Audi A5 vs S5

Is The V6 Worth It?

Audi A5 vs S5: Is The V6 Worth It?

The Lowdown

Audi denotes its cars performance levels with the letters A, S, and RS, with the RS being the fastest. The Audi S5 is essentially a souped-up Audi A5 which houses a gutsier V6 engine and gets unique styling elements.

2021 Audi A5 Coupe Premium 45 TFSI quattro

2021 Audi A5 Coupe Premium 45 TFSI quattro

MSRP
$44,000
Body Type
Coupe
Horsepower
261
Weight
3,715 lbs
Seating
4
MPG (City/Hwy)
24 / 31
2021 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T Premium quattro

2021 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T Premium quattro

MSRP
$52,500
Body Type
Coupe
Horsepower
349
Weight
3,847 lbs
Seating
4
MPG (City/Hwy)
20 / 28

Note: Images shown may not represent trims

The Audi A5 is considered pretty sporty within Audi’s regular ‘A’ range of cars. Unlike the other hatchbacks and saloons, the A5 is a coupe at heart. It’s also offered as a cabriolet and a sportback that bridges the gap between coupe and saloon.

So what about the Audi S5? For those unaware, the ‘S’ indicates a performance version of Audi’s regular cars. This means the Audi A5 and S5 are built from exactly the same base, but the S5 is essentially the A5 with higher engine specs.

That’s the bottom line, but let’s take a closer look at the exact similarities and differences between these two popular Audis.

Price

Comparing the cost of the A5/S5 coupes and sportbacks, the 2021 A5 starts at $44,000 MSRP whereas the S5 starts at $52,500 MSRP. It doesn’t need explaining that being a high performance version of the A5, the Audi S5 is the more expensive car.

Audi A5 sportback interior
Photo: Audi
Audi A5 interior

S5 Has A Sportier Design

Given the fact they’re built from the same base, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the A5 and S5 are visually very similar.

However, on closer examination the S5 has some exterior subtleties that make it look more sporty, such as additional exhaust pipes at the rear, different side sills and red S badging.

On the inside, the S5 changes things up with a flat-bottomed steering wheel and S sport-contoured seats with pneumatic side bolsters.

Both are available as a Coupe, Cabriolet or Sportback

The Audi A5/S5 can be purchased as either a coupe or sportback with no difference in cost. The cabriolet (convertible) costs more.

Audi A5 body type availability
Photo: Audi
Coupe (top), Sportback (middle), Cabriolet (bottom)

The coupe is a two door car with a sloped rear roofline, whereas the sportback has four doors. Unlike a typical four-door sedan, the sportback has a more sloped rear roofline, giving it a sportier, more aerodynamic appearance. Think of it as a 4-door coupe.

Although both the coupe and sportback offer four seats, the sportback is roomier and offers much more convenient entry. The coupe trades practicality for the ultimate driver’s experience: slightly nimbler handling and better performance.

Although we’re big fans of the 2-door coupe and cabriolet, we personally prefer the look of the sportback overall. The longer body gives the sportback a perfect silhouette.

Both Feature Quattro AWD

Audi’s patented Quattro all-wheel drive system is featured on both cars, making them well-suited to driving in slippery conditions or on rougher terrain.

The S5 is Faster

The whole point of buying the S5 over the A5 is for the improved performance and track handling. So how big is that performance gap? Let’s compare the specs of the 2021 Coupes (the sportbacks are very similar, but a tiny bit slower because of the additional weight).

The A5 features a four cylinder 2.0-liter 261-hp turbocharged TFSI engine that can take it from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

By comparison, the S5 features a much more powerful 3.0-liter TFSI 349-hp V6 which takes it from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.

Although you won’t get to legally be allowed to drive either car at their top speed, the A5 maxes out at 130 mph whereas the S5 can reach 155 mph.

The A5’s engine is mated with a seven-speed S-tronic® dual-clutch automatic transmission whereas the S5 adopts the eight-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission for more aggressive gearing.

The A5 Has Better Fuel Economy

Going hand in hand with its bigger engine, the S5 is more gas-hungry. It achieves a 20/28 city/highway mpg for a combined 23 mpg. Compare this with the A5 that achieves a 24/31 city/highway mpg and a combined 27 mpg.

Audi S5 trunk with suitcases packed inside
Photo: Audi
Interior measurements are exactly the same, so passenger space and cargo space are equal.

The A5 Has A Smoother Ride

The S5 has a very slightly lower ground clearance and a stiffer suspension that can be optioned with Audi’s sport adaptive damping suspension. The result is better cornering around the track, but you’ll be able to feel more of the road’s imperfections. The difference isn’t major, however, and isn’t as noticeable as when you compare the ride quality between the S5 and RS5.

Both Are Available In 3 Trims

New A5s and S5s are available in three trims: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.

Premium Plus and Prestige trims have the same performance as the base Premium trim, but offer some additional luxuries and driving assists. You’ll want to refer to the Audi website for a comprehensive list of differences, but new features like Audi Virtual Cockpit, Audi Pre Sense traffic assist, adaptive cruise control and a Bang and Olufsen sound system are only present on high-end trims.

Conclusion

The decision to go with an A5 or spend more for the S5 should be a simple one based on your needs and preferences.

The A5 is more sensible for all intents and purposes. It’s cheaper, luxurious and faster than you’ll ever need to be going. On the other hand, some will find the extra power you get from the S5’s beastly V6 too hard to pass up on.

Full Comparison Table

2021 Audi A5 Coupe Premium 45 TFSI quattro2021 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T Premium quattro
Performance
Engine2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Hybrid3.0-liter Turbo V6 Gas
Horsepower261 hp @ 6300 rpm349 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque273 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm369 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Transmission7-Speed Automatic8-Speed Automatic
DrivetrainAll-Wheel DriveAll-Wheel Drive
Handling
Steering TypeRack-PinionRack-Pinion
Turning Diameter (ft.)37.737.7
Front SuspensionMulti-LinkMulti-Link
Rear SuspensionMulti-LinkMulti-Link
Front Wheel Size18" x 8.5"18" x 8.5"
Rear Wheel Size18" x 8.5"18" x 8.5"
Front TireP245/40HR18P245/40YR18
Rear TireP245/40HR18P245/40YR18
Fuel Economy
MPG - Combined2723
MPG - City2420
MPG - Hwy3128
Gas Tank Size (gallons)15.315.3
Cruising Range - City (miles)367.2306
Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)474.3428.4
CO2 Emissions, 15K mi/year (tons)6.67.7
Exterior Dimensions
Length (in.)184.9184.9
Height (in.)5454
Max Width (in.)72.772.7
Front Width (in.)62.562.5
Rear Width (in.)61.761.7
Wheelbase (in.)108.8108.8
Weight (lbs.)37153847
Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity44
Cargo Volume109109
Legroom - front (in.)41.341.3
Headroom - front (in.)37.437.4
Shoulder Room - front (in.)55.355.3
Legroom - rear (in.)32.732.7
Headroom - rear (in.)36.136.1
Shoulder Room - rear (in.)50.750.7
Infotainment
BluetoothStandardStandard
Hard Disk DriveNot AvailableNot Available
HD RadioStandardStandard
Satellite RadioOptionalOptional
MP 3 PlayerStandardStandard
Premium Sound SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Wifi HotspotNot AvailableNot Available
Aux Audio InStandardStandard
Entertainment SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Comfort
Head Up DisplayNot AvailableNot Available
Navigation SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Steering Wheel Audio ControlsStandardStandard
Power LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Power Mirror SStandardStandard
A CStandardStandard
Adaptive Cruise ControlNot AvailableNot Available
Automatic ParkingNot AvailableNot Available
Climate ControlStandardStandard
Cooled Front Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Cooled Rear Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Cruise ControlStandardStandard
Hands Free LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Heated Front Seat SStandardStandard
Heated Rear Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Heated Steering WheelOptionalOptional
Keyless EntryStandardStandard
Multi Zone A CStandardStandard
Power Driver SeatStandardStandard
Power Passenger SeatStandardStandard
Remote Engine StartNot AvailableNot Available
Remote Trunk ReleaseNot AvailableNot Available
Seat MemoryOptionalOptional
Universal Garage Door OpenerStandardStandard
Seat MassageNot AvailableStandard
Rear A CStandardStandard
Keyless StartStandardStandard
Navigation From TelematicsNot AvailableNot Available
TelematicsStandardStandard
Interior Trim
Bucket SeatsStandardStandard
Cloth SeatsStandardStandard
Leather SeatsStandardStandard
Leather Steering WheelStandardStandard
Premium Synthetic SeatsStandardStandard
Vinyl SeatsStandardStandard
Woodgrain Interior TrimStandardNot Available
Sun MoonroofStandardStandard
Safety
Back Up CameraStandardStandard
Cross Traffic AlertNot AvailableNot Available
Rear Parking AidOptionalOptional
Blind Spot MonitorOptionalOptional
Lane Departure WarningStandardStandard
Lane Keeping AssistNot AvailableNot Available
ABSStandardStandard
Night VisionNot AvailableNot Available
Tire Pressure MonitorStandardStandard
Brake AssistStandardStandard
Stability ControlStandardStandard
Traction ControlStandardStandard
Airbags
Driver Air BagStandardStandard
Front Head Air BagStandardStandard
Front Side Air BagStandardStandard
Knee Air BagStandardStandard
Passenger Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Head Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Side Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Seatbelt Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Warranty
Basic4 Years / 50,000 Miles4 Years / 50,000 Miles
Corrosion12 Years / Unlimited Miles12 Years / Unlimited Miles
Drivetrain4 Years / 50,000 Miles4 Years / 50,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance4 Years / Unlimited Miles4 Years / Unlimited Miles