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Photos: 2008 Audi S5

With its refined cabin tech, very nice performance, and a beautiful design, the 2008 Audi S5 excels in most areas, only being dragged down by poor mileage.

CNET Reviews staff

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Audi launched its A5 and S5 earlier this year in Europe. But in the U.S., it's bringing the S5 in ahead of its more mundane counterpart.
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The S5 is the sport-tuned version of the A5, featuring a bigger engine and sport suspension.
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The S5 uses Audi's new trick, first seen in the R8, of putting a strip of LEDs around the headlight casing to serve as a parking light.
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The S5 gets pushed along by this 354 horsepower 4.2-liter V-8. It's powerful, but not at all economical.
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The exterior design is one of the best we've ever seen. The S5 has the perfect refined coupe look, with its gentle belt-line running the length of the car.
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The S5 is a 2+2 seater with a trunk instead of a hatchback. Four big exhaust pipes are another performance cue.
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The switchgear seems of high quality, but we didn't like some of the plastic panels in the center stack and console.
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With its standard Quattro all-wheel-drive, the S5 sticks to the corners. We experienced no sliding with it, but the body did lean in the corners.
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A six speed manual is the only transmission choice. The shifter has a longer throw than we would like, but it has a nice, precise feel going into gear. Because of the V-8, Audi's DSG is not an option in this car.
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The console-mounted MMI controls are just behind the shifter, making them easy to reach while driving.
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The resolution of the navigation system's maps is very good, as is most of the navigation system.
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While we found the navigation system very useful, it doesn't break any new ground for Audi. For example, it still has all the standard POI categories, without going to retail shops.
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This rotary controller can be accessed for satellite radio, CDs, and iPod music, but we found it more of a novelty than of any particular use.
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The in-dash six disc changer plays MP3 CDs, and song information is shown on the car's LCD.
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The optional iPod integration includes a cable mounted in the glovebox, with a convenient shelf for an iPod.
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With an iPod connected, you can access music by artist, album, genre, playlist, or track.
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The Bang & Olufsen audio system includes a surround setting. GALA controls automatic volume compensation.
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The audio system uses 14 speakers and a 500 watt amplifier.
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Audi and BMW offer the best Bluetooth cell phone integration we've seen, with access to cell phone books.
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Audi's rear view camera is excellent, with lines that curve when you turn the wheel, showing where the car will end up when you reverse.

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