It's interesting that Audi still uses the V-8 engine in the S5 hardtop but the new, supercharged V-6 in the S5 cabriolet. It's probably just a matter of rollout, and I would expect the coupe will make the switch next year.
The V-8 does seem a bit like overkill in this car, and its city gas mileage is really poor (14 mpg). But for those who are comfortable with excess, the V-8 does offer rewards. The sound is magnificent, both the low rumble at startup and the rising note as the tach needle climbs. Speaking of which, another delightful aspect of this engine is its free-revving quality. And the manual gearbox encourages you to enjoy it to the fullest.
Like platform-mates the A4 and S4, the S5 has the same, weird power-steering boost curve, with way too much assist at low speeds, transitioning to moderate amounts once you're moving along.
The big, nineteen-inch wheels might make a fashion statement, but their ultra-low-profile, 35-series tires provide precious little cushion for sharp-edged bumps. On this 19-degree day, impacts were sharp enough to rattle the oversize sunroof.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor