Capitalizing on the already excellent A5 coupe and cabriolet, the 2020 Audi S5 positions itself as the sportier alternative. While the regular 5 has a dutiful turbocharged four-cylinder, the S version carries a 349-hp turbo V-6 that delivers truly impressive acceleration. Both the coupe and convertible S5 are also lithe around corners and smooth down the straights. Combine that with a well-built interior that boasts massaging front seats and upscale materials and these Audis are just as sophisticated as they are sporty. Those looking for a usable back seat should investigate the S5 Sportback (reviewed separately) and those seeking break-neck performance will want the rowdy RS5 (coupe only). Otherwise the 2020 S5 hits the sweet spot for sportiness and value.
What's New for 2020?
For 2020, Audi gives the S5 coupe and cabriolet a makeover. Their faces now have a more determined look, with a larger grille and air intakes as well as revised lighting elements. Their lower side sills also have been redefined, and their rear diffusers and exhaust outlets look different. Inside, the S5 lineup adds the company's new infotainment software (called MIB 3) that runs through a new 10.1-inch touchscreen. Unfortunately, this means the rotary controller that made the system so intuitive to operate is no longer offered. On the plus side, the 2020 S5 lineup is cheaper than the outgoing models.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Premium coupe: $52,895
- Premium Plus coupe: $55,395
- Premium cabriolet: $61,195
- Prestige coupe: $61,295
- Premium Plus cabriolet: $63,695
- Prestige cabriolet: $69,595
While the S5 cabriolet allows us to catch a tan while we're streaking down the street, we're not as excited about its additional weight and inflated price. That's why we'd recommend the S5 coupe with the Premium Plus trim. This combination includes standard amenities such as the 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster, blind-spot monitoring, navigation, passive entry with push-button start, rear cross-traffic alert, and wireless phone charging. We'd also opt for the S Sport package that adds red brake calipers, a torque-vectoring rear differential, and sport-tuned adaptive dampers. These upgrades help optimize the S5's driving character, unlike the optional Dynamic Steering that we think compromises its feedback.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All S5s come with the same 349-hp turbocharged V-6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Thanks to its launch-control system and all-wheel-drive traction, the last S5 coupe we tested delivered competitive acceleration in a class of quick alternatives. In our testing, it went from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Despite the additional weight, the convertible S5 cabriolet that we tested was still plenty quick, hitting 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Both titillating two-door S5s we tested were equipped with the optional 19-inch performance tires and the S Sport package, which adds a torque-vectoring rear differential and adaptive dampers. As equipped, our test cars sported firm but still compliant rides. The coupe also came equipped with the Dynamic Steering option, which quickens the steering the more the wheel is turned from center. We found the system uncommunicative and unpredictable; we recommend against it and that you stay with the standard fixed-ratio steering setup.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With a potent turbocharged V-6 and standard all-wheel drive, one might expect the S5 coupe and cabriolet to have not-so-great fuel economy. However, the EPA expects the fixed-roof version to earn 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway—choosing the convertible reduces both ratings by 1 mpg. While we've tested a coupe on our 75-mph real-world route, we haven't tested one since the government reduced its highway rating from 30 mpg last year to 27 mpg this year.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The S5's interior is marked by soft-to-the-touch, expensive-feeling materials, high-quality fit and finish, and a user-friendly design. Both driver and front-seat passenger are treated to comfortable and roomy power-adjustable seats, while rear-seat riders are left with the bare minimum of acceptable space. Those in need of more rear-seat room should look at the four-door S5 Sportback, which has a longer wheelbase and offers more room for rear passengers. The S5's interior starts with a conservative but modern dashboard design that's pieced together with laser-tight precision. Additionally, every S5 includes luxuries such as front seats with heating and massage functions, three-zone climate control, and push-button start. In our testing, the S5 coupe held as many carry-on suitcases as the BMW 440i coupe, making it one of the top rated in its segment. Meanwhile, the convertible swallowed as many carry-ons in its trunk as the Mercedes-AMG C43 cabriolet. Additionally, the S5's comparatively low lift-over height and wide trunk opening make loading items into the cargo bay an easy affair.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every 2020 S5 is outfitted with Audi's latest infotainment software, which is displayed on a high-mounted 10.1-inch touchscreen. The system also can be operated via voice recognition and steering-wheel controls, but the intuitive rotary controller on the center console has been nixed. Along with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, the S5 can be equipped with a slick-looking 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 705-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 S5 hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Instead, the coupe and convertible have a suite of standard and optional driver-assistance gear. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles