Audi S5

    For those who enjoy the sound of big V-8 but aren’t looking for a muscle car, the Audi S5 is your match made in Ingolstadt. Sleek and understated, the S5 coupe drips sophistication from every angle. The big-lunged V-8 makes this two-door a startlingly rapid car, helped by Audi’s silken 7-speed double-clutch transmission. With its muted steering and stiff-jointed ride, the S5 lacks real driver engagement. It’s at its best as a fast and refined cruiser, rather than a cut-and-thrust racer like Audi’s RS models. Its continent-covering credentials are enhanced by its excellent interior refinement and the all-weather sure-footedness of its quattro four-wheel drive. And there’s the added benefit of two snug rear seats—and an accommodating trunk to swallow everyone’s weekend luggage.

    Pros: Sexy styling with all-wheel-drive stability.
    Cons: Performance does not stack up against the BMW M3.

    Photo by ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG
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