2009 Audi S5

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 by

I’d driven Audi’s 2009 S5 before it arrived at AutoMiddleEast Towers for a couple of days.

It was at an Audi event in Oman, in an area near Muscat replete with amazing, twisty roads and incredible scenery.

And I was underwhelmed. To me the car, while fast, felt too heavy to really enjoy around the bendy tarmac and too insulated from the speed it was generating to really get excited.

But now I’ve tried it in the congested traffic and long, straight highways of Dubai, and you know what? I like it more now.

That’s rather unusual – I’ll always choose to be away from traffic and up in some mountains somewhere, sweeping o’er crests and generally getting up to no good, given the choice. But let’s be honest, if you live in an urban environment, you don’t get that choice very often. More than likely your everyday driving routine involves low speed pootling, motorways and traffic jams.

So cosseted in the S5’s very impressive interior I was stress free in heavy traffic, while on motorways I cruised effortlessly with the (optional) adaptive cruise control on. And when the time came for it, I had plenty of power from the 354bhp, 4.2-litre V8 engine. It’s a machine with plenty of power throughout the rev range, so there’s no need to jump between gears unless you really want to put your foot down.

The gears, by the way, are swapped automatically thanks to a six-speed auto gearbox. It’s a tiptronic box rather than a more modern dual-clutch affair, but it lets you change up and down manually if you so wish and does so smoothly and relatively quickly.

Looks-wise, the S5 takes the standard A5 exterior and beefs it up a little – not much, but enough to give it a more athletic air. Tell tale signs include the S badge on the front grille, more pronounced bumpers and four exhaust pipes at the back. There are also some side skirts and a lip spoiler on the boot lid.

 

 

Back to the interior. Audis really are very well put together and the S5 doesn’t disappoint. Build quality is excellent and the materials used are very good – no cheap-feeling plastics here. Even the buttons and dials feel solid and nicely damped. It all just feels like a quality product. The S5 has sports seats with the S logo embossed into them. The same logo appears on the leather-trimmed steering wheel.

On the safety side of things, the S5 comes with ABS, ESP and electronic brake force distribution, which will give keep the car stable under heavy emergency braking. Driver and passenger get airbags, there are side airbags in the front and curtain airbags in both front and rear.

I still maintain that the S5 isn’t quite so good when really hustled as some reviewers have made out. It’s so good at making you feel relaxed and stress-free that when you actually want excitement there’s little to be found. With its Quattro four-wheel drive system it’s so composed that you always feel completely in control, so you’d really have to hurl it around to find any drama.

That said, it’s more than capable when pushed, with good feel through the steering. It’s just not as much fun as perhaps you might hope for an Audi with the S badge. So much better to treat the S5 as an A5 with a bit more power and style, which is not bad thing at all.

 

Price: From 295,000 AED

Engine size: 4.2

Engine type: V8

Driven wheels: four-wheel drive

Max power (bhp): 354

Max torque (Nm): 440

Trim levels: N/A

Standard safety features: ABS, ESP, electronic brake force distribution, curtain airbags, front airbags, side airbags

 

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