The S5 is another Audi product-in addition to the A5 and the R8-that one feels compelled to caress, if only visually. It's sexy shape and muscular stance are irresistable. Audi designers really know how to evoke an emotional response with their designs. It literally stops traffic-foot traffic anyway. Driving through Ann Arbor, I saw plenty of double-takes as pedestrians tried to get a better look.
The S5 not only looks good; it's quite good to drive. It rockets down the road snuffing out bumps big and small while still giving the driver plenty of feedback, although the steering is a little on the light side. The shift action is slightly notchy, and I found it nearly impossible to make a smooth shift up from first, just as in our Four Seasons RS4. The shifter also seems too tall both in an aesthetic and a functional sense: it blocks access to the HVAC controls on lower part of the central dash.
I was surprised how uncomfortable I was in the S5 as most Audi's fit me well. The seat bottom is too long for my legs. In order to reach the clutch, I had to angle the seat bottom downward. Adjusting the rest of seat around this setting to get comfortable took most of my drive home, and even then, it never felt right.
The red leather covering the seats is not my taste, but it suits this car and gives the S5 an extra bump in the sport direction. I am disappointed to see that Audi has given in to peer pressure and gone to both a starter button and a "key-fob-as-key." There is something so satisfying about turning a key to start an engine as opposed to pushing a button.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor