2013 Audi S5 Coupe Road Test Review

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Clothed in the automotive equivalent of a finely tailored suit, Audi's S5 radiates an aura of exclusivity, grace and authority. For the 2013 model year, the S5 presents a new face to the world, thanks to an updated version of the signature Audi single frame grille, distinguished by a pair of angled upper corners.

The new look also features a pronounced set of air inlets, revamped grille coverings, an air splitter, and a set of flat fog lights. While we're on the subject of illumination, the 2013 Audi S5 is also fitted with a new sharply drawn headlamp treatment - at once sleeker and more dynamic. The new LED daytime running lamps endow the S5 with a threatening glare, telegraphing your intent to the slower-moving cars in your path as you approach. And trust us, most cars fit into this category.

The S5's interior is outstanding in its beauty, craftsmanship, and comfort. The magnificently sculpted sport seats do an excellent job of providing support-they're also easy to get in and out of. Freshly reupholstered for 2013, new hide offerings include perforated Milano and Fine Nappa leather.

Rear seat occupants will rely heavily on the generosity of front seat passengers for legroom. As is to be expected, that commodity is rather scarce. Also the Audi's sleek profile incurs an intrusion upon headroom for those in the rear. Odds are this will occur rather infrequently, so it's not a huge negative from our perspective.

The S5 comes standard with a sport suspension and braking system, bi-xenon headlights, a tilting glass panel roof with a sunshade, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, heated 12-way adjustable sport seats, a three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel, and an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with a compass readout. Other standard kit includes Bluetooth audio and telephony, satellite radio, a CD player, and an iPod interface.

Our test car's upgraded Bang and Olufsen audio system was rivaled only by the engine's exhaust note for sweetness of sound. Meanwhile, Audi's MultiMedia Interface (MMI) for communications, navigation and other key functions remains the easiest to use on the market. And BTW, the 2013 Audi S5 is also configured to serve as a mobile WiFi hotspot.

Powered by a 333-horsepower supercharged V6 producing 325 ft-lbs of torque, the S5 emits a gloriously polished aural signature. Fuel economy ratings are 13.8 L/100km city and 8.3 highway with the seven-speed semi-manual direct shift gearbox.

Out on the road, acceleration is strong, the engine winds way more smoothly than any V6 is entitled to, and the gear ratios are nicely spaced-with just the right amount of overlap. You never find yourself struggling to find the right gear in hard charging circumstances.

The all-wheel drive system (Quattro in Audi-speak) is biased to the rear to impart that classic rear-drive high performance feel-except when the back end can't get a grip. Then, the front end bites. Additionally, Audi's engineers have incorporated lateral torque transfer (side to side in addition to front to back) to help the S5 turn into corners crisply and predictably.

The steering and braking systems are very generous contributors to the fun, bringing, as they do, a nice amount of control and accuracy to the mix. While some will decry the electro-mechanical steering as devoid of feel, nobody questions its accuracy.

The S5's sport suspension system, while endowing the coupe with tremendous agility, also keeps that voluptuous body stable-regardless of the maneuver-enabling all four tires to bite ferociously. That it does so without inducing a jarring stiffness of ride is another plus.

Our test car's S-tronic seven-speed automated-manual transmission was a miracle of modern technology. Left in its automatic ("D") mode, the gearbox delivered smooth changes, while striving to achieve the best possible fuel economy. Slide it one notch farther back into its ("S") sport mode, then attack a twisting stretch of pavement and you'll marvel at its ability to faithfully find exactly the right gear for each and every cornering situation. Place the S-tronic in its manual mode and take over gear changes yourself, you'll very quickly learn the transmission is better at its task than you, and faster too.

That all of this is clothed in some of the most attractive sheetmetal on the road is another very strong plus. Few cars are as good-looking as the two-door Audi. You'll look back over your shoulder in a self-congratulatory fashion every time you walk away from your 2013 Audi S5.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Audi, 2013, S5, $50,000 - $74,999,

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