLACK PACK - B&O SOUND SYSTEM

    £18,995 £18,995

    The styling cues that set the S5 apart from its A5 sibling give the car's sleek form an edgy air befitting a performance model from Ingolstadt, with more pronounced bumpers, larger spoiler and chrome accents scattered about. But it's the engine that really marks the car as an S model. The 4.2-liter, 354-hp direct-injection V8, a detuned version of the Audi R8 supercar's engine, reaches a torque peak of 325 lb-ft at 3500 rpm, with 85 percent of that available at just 2000 rpm. In a straight line, the S5 pulls hard, with a fantastic rumble from the V8. During testing, it turned in a 0-60-mph time of 4.95 seconds. Flick the steering wheel, however, and the S5 really comes to life. It stays well planted around the cones, with a quick turn-in and predictable tracking, the nose reacting instantly to throttle inputs and demonstrating just a bit of understeer. This Phantom Black example comes with a long list of extras to include Crimson Red Valcona leather interior, Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi Multimedia with satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, 20 inch double spoke alloy wheels in Anthracite, Black Optic Package, Comfort Package - see more details below. Private plate S

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 50000 mi
    For sale
    £18,995 £18,995
  • AUDI S5 4.2 V8 QUATTRO TIPTRONIC - SAT NAV - BLUETOOTH - 19'' ALLOYS

    £19,995 £19,995

    The styling cues that set the S5 apart from its A5 sibling give the car's sleek form an edgy air befitting a performance model from Ingolstadt, with more pronounced bumpers, larger spoiler and chrome accents scattered about. But it's the engine that really marks the car as an S model. The 4.2-liter, 354-hp direct-injection V8, a detuned version of the Audi R8 supercar's engine, reaches a torque peak of 325 lb-ft at 3500 rpm, with 85 percent of that available at just 2000 rpm. In a straight line, the S5 pulls hard, with a fantastic rumble from the V8. Flick the steering wheel, however, and the S5 really comes to life. It stays well planted around the cones, with a quick turn-in and predictable tracking, the nose reacting instantly to throttle inputs and demonstrating just a bit of understeer. This example comes in a very classy colour combination of QuartzGrey and Magma Red (Premium Valcona Leather) interior. Long list of specification include Audi Multimedia with HDD based satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, Audi Music Interface, 19 inch double spoke alloy wheels, Audi Advanced Parking System - see more details below. Four Pirelli P Zero tyres fitted recently. Please m

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    For sale
    £19,995 £19,995
  • Audi S5

    £15,995 £15,995

    Full Service History, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Comms Pack, Full Leather, Powered Folding Mirrors, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Camera, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Front Fog Lamps, Premium Cloth soft top, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Power Hood, Electric Sunroof, Push Button Start, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Alloy Wheels, Premium Stereo and Speakers, Tiptronic, Low Mileage, Keyless Entry, 4 Wheel Drive, Acoustic Hood, Aux Socket / Function, 4x4

    • Mileage: 49250 mi
    • Engine size: 2995
    For sale
    £15,995 £15,995
  • Audi S5

    £18,995 £18,995

    ABS, Immobiliser, Alarm, Traction Control, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Climate Control, Heated Seats, Electric Windows, Trip Computer, Electric Mirrors, Sports Seats, Alloy wheels, 4x4, Full service history

    • Mileage: 60000 mi
    • Engine size: 4200
    For sale
    £18,995 £18,995