Is a solid mix of pace, good looks and impressive interior quality enough for the S5 to better its rivals?

Find Used Audi S5 2007-2016 review deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Used car deals
From £1,990
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

So the theory goes, saloons look and feel more upmarket than hatches. I don’t buy that. And I certainly don’t buy it when it comes to the Audi A5, available in five-door Sportback form, three-door coupé and cabriolet form.

It’s considerably more glamorous than the A4 saloon and not just for its relative rarity. It’s sleeker, prettier and more muscular than the four-door. The 2017 Audi A5 takes a meaner, more aggressive stance than before, which has impressed us thus far. 

There are some extremely talented rivals to choose from around £40k, but the S5's pace, abilities and looks makes a great case for itself

As for the second generation S5, available in all three bodystyles, it is a no-nonsense fast mid-size Audi set to take the battle to the BMW 440i and the Mercedes-AMG C43, while leaving the grand battle for the AMG C63, BMW M4 and the Audi RS5 - although there are no definites one is on the horizon. Under the bonnet is an all-new 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged engine producing 349bhp putting in the same ballpark as its closest rivals.

But the first generation S5, we are focussing on here uses same 328bhp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 as the last S4, and comes as standard with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

A supercharged six is an esoteric engine in this type of car but it’s easily one of the best things about the S5, especially when paired to the DSG ’box.

As for trim levels the S5 is certainly well equipped with an aggressive bodykit and Audi Sport tweaks differentiating it from a normal Audi A5. The second generation S5 gets 19in alloy wheels, sporty suspension, an enhanced braking system, an aggressive bodykit and adaptive headlights on the outside, while inside there is an Audi MMI infotainment system with an 8.3in display, sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and a 10GB hard drive.

Back to top

It’s lusty and linear right up to the red line and provides explosive overtaking potential from pretty much any speed. It doesn’t sound quite as spirited as the V8 that used to power the S-badged Audis. But it’s hardly shy and retiring at full chat, either, and there are clear fuel economy and emissions advantages.

Some of the usual Audi vices are in evidence, though, such as a lumpy low-speed ride and numb handling. Nothing wrong with the crisp way it tackles corners, however, though the caveat is that our test car was fitted with the optional sports differential and ‘dynamic’ steering. But even those pricey extras don’t result in a lot of information being telegraphed back to the driver..

If you’re a company car buyer, the S5 makes little fiscal sense and you’d be far better off with one of the diesels.

Audi S5 2007-2016 First drives