Should Audi have replaced this engine? As you may already know, Audi has now replaced the infamous V8 in the S4 and S5 with the all-new supercharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine.
As you may already know, Audi has now replaced the infamous V8 in the S4 and S5 with the all-new supercharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine. After my nearly all-positive experience with the new 2013 S4, I had come to the conclusion that I could not only live with Audi’s decision to replace the legendary 4.2L with a smaller boosted motor, but I had come to love it. I then thought to myself that perhaps it was time to give the V8 one last go, back to back with the supercharged-6, and see what’s what. I decided to sample one of the last of the V8-powered S5s, a 2012 Audi S5 V8 right after a short stint in a 2013 S5 3.0T.
The first thing you notice about the Audi S5 is its unmistakable styling. The proportions are the closest to perfection you can get for a coupe without getting into the exotics. In fact, even if I factor in exotics, the S5 is still one of the best-looking coupes on the market. Audi does know how to make a wonderful (timeless?)-looking car. The interior is just as well-designed. All the controls on the S5 (just like everything else Audi makes) are easy to access and all materials just right for a premium car. My tester had piano-black finish on the dashboard and centre console which only added to the luxurious yet sporty feel of the S5.
Now with this being an “S”-line car from Audi, it’s hard to go too long without talking about the way it drives. My S5 was equipped with a 6-speed manual which complements the 4.2L V8 beautifully. The clutch is just right, and is surprisingly easy to drive smoothly. Even driving through downtown Toronto in the middle of rush hour is comfortable in this coupe. The best part of this car though is the sound. Even with the new Audis sporting rev-matching DSG transmissions and fancy-schmancy exhausts, they are no match for the sheer sound of this rumbly V8. The harmonics of the S5 alone are in my eyes a reason to buy one. I consider myself to be an audiophile who can’t drive ten minutes without some sort of music on the stereo, but even I found myself turning off the sound system from time to time in the S5 just to listen to the symphony.
This outgoing S5 puts out 354-horsepower. The new one shares its horsepower rating with the S4, at 333. With this car though, the numbers are irrelevant. While it’s not the fastest thing out there, and any BMW M3 or Mercedes-Benz C63 will leave you hanging in their rear-view mirrors, this Audi S5 is neck-in-neck for the sheer feeling of exhilaration that it provides with every stomp on the gas pedal. It makes driving spiritedly seem easy. It’s almost as if the S5 is a professional salsa dancer that is eager to teach you its ways, even if you’re a complete novice.
With the M3 and C63 putting out gobs more horsepower, I could see myself cross-shopping the S5 with a nicely-equipped BMW 335i. Personally though, rather than go with the new 3.0T on the Audi, I’d try to find myself a leftover V8. I’m saying this even considering the horrendous fuel economy (I averaged 15.1L/100km on premium fuel). You see, I’m completely okay with that though. While I generally prefer cars that provide an engaging driving experience while being relatively decent on gas, I surprisingly found myself not caring during my time with the S5. Call me cheesy and whatnot, but trust me when I say that the feeling the S5 V8 gives under wide-open acceleration is almost heartwarming. Few cars can match that.
So, should Audi have replaced this engine? In short, I don’t believe so. Now, save for the difference of two doors, the S4 and S5 are absolutely identical. Same powertrain, same horsepower, they even look similar. Sure, the same argument can be used for the BMW 3-series coupe/sedan, but I feel as though there should be some differentiation within the Audi lineup. If I had it my way, the S4 would come with the DSG and supercharged 3.0T engine (stupidly given the “T” designation for heritage purposes). The S5 should soldier on with this setup only; V8 and 6-speed manual. I suppose it wouldn’t be the end of the world to have an optional DSG-box as well. Unfortunately, on the V8 coupe, the only non-manual option is a conventional 6-speed automatic. The Cabriolet is available with the “flappy-paddle” box.
I truly do feel that completely doing away with this absolutely mind-blowing engine is a mistake on Audi’s part. It’s just that good. Plus, with Quattro all-wheel-drive, this S5 is nothing short of an all-around perfect car for this continent. Long live the V8!