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Reader test: Audi S5

2008-08-08 07:10
Audi, S5

Israel Skosana

I took delivery of my Audi S5 on Thursday and here is a brief review of my first weekend with the car.

First, the facts: the S5 produces 260 kW and 440 Nm of torque. It pierces the air at a top speed of 270 km/h and annihilates the 0 - 100 km/h test in 5.1 seconds.

This performance had a direct impact on my wallet as it consumed fuel at a rate of 20 l/100 km. Seeing that I had the S5 from Thursday morning, I had the opportunity to drive it over 2 000 km during the weekend, which resulted in a petrol card-crunching fuel bill of R2 700. Just as drug addicts spend their money on their fix of choice, I spend mine on petrol.

As a car enthusiast, I do not care for economical driving or how much carbon dioxide is produced. What I do care about is brute power, beautiful design, acoustic pleasure for occupants and bystanders, and handling that is precise and entertaining.


The exterior is pure beauty with a hint of testosterone thrown in.

From the front, the LED lights taken from the R8 immediately catch one's attention and shows how aggressive this car is.

The S5 is as long as a Mercedes CLK and as wide as a BMW 6 series yet it is so proportionate that it does not look too big or small - just perfect for a coupe.

The rear is a mixture of grace, from the rear light cluster, and muscle, from the chrome-tipped quad exhausts. The Audi S5 has bodylines that will bring you too your knees.

The interior is perfect for driver and passengers. The cockpit is driver focused, but has big sports seats with "S5" embossing that are comfortable and supportive during energetic driving. The steering wheel feels good to touch and has thumb grips in the correct positions.

There is enough rear leg room, but rear head room is limited - it's the price you pay for such a low profile.

S5 also has a world class sound system that was hardly used as the V8 was all I needed.

The drive, oh yeah…

Inserting the key into the dash elicits a deep baritone that is slightly off beat and sounds purposeful.

Once you dab on the throttle, the exhaust adds a staccato tenor note to the great chorus. Just pulling the car out of a parking bay is an experience.

The car is silky smooth to drive due to the steering weighting being light at low speeds and heavier and tighter as the speed increases. The car is the perfect cruiser with inspirational gear changes and more than enough power in any gear.

While at a robot revving the engine, I noticed that it would not rev past 4 000 r/min; this is to protect the clutch when you pull off at pace. So, to rev all the way to 7 300 r/min at standstill, you need to disengage the ESP first.

The power delivery from the V8 is effortless. There is never a time when you sit asking for more. There is no fancy turbo, VTec or Vanos system. All the S5 has is just pure brute power from the bottom of its belly.

Handling also changes drastically during a spirited drive. The suspension tightens up and cornering is so sharp and precise that it is nearly impossible to lose traction or hear the tyres screech. This car loves swooping bends but struggles slightly with tight bends. The S5 is so planted it actually feels more surefooted the faster one goes around the corners.

The car blazed through the Long Tom Pass at ridiculous speeds with ease and total composure.

As this was my first time driving a high performance Audi, I am truly impressed at the way the power is delivered and how the handling complements this power.Can you imagine how good the RS5 is going to be? Well done Audi!

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