Audi has just begun launching its newest “S” models in the US, with the addition of the Audi S4 and S5. The latter car, the Audi S5 Coupe, is one of the better looking cars to come from Audi in some time and we’re very excited to give it a drive ‘Stateside. Unfortunately, we weren’t invited out to Palm Springs to drive the new S5 (our invite was lost in the mail, right Audi?) but we get to see it in this video review from The Fast Lane Car.
In this new video from TFLC, Roman is joined by Nik Miles, another automotive journalist, to drive the new Audi S5 on the sunny streets of Palm Springs, California. They discuss all aspects of the car, including Audis business decisions for the S5 and why it is how it is.
Roman calls the Audi S5 the “Kissing Cousin” of the S4 but the better looking and more exciting one of the two. Despite sharing the same 3.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged V6 engine, making 354 hp, the S5 is just a bit more emotional and fun to drive than the S4. A lot of it has to do with its looks, which are definitely sexier than the S4’s. Apparently, the people at Audi claim that more emotion was in fact put into making the S5, so it shows.
Another interesting fact we find out about the Audi S5, and even its “Kissing Cousin” is that there’s no fake engine noise pumped into the cabin. The exhaust note from this blown-six is actually quite good, despite being turbocharged, and you can even hear some intake noise from the front seats. However, none of that is fake. Audi uses electronically-controlled valves in the exhaust to open and close at certain speed and revs, allowing it to be quiet around town and on the highway but loud when really hustling it. There’s also a sort of actuator underneath the front windshield that actually bounces engine intake noise off of the glass, allowing passengers to hear it more. This allows for a growly intake sound without compromising wind and road noise levels inside the cabin and also without using any fake speaker trickery, like in a BMW or Ford.
Roman has some issues with the S5, though, namely the steering and the transmission. While the steering is sharp and accurate, it’s completely lacking feel. Miles points out, though, that Audi is simply giving its customers what they want and it’s true. Customers in this segment want isolation from negative steering feedback, such as bumps and vibrations. While enthusiasts want all the feels, so to speak, the real customer that actually put their money down on modern Audis do not. This is why the steering is numb. However, it is accurate and very sharp. Miles points out that “like politics, what we think we want is not actually what we buy”.
As for the transmission, the Audi S5 uses a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic as its only option, rather than the seven-speed dual-clutch in the standard A5 or a manual. This is for a number of reasons, one being that the ZF auto is better at handling the S5’s extra torque and Audi does have to make a business case for this car and the ZF auto did that better than the dual-clutch.
Overall, though, it seems as if both Roman and Nik like the Audi S5 and seem to think it’s a good car. It’s a good conversation between the two because they really break down a lot of aspects of the car and talk about them in real-world terms. A lot of the time, us car journalists only talk about the enthusiast stuff, like steering feel and dynamics. This conversation is actually about what buyers are going to get with the S5 and it’s interesting to hear. Check it out below.