Audi A5 vs S5
Is The V6 Worth It?
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
- Body Type
- 3,715 lbs
- MPG (City/Hwy)
- 24 / 31
2021 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T Premium quattro
- Body Type
- 3,847 lbs
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 quattro||2021 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T Premium quattro|
|Engine||2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Hybrid||3.0-liter Turbo V6 Gas|
|Horsepower||261 hp @ 6300 rpm||349 hp @ 6300 rpm|
|Torque||273 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm||369 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm|
|Transmission||7-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic|
|Drivetrain||All-Wheel Drive||All-Wheel Drive|
|Turning Diameter (ft.)||37.7||37.7|
|Front Wheel Size||18" x 8.5"||18" x 8.5"|
|Rear Wheel Size||18" x 8.5"||18" x 8.5"|
|MPG - Combined||27||23|
|MPG - City||24||20|
|MPG - Hwy||31||28|
|Gas Tank Size (gallons)||15.3||15.3|
|Cruising Range - City (miles)||367.2||306|
|Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)||474.3||428.4|
|CO2 Emissions, 15K mi/year (tons)||6.6||7.7|
|Max Width (in.)||72.7||72.7|
|Front Width (in.)||62.5||62.5|
|Rear Width (in.)||61.7||61.7|
|Legroom - front (in.)||41.3||41.3|
|Headroom - front (in.)||37.4||37.4|
|Shoulder Room - front (in.)||55.3||55.3|
|Legroom - rear (in.)||32.7||32.7|
|Headroom - rear (in.)||36.1||36.1|
|Shoulder Room - rear (in.)||50.7||50.7|
|Hard Disk Drive||Not Available||Not Available|
|MP 3 Player||Standard||Standard|
|Premium Sound System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wifi Hotspot||Not Available||Not Available|
|Aux Audio In||Standard||Standard|
|Entertainment System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Head Up Display||Not Available||Not Available|
|Navigation System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Steering Wheel Audio Controls||Standard||Standard|
|Power Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Mirror S||Standard||Standard|
|Adaptive Cruise Control||Not Available||Not Available|
|Automatic Parking||Not Available||Not Available|
|Cooled Front Seat S||Not Available||Not Available|
|Cooled Rear Seat S||Not Available||Not Available|
|Hands Free Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Front Seat S||Standard||Standard|
|Heated Rear Seat S||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Steering Wheel||Optional||Optional|
|Multi Zone A C||Standard||Standard|
|Power Driver Seat||Standard||Standard|
|Power Passenger Seat||Standard||Standard|
|Remote Engine Start||Not Available||Not Available|
|Remote Trunk Release||Not Available||Not Available|
|Universal Garage Door Opener||Standard||Standard|
|Seat Massage||Not Available||Standard|
|Rear A C||Standard||Standard|
|Navigation From Telematics||Not Available||Not Available|
|Leather Steering Wheel||Standard||Standard|
|Premium Synthetic Seats||Standard||Standard|
|Woodgrain Interior Trim||Standard||Not Available|
|Back Up Camera||Standard||Standard|
|Cross Traffic Alert||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear Parking Aid||Optional||Optional|
|Blind Spot Monitor||Optional||Optional|
|Lane Departure Warning||Standard||Standard|
|Lane Keeping Assist||Not Available||Not Available|
|Night Vision||Not Available||Not Available|
|Tire Pressure Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Driver Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Side Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Knee Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Passenger Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Side Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Seatbelt Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Basic||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||12 Years / Unlimited Miles||12 Years / Unlimited Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years / Unlimited Miles||4 Years / Unlimited Miles|