by John Tallodi
Fast European sport coupes tend to offer a lot of performance and cutting-edge technology for a lot of money. The redesigned 2018 Audi S5 doesn't deviate from this formula and arrives on the scene with some of the very latest safety and convenience systems currently available in its segment.
The Audi A5 may be totally new but from the outside the evolutionary design language means that it looks quite similar to the previous model. When it comes to the interior though, things are very different. The modern dashboard design and available virtual cockpit are now up to date with the latest Audi interiors, what has remained the same are the high levels of the fittings, switch-gear and materials used. This means that the S5 once again is at the top of its class for interior quality.
The seats are very comfortable up front and offer an array of adjustments on top of the heating and massaging functions. The rear seats are still tight, especially in the coupe and convertible body styles although trunk space is good for this type of vehicle.
While fast Audis tend to grip well and perform very well in a straight line, thanks to the Quattro drivetrain and transverse engine layout, their on the limit cornering prowess tends to be marred by a tendency to understeer.
With a reconfigured all-wheel drive setup, available torque-vectoring and a sport rear differential, the S5 does its best to minimize this trait and the overall impressions are of a very well planted car that offers an astounding level of control even at very high cornering speeds.
The ride is no longer the teeth-jarring affair that it once was and it absorbs harsh road surfaces with an ease the previous S5 just wasn't able to do.
The 2018 Audi S5 is available with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 producing 354 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Quattro all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. Rivals from BMW and Mercedes have similarly powerful offerings but the coupe's claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.4-seconds places it at the top of the mid-range luxury sports car pack.
Other than a slight hesitation when pulling away the S5 puts in a command performance, the 8-speed gearbox shifts through the ratios seamlessly. In-gear acceleration is almost instant too, the torquey engine providing effortless power over a wide rev-range.
The Audi S5 is available in coupe, sportback and convertible body styles. There are two trim levels and one engine and transmission option.
The base Premium Plus Trim offers a vast range of standard features. Luxury items include leather/alcantara seats, heated and power front seats with memory and massage function for the driver, panoramic sunroof and ambient lighting.
Technology items fitted as standard include a 7-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and smartphone integration, rear view camera and Wi-Fi hotspot. Safety equipment includes Audi rear and side assist with vehicle exit assist as well as forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring.
Those wanting the very latest technology may find the Prestige Trim appealing, it comes with all of the above as well as a head-up display, virtual cockpit, B&O 19-speaker audio system, MMI navigation plus and parking system with top view camera.
Interior seat colors, decorative inlays and a range of exterior paint colors are all available. Notable extras include a Driver Assistance Package with active lane assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition and an S Sport Package which offers red brake calipers, sport adaptive dampers and a sport rear differential.
The completely redesigned 2018 Audi S5 is an accomplished and capable sports car capable of providing rapid performance in a variety of road and weather conditions. Technology and safety levels are class-leading and unique options like the virtual cockpit as well as a luxurious interior set it apart from the competition.