Only compared to the decidedly more evocative Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe does the svelte S5 come across as a little frumpy. It takes parking the new S5 next to the old one to spot the details. A tweaked profile. A more pronounced belt line. A power-dome hood. Narrower A-pillars. The new S5 is different, but the same, in that grand Audi tradition.
Underhood, the differences are again evolutionary. The original S5 featured a 4.2-liter, naturally aspirated V8. A few years back, that was replaced by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, which in turn has been supplanted in the 2017 S5 by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The turbo, a twin-scroll unit nestled between the cylinder banks, helps the direct-injection engine make a healthy 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. That power, 21 hp and 44 lb-ft more than its predecessor, is channelled through Quattro all-wheel drive.
That theme continues inside. You won’t see any rough edges in here. The materials are high quality stuff put together with Teutonic precision and detail.
It’s mostly A4 gear of course, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The 8.3-inch infotainment screen standing proud of the dash looks wrong at first but you soon forget that as you discover how easy it is to see and use.
At this price, you’re nowhere near bespoke automotive tailoring. You’re still buying off the rack, but it’s designer-label garb. Opting for this outgoing model would mean settling for less power (the new A5 will use the A4’s 252-hp 2.0-liter), an aging layout for the handsomely trimmed cabin, and no access to the latest advanced safety technologies. Most of the latter features won’t come standard even on the new car, though, and for those who are likely to skip that section of the options list, the 2016 model offers a lot of rewards both as a driving machine and a piece of rolling sculpture. We’d not argue with anyone who chose the BMW or Mercedes alternatives, but the A5 still strikes our eye as a pretty thing to consider.