By Len Ingrassia
CNHI News Service
— Audi performance and styling have always been in the distinctive lane although one change this year may have some drivers scratching their heads in dismay.
The premium mid-size German coupe competes with homeland rivals’ BMW335i and Mercedes-Benz C350 coupe, nice company all around.
Gone is the roar of the 4.2-liter V8 that powered the Audi up to this year. Fuel efficiency standards and engineering techniques gave way to a new engine in the form of a 3.0-liter, V6 powerplant.
While the pure driving enthusiast will miss the throaty exhaust, they can take comfort in knowing that performance is still at the forefront. Zero to 60 miles per hour is achieved in just 4.9 seconds, which is as fast as the previous engine with better fuel economy.
The Audi S5 Coupe test car that arrived for a week of exhilarating driving was equipped with a six–speed manual shifter. Together with the 325 lb-ft of torque, the Premium Plus Quattro edition inspired confidence behind the wheel. All A5 and S5 models are equipped with all-wheel drive to give extra road traction in a variety of driving conditions.
A new electromechanical power steering unit has replaced a hydraulic system. Depending upon the speed of the car, the system adjusts steering input and effort. The result is more direct steering at higher speeds and effortless when parking. While some auto writers have panned its performance, I found it responsive.
The S5 comes standard with a performance-inspired, three-spoke steering wheel that features a flat bottom, useful in maneuvering the 3,924-pound coupe through corners and turns.
Exterior changes include a freshened front end with angled upper corners and a new bumper featuring air inlets with massive struts, revamped grille and flat fog lights. Redesigned headlamps feature a new LED lighting design with that is distinct on the road.
Inside the cabin, the front seating is distinctive and elegant in design featuring Milano and Fine Nappa leather surrounded with crafted Layered Oak inlays. Fit and finish will impress the discerning driver.
Back seat room in the coupe is best suited for small children.
An optional multi-media interface redefines the navigation experience with a first to market Google Earth integration system. High-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery come to life on the center screen for a realistic and panoramic view of your destination. The satellite images, while dated, offer street-by-street views with zoom capability.
Passengers will want to know about Audi’s integration of Wi-Fi service. The mobile hot spot allows connection for up to eight Wi-Fi devices permitting email, web surfing, streaming music and gaming.
If you are the type of driver that is more enthralled with the journey than the destination, the Audi S5 will not disappoint.
Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at email@example.com.