Audi S5 review (2017-present): models and trim levels

The Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet offer a good mix of sporty driving and everyday comfort

The Audi S5 is one of two high-performance models in the Audi A5 range. It’s available in Coupe, Sportback (five-door coupe-style hatchback) and Cabriolet forms just like the normal Audi A5 lineup, although the most recent model is no longer available in convertible form. The other model to look out for is the Audi RS5, which is even more powerful than the S5.

It might be easier to think of the S5 as part of the A5 trim range rather than a standalone model, despite the fact that Audi uses a different name for this version. This is because it’s extremely similar to a top-spec A5 in many ways, including the styling, equipment and interior. However, the S5 models all feature more powerful engines than you can get in a normal A5.

BMW actually does include its rival cars as part of the standard model range, rather than being standalone versions - in this case, the BMW M440i in Coupe, Gran Coupe and Convertible forms rival the S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet respectively. The Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe and Cabriolet are the next most obvious competitors. All of these cars use six-cylinder engines with four-wheel-drive for the greatest possible grip when accelerating and an automatic gearbox.

They are all focused more on sporty driving than the comfort of lesser models, so you also get tuned suspension for better body control around corners. In the S5’s case, it’s still able to provide comfort and even decent fuel economy too.

In 2020 there was an update to the range that brought a revised look, but the key change was the removal of the Cabriolet model and the switch from petrol to diesel power. This is well worth remembering: the older 354hp petrol is more sporty, but the newer 341hp diesel is just as fast and even more economical, so could be a better bet for everyday driving.

Should I get an Audi S5?

 Powerful engines but still comfortable to drive
 High-quality interior and lots of equipment
 Sportback model is quite practical

 Expensive to buy or finance and run
 BMW alternatives are more fun to drive
 Coupe and Cabriolet models cramped for passengers

The Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet all have their own niche appeal, but if you’re considering any of them, you likely want a model that’s fast and fun to drive. Unfortunately, the S5 range isn’t the best choice if that’s the case, because it’s a little dull to drive for a performance car - although it’s very fast. It falls behind its rivals for driver appeal, but there are good reasons to consider the Audi over a BMW or Mercedes alternative.

The Cabriolet version’s appeal is clear, as it’s a convertible car, but it’s the worst of the bunch to drive and quite expensive. The Coupe is a bit better, as the fixed roof means it’s quieter inside, but the Sportback model’s extra doors and interior space means it’s the best version to choose as an all-rounder.

Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet (2017-present): models explained

Audi S5 Coupe

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Audi S5 Sportback

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Audi S5 Cabriolet

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Audi S5 Coupe

The Audi S5 Coupe is the fixed-roof two-door model. All S5 models have the same engine, which means from 2017-2020 there’s a turbocharged V6 petrol engine with 354hp and from 2020-on there’s a V6 diesel with 341hp plus more low-engine-speed muscle than the petrol offered.

The Coupe model has two small rear seats, but they’re pretty cramped and not really suitable for everyday family car life. However, the Coupe is the best of the bunch to drive, because it’s a little lighter than the other versions.

Audi S5 Sportback

The S5 Sportback has two extra doors as well as a larger hatchback boot opening, plus you can fold the seats to open out much more boot space. It’s by far the most practical model as a result, and offers even those with a family all the performance of the other models in the S5 range.

The current diesel version makes a fantastic long-distance cruiser, that’s also reasonably fun to drive on twisty roads. It’s our pick of the range overall, and the older petrol model also brings lots of performance and is an enjoyable engine to use.

Audi S5 Cabriolet

The Audi S5 Cabriolet is only available in pre-2020 form, which means it’s only available with the V6 petrol engine. There is a V6 diesel A5 Cabriolet (pre-2020 models only) if you like the idea of a large-engined diesel convertible, though.

This model sounds like it might be like a sports car but because it’s quite heavy, it’s not the most fun to drive. It’s more of a cruiser, which is fine, but the fixed-roof models are quieter and more comfortable, not to mention a bit cheaper.

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Which Audi S5 to buy: trim levels

TrimEquipmentDeals
S5From £26,495: The S5 Range isn’t just a singular model, but you don’t need to go beyond the entry-level version because it’s still very well equipped. It comes with 19-inch alloys, LED headlights, sat-nav, digital dials, a reversing camera, leather seats and sport suspension.
Black EditionLimited stock: The Black Edition model adds 20-inch alloy wheels, black styling details on the exterior (such as the grille and door mirrors) and some small changes to the interior trim. It’s not worth the extra cash.
Edition 1Limited stock: The Edition 1 was previously available and had a very similar theme to the Black Edition - it added extra trim bits and bigger alloy wheels, but the actual equipment you get over the base S5 was minimal.
VorsprungThe Vorsprung is the top-spec model, and gets a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch alloy wheels, extra driver assistance features, a Bang & Olufsen stereo and ambient lighting in the cabin. It’s expensive, and not very good value.

 

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Best Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet engine

The S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet came with only two engines and which one you get depends on the age of the car. Older models had a petrol engine, while after an update to the range in 2020 there is only a diesel engine. All have four-wheel-drive and an automatic gearbox, though.

The earlier petrol engine is a V6 turbocharged unit with 354hp, so performance is excellent - 0-62mph takes just 4.7 seconds, which should be fast enough for anyone. This engine is the only option if you want the Cabriolet model.

The post-2020 cars all have a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with 341hp. That’s less than the petrol had, but there’s more torque, which means it feels more powerful at lower engine speeds. This engine can still take the car from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds - plus it’s more economical than the old petrol unit.

We reckon the diesel is the better choice overall. Usually you’d recommend a petrol engine in a performance car, but the petrol in the S5 range was actually a rather dull engine to use, so the fuel savings and extra torque of the diesel means it’s our pick.

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Best Audi S5 for…

The S5 range is pretty specific - the Coupe, Cabriolet and Sportback models have their own appeal in different ways. Our categories below don’t line up perfectly with those, but you can get an idea about which will be best for you by reading our top picks below.

One extra thing to consider will be whether you want an older model with the petrol engine or a newer version with the diesel. There’s not a huge difference in terms of performance, as both are very fast, but the character of the engines are quite different. The diesel is our pick, but the petrol is slightly smoother and spins more freely, so if that’s important to you then it could be worth a look.

Audi S5 Coupe (2017): The earlier petrol-powered S5 models are cheaper to buy than the newer diesels, so even though they might cost a bit more to run we reckon they’re probably better value right now. In a few years when prices come down, the diesel will make more sense.
Audi S5 Sportback (2020): Go for a newer diesel model if you’re after a family car, as it will be cheaper to run and great for long trips. The Sportback version is the only choice here; its extra doors, hatchback and added interior space are what you need for family life.
Audi S5 Coupe (2020): It might sound strange but the newer S5 diesel is actually faster than the previous petrol model. The engine feels more muscular from lower engine speeds too, so not only is it faster from 0-62mph, it feels more powerful from behind the wheel as well.
Audi S5 Cabriolet: If you want an open-top sports car, look elsewhere. The S5 Cabriolet isn’t very exciting to drive, is expensive and not very comfortable either. A normal A5 Cabriolet, which is more comfortable, makes a lot more sense than spending a lot extra on the S5 version.

 

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Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet rivals

BMW 4 Series

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Mercedes C-Class

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Monthly finance from £456*

Alfa Romeo Giulia

BuyaCar prices from £15,790
Monthly finance from £0*

There are different rivals for the S5 in Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet forms. The most obvious one is the BMW 4 Series, which is also available as a coupe, sleek five-door hatchback and convertible. You’ll want the 440i - later branded as the 'M440i' - model to match the S5’s performance.

The Mercedes C-Class is available as a Coupe and Cabriolet and the AMG 43 models in those ranges are the rivals for the S5 versions. There’s no five-door model, but you can get a C-Class saloon with the same engine. You could also consider other saloons such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia in Veloce form as a rival for the S5 Sportback.

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Audi S5 practicality: dimensions and boot space

Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet dimensions

The Audi S5’s dimensions vary slightly depending on which model you choose. For example, the S5 Cabriolet is 4.7m long, 1.8m wide and 1.4m tall, but those figures don’t tell the full story because it’s more cramped inside than the other models - click on the link below to read our pages covering the full dimensions for each model to find out more.

The S5 Coupe is also 4.7m long but it’s longer than the Cabriolet, plus it’s also 1.4m tall and 1.8m wide (but over 2m wide with the mirrors out). The S5 Sportback is 4.8m long, so it’s the longest of the three. There’s more space inside than in the other models as a result of its length, as the width and height are about the same as the Coupe.

Length 4,705-4,765mmWidth 1,843-1,846mm
Height 1,371-1,386mmWeight 1,785-1,820kg

 

Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet boot space

The Audi S5 Sportback is the most practical model of the three - not only does it have more space for passengers, it has a larger 430-litre boot with folding rear seats that can expand that space to 1,245 litres. The boot opening is much larger in this model as well, as it has a hatchback.

The Coupe has a decent 410 litres of space, but the Cabriolet has only 320 litres, so it’s by far the least practical, especially as the rear seats are quite cramped, too. It’s not the least spacious four-seater convertible around but all cars of this type are compromised in terms of space.

Seats up 320-430 litresSeats down 1,245 litres (Sportback)

 

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Audi S5 reliability

The Audi S5 range should be just as reliable as the A5 range it’s based on, although there will be a difference between running an earlier petrol model and the later diesels, as the engines are totally different. It’s tough to get a reading on how reliable these fairly new cars are, but Audi does not fare too well in owner surveys overall.

Looking at the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey in 2021, Audi came in 23rd place out of a total of 29 manufacturers. This is a poor score but it matches those of other similar car makers - BMW and Mercedes didn’t score highly either.

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Audi S5 warranty

The Audi S5 has a normal warranty from Audi, which covers it for three years and over 60,000 miles. The mileage limit is for the third year of that period, so you can cover unlimited miles in the first two years without losing the warranty cover. Any higher-mileage used models that are three years old or more won’t have any remaining cover, though - but this is the same as with other similar models.

Audi does offer extended warranties, which are decent value for money - you can check the latest prices on the brand’s website. You can get fourth year of cover for up to 75,000 miles and five-year cover for up to 90,000 miles if you need it.

Three years60,000 miles

AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £643 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON USED CAR WARRANTIES

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Used Audi S5: should I buy one?

If you want a sporty-looking five-door coupe with plenty of performance but reasonable running costs and excellent long-distance capabilities, the Audi S5 Sportback is a very appealing choice - provided you can afford it, as it’s a pricey car.

Yet the S5 Cabriolet isn’t really a good choice even if you want a convertible sports car, as it’s quite dull to drive for such a compromised model and open-topped sports cars such as the BMW Z4 are much better to drive. A standard A5 Cabriolet makes more sense because it’s better value and no worse to drive.

The S5 Coupe is fast and looks good, and could make sense if you want the performance of a sports car with a bit more practicality for occasional use. It’s not as good to drive as it looks, but as an everyday car with a lot of performance it’s worth a look. The BMW M440i is much more enjoyable to drive, however.

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Best Audi S5 Coupe, Sportback and Cabriolet deals

Audi S5 Coupe 3.0 TFSI

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Audi S5 Sportback

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Audi S5 Cabriolet

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The Audi S5 Sportback is our pick of the range, as it offers a more usable everyday package than the other versions. The extra doors and larger boot mean it works as a family car, which is more in-keeping with the character of the car - it’s just not sporty enough to work well as a Coupe or Cabriolet, although those versions do have their own appeal to some buyers.

Go for a Coupe model if you don’t need the extra space but you love the S5’s looks over those of its rivals (such as the BMW M440i or Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe). The front seats are just as comfy as in the Sportback. The diesel model is excellent for long trips.

The S5 Coupe in pre-2020 form had a petrol V6 engine, which might have more appeal to some buyers, though it's still not the most exciting engine. It’s not as economical and it’s also not as fast as the newer diesel versions but it still has more performance than you could ever need and the engine likes to rev more than the diesel.

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*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:

PCP representative exampleAPR rates available
Cash price £12,000APR 7.90%Value of loanFrom
Fixed monthly payment £218.12Annual mileage of 8,000pa£25,000+6.9%
Total cost of credit £2,755.55Term 48 months£12,000-£24,9997.9%
Optional final payment £4,285.79Loan value £12,000£8,000-£11,9998.9%
Total amount payable £14,755.55Deposit £0<8,0009.9%

 

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.
 

Last Updated 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 15:45

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