2021 isn't turning out to be the normal year everyone hoped it will be, especially after a terrible 2020. Travel is still limited, normal life as we knew it is still a thing of the past and the big three are launching fast sedans. Yes, in a market that is definitely swayed by tall stuff, Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW have all launched fast sedans in the last month or two. Every cloud has a silver lining and if it comes in fast packages like the S5, who are we to complain.
Unlike the fast stuff from its German rivals, the S5 is not an entirely new car. But it is impressive how Audi has managed to make the S5 look fresher and newer with some minor changes. Well, not exactly minor but mostly visual changes like the new LED signature DRLs, new tail lamps, redesigned bumpers and studded grille. The 19-inch alloys help with the wide, low slung stance and the silver wing mirrors and quad tail pipes remind you this is one of the sportier Audis.
If the exterior has become sporty, the interior balances it with understated luxury. Everything is where it should be and it is well put together. The dashboard reminds us of the A4, with the new floating touch screen and the traditional AC controls. I like buttons, so I am happy there isn't another touch screen as seems to be the trend these days. The brushed aluminium touches, Alcantara sprinkled in the cabin and the grey upholstery remind you this isn't the A4. Fit and finish are what you expect in an Audi.
Remember the bit about minor changes, yeah we are done talking about those. Because the one thing that hasn't changed, is the engine. The 354hp, 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 and eight-speed torque-converter automatic are perfectly matched and the 50 kg/m of torque is split 40:60 front to rear with the help of Quattro. There is no shortage of low-end torque and the turbo lag is not bothersome, most of the time. The acceleration will make you grin and even though there is no launch control, I believe the claimed 0-100 time of 4.8 seconds. This car is fast, you are well over 100 before you react to the irritating beep which tells you are over 80km/h.
Mechanicals have not changed much, which means the S5 still handles well and thanks to Quattro there is a lot of grip, always. You could try your luck going fast around a corner and as long as you can manage the understeer, it is going to be fun, mostly. The steering is light and quick too, though some feedback would have been nice. Adaptive dampers are optional and there are five driving modes to choose from Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Individual, and Efficiency. Dynamic is the one to choose if you like deep and raspy V6s.
As much as I loved the acceleration runs, and that is pretty much everyone will talk about, it is the practicality of the S5 which makes it impressive. It is competing mostly with SUVs and while there is no high ground clearance to boast of, there is a decent amount of space. Ride quality is comfortable and two people at the back will not complain. The fastback shape allows for a decent 480 litre boot and there is enough headroom for average Indian height. There is no shortage of creature comforts, with a three-zone climate control, Audi is virtual cockpit digital dials, a large sunroof, a fantastic Bang & Olufsen sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, everything we have come to expect in an luxury car the S5 has it.
What doesn't work in the S5 is favour is the price and while we can blame taxes for it, since the S5 is a CBU, price is an important factor. If you are just looking for a fast sedan, the price difference compared to the BMW 340i will bother you. However, if you are looking for a car which can balance the family is comfort and/or luxury needs along with your need for speed then the S5 is a worthy contender. It is stunning to look at and will stand out in most parking lots, only makes its case stronger.