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        Audi S5 Sportback First Drive

        Ninad Ambre

        Ninad Ambre

        Opening

        The Audi S5 Sportback is a performance car based on the Audi A5; the latter which has proven to be a success globally, hasn’t been launched in India yet. The 'S' brand isn’t as mean or powerful or driver focused as the 'RS' brand from Audi, but to underestimate the S5 would be unwise. The V6 petrol engine under the hood is tuned to deliver a mix of both performance and efficient driving. And cars carrying the S badge must be fun and practical in equal measure. So, does the Audi S5 Sportback deliver on these promises? We find out.

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        Appearance Exterior

        There are four-door sedans, then there are two-door coupes and finally there are these sportbacks, which are essentially four-door sedans but with liftback tail gates. The S5 is one of these that features a sloping roof line thanks to the steeply raked rear window with an integrated boot lid. Also called as fastback, the S5 isn't an outright muscle car with overtly aggressive looks, but it still conveys its sporty intent quite clearly. Our test car’s bright yellow hue further adds to the S5’s aura.

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        In profile, it gets brushed aluminium finish for its ORVMs and sill moldings, a small V6 T badging on the fender indicating the fire power under the hood and gorgeous looking 18-inch alloy wheels with a five dual spoke pattern. The S5 also gets side skirts and drawn down bumpers missing on the regular A5, which give this Sportback the much-appreciated edgier stance.

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        Upfront, the big single frame grille with platinum grey inserts and a small S5 badge dominate the fascia. And, despite being adorned with horizontal chrome slats, it isn't too flashy. Enhancing the sporty character are the air intakes with honeycomb grille mesh, again embellished with chrome slats and housing angular fog lamps. The LED DRLs surrounding the projector headlamps subtly outline the headlamp housing.

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        Appearance Interior

        The interior of the Audi S5 resembles that of the A5 closely, but it gets added oomph. It features the gadgetry and equipment list from the A5 like an automatic climate control system, a retractable sunroof, electronically adjustable seats, automatic headlamps and much more. There’s also the Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers. It sounds great and is mated with Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus system. There’s a 17.78cm colour monitor with 3D navigation mapping which also works as the display screen for Audi’s Parking System Plus. The latter comes with a rear-view camera and sensors all round.

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        The all-black interior meanwhile is special to the S5. It might not help the car feel as roomy but the cocooned effect it generates goes well with the car’s sporty outline. As does the flat bottom three-spoke steering wheel lined with alcantara. The matte brush aluminium finish for the inlays brings an air of premiumness to the interiors while the ergonomics as well as the well-engineered feel of the switches, knobs and stalks remind you that this is still your typical high quality Audi all the way.

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        Upfront, the seats are comfortable, and the backrests with S5 badging, are well contoured. These can also be raised or lowered by about four inches to lend a good driving position complete with a good view of the road ahead. Things in the second row are a bit different though. Due to the sportback styling and a sloping roof line the headroom in the back isn’t all that great. There is good knee and shoulder room, however.

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        Performance Drive

        What remains to be spoken of is the 3.0-litre TFSI V6 petrol mill under the hood of the S5. This is a supercharged petrol engine that pumps out 328bhp of power at 5,500rpm and 440Nm of torque at 2,900rpm. It comes mated to the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox that sends power to all four wheels via Audi's renowned Quattro all-wheel drive system. A tap on the accelerator and the S5 kicks off dust to reach the 100kmph mark from standstill in less than five seconds. It tops out at a limited 250kmph.

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        Like most modern Audis, the S5 too comes with five driving modes: Comfort, Efficiency, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. These modes change the response of the engine and gearbox, steering and suspension to give the S5 a tangible change in character. The changes are pretty evident with the engine revving higher, the throttle response becoming sharper, the ride becoming stiffer and the steering weighing up nicely in Dynamic mode. All of this goes light and soft in Comfort making the S5 feel like two very different cars.

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        So, in Comfort and Efficiency modes, the steering feel is lighter, the throttle response is slightly dulled, and the suspension is soft enough to make the S5 glide quietly and effortlessly on the road. Even the engine note – which isn’t loud to begin with but offers a sweet tone in the Dynamic – mellows to an unobtrusive mechanical note.

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        Tech Specs

        Make Audi
        Model S5 Sportback
        Fuel Petrol
        Variant Sportback 3.0 TFSI Quattro
        Engine Capacity 3.0-litre
        Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 328bhp @ 5,500
        Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 440Nm @ 2,900
        Gears  Seven
        Length mm 4718
        Width mm 1854
        Height mm 1382
        Wheelbase mm 2811
        Fuel Capacity (in litres) 61
        Tyre size 245/40 R18

        Features

        Features  
        8 Airbags Yes
        Cruise control Yes
        Seven-speed gearbox Yes
        Torque-on-demand Four-wheel-drive Yes
        Hill Hold and Descent control Yes
        Reversing camera with guidance Yes
        Different driving modes Yes
        Alcantara seat upholstery Yes
        Bang & Olufsen sound system Yes

        Competition All Specs

        Specifications Mercedes-Benz
        CLA 45 AMG
        Audi
        S5 Sportback
        Variant CLA 45 AMG Sportback 3.0 TFSI Quattro
        Fuel Petrol Petrol
        Engine Capacity 2.0-litre 3.0-litre
        Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 355bhp @ 6,000 328bhp @ 5,500
        Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 450Nm @ 2,250 440Nm @ 2,900
        Gears  Seven Seven
        Length mm 4691 4718
        Width mm 1777 1854
        Height mm 1416 1382
        Wheelbase mm 2699 2811
        Fuel Capacity (in litres) - 61
        Tyre size 235/40 R18 245/40 R18

        Conclusion

        The S5 delivers around 11kmpl on the highway and it is only when you let yourself loose, the fuel efficiency comes down to single digit figures. It looks better than a regular Audi sedan and still offers the practicality of a sedan by accommodating five occupants. It has a big boot as well. Also with eight airbags – two of which are dedicated rear-side airbags – it ensures that that your kids at the back will also be safe.

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        So, the Audi S5 checks off most of the boxes: sporty design, comfortable cabin, balanced (powerful yet efficient) engine and great handling. It works well as a luxury weekend tourer too. But mind you, this car is the one you should be driving and not be chauffeured around in. Crucially, it is true to the S badge. So, it is fun and practical in almost equal measure.

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        Negatives? With that low nose, ground clearance can be an issue over tall speed breakers and exit ramps. But apart from that – and the relatively poor fuel economy – there’s every reason to buy it. More so when you look at the Audi S5’s price of Rs 62.9 lakh ex-showroom in Delhi. Its closest competitors, the likes of the Mercedes C 63 AMG and the M3 (which are certainly more powerful), do cost a crore plus, after all.

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        Photo Courtesy By : Ameya Dandekar

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