The sultry and sleek Audi A5 might not seem like it needs any help to attract buyers, but for those with a taste for speed in addition to style, the 2011 Audi S5 adds a much-needed dose of sport to the mix, in both hardtop and convertible forms. MotorAuthority appreciates this addition of go-fast, and rates the 2011 Audi S5 9 out of 10.
Quattro all-wheel drive, a 354-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine, a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions and 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds make for a heady mix in the hardtop coupe. Opt for the soft top S5 Cabriolet and you'll get a supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 good for 333 horsepower and an identical 325 pound-feet of torque. In the Cabrio, you don't get a choice of transmission, but you do get an upgrade: it only comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that's not available with the V-8 Coupe.
Priced to start around $55,000, the 2011 Audi S5 isn't the cheapest option on the market, but its fully competitive with offerings from BMW's M Division or Mercedes-Benz's AMG. It's not quite as quick as the German alternatives, but it's a lot better looking than either--a tradeoff that many will make willingly for a car that will only see street use, and let's face it, that's how the vast majority of these cars will spend their lives.
Neither the coupe nor the convertible will win any efficiency contests, with the V-8 drinking 16/24 mpg highway (in automatic guise) and the supercharged V-6 only slightly better at 17/26 mpg. But that's the price you pay for all that elegance and performance--which continues to the inside.
The cabin is typically high-quality Audi, though like the base A5, the array of buttons and controls can be a bit overwhelming at first. Once you've figured them all out, however, they resolve into a typically efficient engineer's configuration. In terms of comfort, the S5 gives up almost nothing to the standard A5, though the somewhat firmer suspension does transmit more road surface information, and vibration, into the cabin.
For more details on the 2011 Audi S5, and its base A5 sibling, read the full review at TheCarConnection