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2008 Audi S5 Road Test

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Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned... again, and again. Every time I have sat behind the wheel of Audi's new S5 sports coupe, I have sinned. How can a weak mortal resist such a temptation when the car overflows with qualities and sex appeal?

In just a few hours (I've been unfortunate to try out the S5 for only three tiny days), I regularly committed sins of envy, greed and sloth.

Racy and powerful, the S5 is quite a head-turner.

Envy

Every time you look at the Audi S5, you can't help but envy the lucky folks who can actually afford to own one. The sportier variant of the new A5 (which is based on the new A4 platform) is without question one of the raciest and most spectacular designs on the road.

It might not have the unique and outrageously sporty looks of the R8 supercar, but it borrows just enough elements to be equally attractive. Among them are the corporate oversized front grille and the acclaimed Audi Space Frame.

Another eye-catching feature is the wave-shaped series of LEDs at the base of the headlight clusters, which serve as daytime running lights. They also make the sleek S5 look like a frowning beast on the prowl.

Completing the package is a refined interior that further highlights the premium grand touring personality of this Audi. Materials are rich, soft and matched to convey a modern feel.

However, as much as I try, I still can't get used to Audi's Multimedia Interface (MMI). Almost a carbon copy of the horrendous i-Drive from BMW, this system is linked to an amazing sound unit, but the complexity of the controls and menus is enough to send a driver mad. You'd better have a passenger to take care of it.

Greed
Greed drives you to do more and want more. That's exactly how I felt at the helm of the S5. After all, there's a 354-hp 4.2L V8 under the hood (the same that powers the S4). This engine benefits from direct fuel injection technology. The slightest dip of the throttle spurs the monster and propels the car like a rocketship. And it's all backed by a sweet-sounding exhaust note.

The 354 horsepower are sent to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission.