All sorts of sports

The Advertiser - Motoring - - SHORT CUT AUDI S5 SPORTBACK -

PRICE

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.

COM­FORT

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.

SAFETY

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES

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.

VER­DICT

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.

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