2021 Audi S5 Sportback, Track Test

By Shivank Bhatt | on November 15, 2021

If you’re the kind of petrolhead who spends their evenings on car forums, trying to determine the ‘worth’ of cars based on figures and numbers of their spec sheets, chances are that you were hugely unimpressed by the new Audi S5 Sportback when it was launched in the country. That’s because unlike mid-tier BMW M Performance and Mercedes-AMG cars, the Audi’s S division cars are still brought into the country as CBUs, meaning significantly higher sticker prices.

Second, the S5 Sportback, especially in comparison to its main rival, the M340i xDrive, offers less power and performance than the Bimmer. And since it’s an Audi, it’s expected to be slower around corners. All this sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Well, it does but only till the time you’re on the internet. For the moment you get behind the wheel of the S5, all of these preconceived notions are immediately shattered into smithereens.

Sure, the S5 develops less power than the BMW, as the S5’s 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo V6 petrol develops 349bhp in comparison to the BMW’s 382bhp. The torque figure is identical at 500Nm though, albeit the M340i accelerates quicker and pulls harder. And yet, over a lap, the S5 pipped the M340i by 0.7 seconds in our test! It may not mean much in the real world, but in racing terms, it’s a convincing margin.

How did that happen then? First up, the drivetrain. The S5’s engine and 8-speed automatic transmission are simply relentless – there’s no delay in the way the engine delivers the grunt. Sure, on the road, you might catch it napping sometimes, but when you have the go-pedal pinned to the floor on a hot lap, it’s hard to fault this engine-gearbox combo. Add to that its limited-slip rear differential and the impeccable quattro grip, and you’d understand why the S5 sticks to the tarmac like superglue – it’s simply phenomenal!

What’s not to like? Well, the S5 feels a little too bloody-minded in its quest for speed, meaning it’s a little too clean and clinical. It doesn’t entertain foolhardy behaviour by the driver, and it’s really impossible to get its tail out. It lacks the adjustability of the BMW. Or in simple terms, it doesn’t tolerate silly fun. Make no mistake, it’s fast, exciting, and definitely fun, but then it’s a bit too foolproof.

Having said that, let me add that if you’re looking for a do-it-all four-door performance car, the S5 is hard to ignore. It looks like a million bucks. It’s quite comfortable to drive daily. And, most importantly, it doesn’t only focus on performance alone. Instead, the S5 is made for sensible and mature petrolheads with deep pockets, and it’s definitely not for the nerdy rabble-rousers of the internet.

  • 2021 Audi S5 Sportback (Lap Time – 01:07.5)
PARAMETERS POINTS SCORE
QUALITY 5 4.5
COMFORT/SPACE 5 4
REFINEMENT 5 5
DESIGN 5 4
DRIVETRAIN 5 5
RIDE & HANDLING 5 4
PRACTICALITY 5 4
X-FACTOR  20 13
LAP TIME 15 13.4
VALUE FOR MONEY 30 10
TOTAL 100 66.9

Tags: Audi Audi S5

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