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I found myself with a couple of hours to kill today after getting my Sport CVT cleaned, clayed, and polished so I called in at the local Audi dealership to take a look at the much lauded S5.

My original plan was just to take a look inside one but the salesman insisted that we take it out for a spin - no problem, so off we went.

First impression of the cabin was that it's adequately spacious for a coupe, but nothing like the Accord - but then I didn't expect it to be. Now I do love coupes, but immediately on getting into the S5 I was reminded of the first big failing they have - the huge doors. Giving other parked vehicles door kisses is almost unavoidable as you swing that hangar door sized portal open, almost as big a pain is how far back you have to reach to grab the seatbelt. Ok, on to the cabin proper - the S5 follows the trend of all high end vehicles these days, because it seemed like the thing was equipped with every electronic detection and warning device known to man, it was positively distracting what with all the bings and bongs that were going off - I asked the salesman to shut them all down (or as many as he could) while I tried to figure out how to turn the radio off (I couldn't - he had to). One other thing, it was only 95 degrees in Phoenix today as we have some of those white fluffy things in the sky that we see about 3 times a year, so the Audi's AC wasn't put to any great test, but I had it cranked all the way up and it did not blow as cold as the Honda's unit did. Acceptable yes, but not as efficient.

Ok, Starship Enterprise mode disabled, now let's see if it drives like a starship. I chose my own route (this is in Phoenix) down I-10 and then double back past the casino on the new 2 mile straight road through Indian land that doesn't get policed. First the brakes, they were ok, adequate certainly but impressive no. I didn't stomp on them hard but I was confident they would stop me - compared to the Accord however they were definitely inferior. The pedal feel was slightly mushy and the "bite" that my Sport's pads have simply wasn't there. Maybe they are more durable under severe abuse, but for every day driving I will take the brakes on the Honda every time.

Then the handling - I really did like the cropped steering wheel, it had a great feel to it and is one (albeit minor) area where it scored over the Accord for me. Cornering was good, but it didn't seem quite as sharp as the Honda, that really surprised me because roadtest magazine writers go crazy about the S5's handling - I myself did not.

Finally the performance - according to mein host that 3.0 Turbo V6 puts out 333hp, so I gently coaxed it for the first 4 miles letting it warm through, but even driving gently I couldn't help but notice the lag when pulling away from a Stop sign, or when accelerating from a trailing throttle in any road condition, it was as if the first half inch of pedal travel was just "pad" - coming from the near instant on/off of the Sport's go pedal I was really surprised, I know all about turbo lag but this engine has 6 cylinders and 3 liters of capacity, so low down "instant" pull should be there without the turbo - it wasn't really bad, but it was inferior to the Honda's pick up - yes that's right, the Accord's 189hp engine feels notably more responsive than the S5's 333hp engine, there I said it. The one thing I really did like was the transmission and the engine note, both really good, clear wins over the Honda. Back to the engine - I floored the gas pedal at 30mph and had the S5 up to 110mph and it got there remarkably quickly, obviously high end performance is light years ahead of the Accord's abilities, but I would say only when the speed gets past 50 or 60, up until then the Audi may be faster on paper but the real world difference would only begin to show itself at higher speeds, but the S5's engine is definitely in its element when pushed and is without doubt a real performer - even so it wasn't the sort of "pushed back in your seat" fast, it was just "fast".

I thanked the salesman - who didn't hassle me, either he was cool and being laid back was his selling tactic, or else he could tell that I didn't much care for it - I even had to ask him for a business card.

So I jumped straight in the Accord and drove the exact same route - the brakes were sharper, the handling about equal, engine response superior, cabin much more pleasant to be in, no annoying beeps and bongs etc etc etc

The one big difference, the S5 stickered at $65,000, so call it $70,000 after tax and add-ons, and I just placed it second to a car that I drove off the lot for $25,000.

I didn't go to the Audi dealership with a pre-planned objective to trash the S5, I honestly expected to be blown away, after all it costs almost 3 times as much as an Accord Sport and I have no ego to dent, I'm sure there are better cars than the Accord, I'm just trying to find one. I expect the S5 to be better than a Sport, a lot better - but for me at least, it simply wasn't. If someone offered me an Accord Sport CVT or an S5 I would take the S5, I'm not completely stupid - but not if I was paying for it. So yeah, the Accord Sport really is THAT good, believe it.
 

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RE: Finally the performance - according to mein host that 3.0 Turbo V6 puts out 333hp....

The 333 HP 3.0 TFSI engine in the S5 is supercharged, not turbocharged.

Thanks for posting your review.
 

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I have a coupe and I hate the large doors. My next car will most likely be four door.

Surprised about the handling comments.
 

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I’m very glad you like your CVT Accord. As Graycar already mentioned, the S5 is supercharged and not turbo charged and therefore has no turbo lag. Also an S5 is 4.5 seconds to 60 mph compared to 7.6 seconds for your CVT Accord. I can’t fathom why you claim the CVT feels more responsive.

As for handling, I’m actually with you. The S5 is a heavy car designed for composed handling. I can understand why the S5 didn’t impress you with razor sharp handling; that is not its goal. A very good friend of mine has a 2014 RS5 (AWD, 450 hp, 8,500 rpm V8, 7spd DCT, etc.) Magnificent car! But in some ways that car is so refined it is not exciting. I’ve driven many V8 Mustangs that were more fun.

Managing expectations can be a major problem for high end cars. When I see what Honda does with a $30,000 6-6, I expect huge improvements in dedicated high-cost performance cars. But the marginal gains rarely match the marginal costs. In fact ratio of more money to added fun is very poor. I suspect that is what happened to you. It’s not that the S5 is a boring car. It’s just that it didn’t meet your expectations. You expected to be blown away and weren’t.
 

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Managing expectations can be a major problem for high end cars. When I see what Honda does with a $30,000 6-6, I expect huge improvements in dedicated high-cost performance cars. But the marginal gains rarely match the marginal costs. In fact ratio of more money to added fun is very poor.
Bingo. When you ask yourself are you getting $20K, $30K, or $40K more car than a loaded $30K Accord V6 Coupe the answer is no. You have to really step up to another level before the added cost makes sense. It demonstrates the greatness of the Honda J series V6.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I’m very glad you like your CVT Accord. As Graycar already mentioned, the S5 is supercharged and not turbo charged and therefore has no turbo lag.

Managing expectations can be a major problem for high end cars. When I see what Honda does with a $30,000 6-6, I expect huge improvements in dedicated high-cost performance cars. But the marginal gains rarely match the marginal costs. In fact ratio of more money to added fun is very poor. I suspect that is what happened to you. It’s not that the S5 is a boring car. It’s just that it didn’t meet your expectations. You expected to be blown away and weren’t.
Correction on the turbo/supercharger deal, but the engine didn't impress me from a standing start or trailing throttle. That's true about managing expectations on higher end cars, I saw an article somewhere about midmarket cars being much closer to high end cars these days and I think it's true.

There was an S4 parked next to the S5 and that may have been a better comparison but I hear so much about the S5 that I had to try one out - it will be the last time though.

The Audi dealer has a Mercedes dealer right next door, so maybe when the C400 4Matic coupe comes out and I find myself at a loose end....

As it is I didn't much care for the Audi, but I have to admit there's a lot more cachet in rolling up in an S5 than an Accord.
 

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Correction on the turbo/supercharger deal, but the engine didn't impress me from a standing start or trailing throttle. That's true about managing expectations on higher end cars, I saw an article somewhere about midmarket cars being much closer to high end cars these days and I think it's true.
Performance and feature content wise yes, midmarket cars have come a long way. But where these high end cars shine is in material quality. They use thicker gauge steel, better plastics, richer paints, stronger clear coats. There's nothing like a paint job on the S5, its just gorgeous. next to the anemic paint job on our Accords.
 

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Performance and feature content wise yes, midmarket cars have come a long way. But where these high end cars shine is in material quality. They use thicker gauge steel, better plastics, richer paints, stronger clear coats. There's nothing like a paint job on the S5, its just gorgeous. next to the anemic paint job on our Accords.
This. Performance wise, it's nice but doesn't blow me away compared the the Accord Coupe V6, but there are nicer materials on the interior for sure.
 

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Wait, your Sport does 0-60 in 7.6 seconds has faster throttle response than an S5 which does 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.

DAFUQ. Did you go to Penske Audi in West Covina?
 

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1. It's not a fair comparison.
2. If you really wanted to compare a car of the same size, you should've test driven an S4. I can guarantee you that it would've changed your perception of the Audi brand. My friend used to own one and that car was just out of this world in terms of handling, power and stance.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
1. It's not a fair comparison.
2. If you really wanted to compare a car of the same size, you should've test driven an S4. I can guarantee you that it would've changed your perception of the Audi brand. My friend used to own one and that car was just out of this world in terms of handling, power and stance.
Kinda wish I had now, but I suspect I'd still struggle to justify the price difference.

What can I say, I like the Accord, but I do have great hopes for the tenth gen Civic Si.

One other thing, I can't speak to the quality of the paint on the S5 but I certainly agree that the paint on the Honda is like rice paper, the hood of my Accord looks like it has acne.
 

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Dad has a new S5. Drove it the other day. No contest. Fast at any speed. Handling is definitely better but not unreal. If I has the cash I'd have one in a minute.
 

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Do you think maybe you expected too much from the "S" badging?

I think Audi confuses consumers with that . BMW M is on a whole nother level in terms of feel/fun factor.

I don't think those audis are really deserving of the badging. The RS's on the other hand are a different animal.
 

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Also an S5 is 4.5 seconds to 60 mph compared to 7.6 seconds for your CVT Accord.
Is the S5 one of those cars with a special launcher function?

I can’t fathom why you claim the CVT feels more responsive.

As for handling, I’m actually with you. The S5 is a heavy car ...
I've never driven an S5. But heavy cars often don't feel as responsive as they really are. (Converse is also true. 1980s subcompacts felt responsive despite their pathetic little engines.)
 

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The Shadow displaced Bug Magnet
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But heavy cars often don't feel as responsive as they really are. (Converse is also true. 1980s subcompacts felt responsive despite their pathetic little engines.)
Bingo.
 
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