All sorts of sports
Audi has shaved $14,000 off the list price of the old model, which was on sale last month at $119,225. It says it has also added about $14,000 of extra kit (largely to counter the new-tomarket opposition). The warranty is a standard three years/unlimited km and service intervals are 12 months/ 15,000km. A $1670 upfront payment covers the first three trips. Premium paint (there are two standard colours) adds $1846 and a sunroof is $2850.
This S5 version adds 24mm of much-needed kneeroom in the rear and extra shoulder space up front. Default kit includes an 8.3-inch infotainment display with satnav, Android/Apple mirroring, tri-zone aircon, the 12.3-inch digital virtual cockpit driver display and Nappa leather trim with powered front seats.
Five stars. Adaptive cruise control takes over braking and accelerating at up to 65km/h. If it detects a pair of white lines, it can also help with steering. The S5 has active lane-departure assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
A $2950 sports diff lets you exercise lateral creativity and will be all you want this side of an RS5. The handling is so neutral this car could be a judge yet it inherently isn’t judgmental, forgiving the typically dumb stuff — cornering too fast, hammering the brakes and then backing off the throttle — with a scuff of the tyres before the mechanical all-wheel drive grip and the electronic stability control pull you into line. It is hugely competent rather than engaging but does enough to justify the price.
BMW 440i Gran Coupe, from $99,900 Five doors make it the closest rival to the S5. It undercuts the Audi on price, is fractionally slower in the run to 100km/h but remains one of the best handling cars on the road. Mercedes-Benz C43 Coupe, from $105,615 Owning a Benz opens doors but not enough of them in this case. The coupe competes well on price and performance with the S5 but doesn’t have the extra doors or hatch-styled boot. Infiniti Q60 Red Sport, from $88,900 As with the Benz, there’s an issue with access. The Q60 has the looks and mechanicals to tackle the Audi but Infiniti needs to improve its take on prestige refinement to tackle incabin ambience.
Rides don’t come much more reassuring than the S5. This is prestige motoring with panache, from the gorilla-like grip and power to the chassis poise and cabin layout. It is as fun or fussfree as the driver demands.