Cooley's Logbook: 2013 Audi S5

The S5 is now a V6 car and, to my surprise, smaller than an A4. But it's big enough to house a ton of tech.

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A number of Audi purists (and a couple of intenders around the office) groaned when I showed them the new S5 with its V6 . And it turns out they are on to something. Not that the car isn't responsive, but there is a point where the power flattens out right when you think it will keep coming. You actually have to be good about selecting gears and reading the situation ahead. Welcome to the new downsized world -- and to actually driving, not just throttle pressing.

As a number of you were quick to point out, I misspoke that the V6 in this car is turbocharged -- the "T" in "TFSI" on the engine cover is just nonsense, and in fact the engine has a supercharger bolted on top, which I should have noticed. Having a blower helps the power come on without lag to speak of, but doesn't do much to fatten up a torque curve that could use a couple milkshakes.

This is the first review I've done of an Audi with connected Google services in which I also knew the price of that connection after the complimentary 6 months times out. After that, it's $30 a month, which seems fair as a data plan goes, but not when you realize how little you will use it. It's not like this is a smartphone or hot spot: it's a car that has its main mission outside acquiring data. Yes, you can use the in-car hot spot to connect a bunch of passenger laptops and tablets, but I defy you to do that without an uprising since you'll be slicing an already lame 3G connection too thin.

Overall, it's a very cool and stylish car that scores a CNET Editors' Choice but, in my book, it costs just a bit too much for two useable seats when done up CNET Style: around $67,000.

About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

 

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