The S5 is a driver’s car for which all manner of excuses can be made explaining why it doesn’t quite raise the pulse like a great sports coupé should.

Unlike some of its rivals, the Audi is designed for a particular place in the performance hierarchy and defined in relation to a car that doesn’t yet exist: the next RS5.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Broad-batted sports coupé does everything but get its claws into you

The S5 also serves a dynamic brief that introduces inevitable compromise into its capacity to entertain: because it must also cosset, envelop, oblige and reassure more convincingly than any of its competitors.

And sure enough, the S5 is a fine grand tourer that’ll look after you come what may.

Our judgement of it is as much the result of how we respond to Audi’s particular vision as it is how effectively we think that vision has been realised.

But given the other options available, our £50,000 would be spent on a sports coupé of greater character and excitement and with more rewarding and less remote handling than this.

The story, familiar as it is where Audi’s S-badged cars are concerned, is that the S5 is car whose abilities we’re left regarding with a lot of admiration and respect but little lasting affection.

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