2021 Audi S5 Sportback: It’s a cliché so common that it makes me chuckle every time I hear it.
The Audi S5 Sportback is a car that looks fast standing still. It looks so fast, Audi has resisted giving it fancy names like Azure this, Regal this, Sublime that or Magnetic this. Turbo Blue was the name it chose to use.
2021 Audi S5 Sportback Design
Since its inception, the S5 Sportback has been available in a similar form for several years. A few cosmetic updates for the 2021 edition have made things more interesting.
The single-piece grille is a show stopper and provides a great lesson in how big grills can be done right. The honeycomb-shaped matte black grille has matte silver inserts. The blade surrounds for the air inlets are matte aluminium.
The car can be ordered in an all-black styling package that removes the chrome and brushed aluminum finishes. Matrix LEDs with adaptive lighting and dynamic turn signals are the headlights, which are Matrix LEDs. These are the original swiping types that Audi invented.
The profile features 5-spoke 19-inch rims, which replace the 18-inch inchers from the old version. They’re also running fat low-profile rubber – 255 section Bridgestone Potenza’s with 35 mm sidewall height.
This is a strong statement of intent. But not on the Gurgaon roads where I drive this car. Your good wheels will take a beating if you bring them here. This is a very stylish profile, despite all the bickering.
This Audi series has a strong shoulder line that brings out a lot character. The fastback shape is also a classic that doesn’t get criticized. It is easy to see from a distance and enjoy it for long periods of time.
Audi’s brochure states that a large rear spoiler enhances the car’s aesthetics. But when you go looking for it, you will find a lip spoiler. It’s not what you expected, but it’s a good thing.
This makes it a great looking back. It is balanced by the fastback shape, and combined with the stylish LED tail lights, rear diffuser, and quad pipes, it’s one of the most impressive in the industry.
2021 Audi S5 Sportback Interiors and Features
The inside is a bit more subtle. It’s less flashy and bold than it appears on the outside. It feels more like a completely different car than what you thought it was.
This design is a bit outdated due to the horizontal layout of the vents and general layout. The quality of the materials is what saves the day. The surfaces are smooth and feel great to the touch.
The doors and dashboard get matte Aluminium inlays. This option can also be used in black, but it seems that this scheme works well in there.
The seat covers are a mix of Alcantara and grey leather, and the handles and switches are finished in Alcantara. This is a great attempt to achieve a symbolic balance between A5’s sedate A5 model and the RS5’s monstrous RS5.
Alcantara is synonymous with the luxurious touch of leather and the sporty aggression. It is subtle and could be overlooked by the undiscerning eye.
The highlight of the new multimedia display is the 10.1-inch size. It has a touch screen interface and the rotary knob has been removed. It is supposed to run 10 times faster than the old interface, and I have no reason to doubt it.
It feels fast, and the display is clear and crisp. It supports both Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay for smartphone connectivity.
You can also access the different driving modes through the screen. Audi retained the buttons and knobs for the three-zone climate control.
This makes it much easier to adjust the temperature and blower settings while driving.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is available to the driver. You can play with the layouts of the dials, adjust the screen size, toggle through information menus, and change the orientation of the navigation screen.
I settled on the default layout, where the dials are large and easy to read. The flat-bottom steering type is used. The paddle shifters are located on the wheel and not the column. It feels great to hold and is nicely wrapped.
You can scroll through the menus, telephony and cruise control. These switches are located on a separate stalk.
These seats have a lot of adjustability including 4-way adjustable Lumbar Support. This makes them a great place to be, especially when you’re out on the road. However, the memory function is only available for the driver’s chair.
There is enough space at the back for the driver to rest his/her knees. While the back-recline angle works well, and under-thigh support is sufficient, I would prefer a longer seat.
The real problem is the lack of headroom for taller people. To prevent my head from rubbing against the headliner, I was 6’2″.
The optional Bang & Olufsen 19 speaker 755 watt system is available for entertainment. It was fitted to our test vehicle and packs quite a punch. The sound separation is excellent and the bass is clear.
2021 Audi S5 Sportback Motor and Performance
However, that is not the only sound I am attracted to. The thing that interests me most is making the 3.0-litre turbo V6 petrol motor sing. This unit produces 354PS of maximum power at 5,400 to 6,400 RPM and 500Nm torque at 1,370 to 4,500 RPM.
The unit is paired with an 8-speed torque converter gearbox. The engine starts up with a gentle roar and then settles into idle mode after you press the starter button.
Five driving modes are available – auto (efficiency, comfort, dynamic, dynamic, and individual), which can be accessed via the touch screen or the physical buttons located below the HVAC controls. Efficiency mode is very quiet.
The throttle response is very slow and the gearbox is quite lax. The accelerator stays in the same gear when you pin it, allowing the torque wave speed to remain constant. Comfort mode makes the gearbox more sensitive to changes in throttle position.
Part throttle will cause the gearbox to upshift at approximately 2,000 rpm, and downshifts will follow a little hesitation when you pin your throttle. The steering in dynamic mode is also quite relaxed, but not completely direct.
Dynamic mode is where the car’s true potential shines. Dynamic mode has a louder exhaust note, a more sensitive throttle and a longer gearbox. Even though the car does not have adaptive dampers, the suspension is still more taut.
The steering feels more alive in dynamic mode. It is direct and accurate, but the steering lacks feel. You don’t know what the tyres do. This can make the experience somewhat dull.
The engine sound is what makes the experience memorable. Although it doesn’t get too loud, it is enough to keep the car moving. Even in mild driving modes, the engine still sounds great so you can always feel the car’s engagement.
The upshifts are smooth and quick when you push the car to the redline. It’s easy to use and the power delivery is linear. The claimed acceleration time from 0 to 100 mph is 4.8 seconds, and the top speed is 250 kmph.
2021 Audi S5 Sportback Ride and Handling
The quattro All-Wheel Drive is what defines the car’s handling characteristics. It has a self-locking differential which splits torque between the front axle and rear in a 40/60 ratio.
The car’s handling is slightly rear biased. Turning in a corner is fast and you can maintain a good speed through the apex. Even with traction control turned off, the rear of the S5 tucks in nicely and the S5 remains solidly planted throughout exit.
Bridgestone Potenzas are low-profile and offer great grip. However, it is difficult to break traction. There was a slight squeal, but it was not at its absolute limit. It’s an enjoyable car to drive fast and casually.
It feels very stiff in dynamic mode, so even though it can get crowded on poor surfaces it is never uncomfortable. However, you need to be aware of potholes and big bumps.
India’s ground clearance isn’t altered so be careful when driving over speed breakers. The result is that body roll is minimal and the S5 feels tight around the driver. Comfort mode is more comfortable and this is the best mode to leave the car in when you are in town.
The suspension can be upgraded with adaptive dampers, but the car that we are currently driving doesn’t have them. You can adjust the steering feel and exhaust note in the individual modes, but not the suspension.
2021 Audi S5 Sportback First Impressions
The S5 Sportback is an extremely capable, yet friendly car. It is easy to handle and won’t scare away buyers who want more performance in an everyday sedan. The 465-litres of cargo space makes it very practical and provides relative comfort for four people.
It is somewhat expensive at Rs 79 lakh, ex-showroom. This is perhaps the only weakness, considering the competition. The new BMW M340i is priced at Rs 16 lakhs less than the S5 Sportback.
While the body styles may differ, the Beemer has more power, dimensions, and rear-wheel drive. This makes it a more attractive choice for the more passionate driver.
The S5 is an easy car to live with and is worth considering if you are looking to make heads turn.
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