The luxury car market is all about hierarchy. Various letters and numbers signify engine displacement, separate coupe and sedan bodystyles, and differentiate between “sport” and “luxury” models. Luxury automakers’ lineups thus fall into organized structures of size, prestige, and performance. In the midst of all this, Audi’s “S” designation finds an interesting middle ground, as exemplified by the 2014 Audi S5.

Audi offers three versions of its midsize coupe: the A5, with a 220-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder; this S5, with a 333-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6; and the RS 5 with a 450-hp, 4.2-liter V-8. That’s a pretty clear structure, but it doesn’t quite fit in with what’s going on with its closest competitors, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the BMW 4 Series.

That’s because the 2014 Audi S5 brings something a little more special to the table than the BMW 435i and Mercedes-Benz C350. Those other two German coupes offer similar amounts of power as the S5 (300 and 302 hp, respectively), but still fall into the mainstream C-Class and 4 Series lineups rather than being designated AMG or M cars. Of course, the S5 doesn’t nearly match the 425-hp BMW M4 or the 451-hp Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe, but that territory is reserved for the RS 5, which falls under the umbrella of Audi’s Quattro GMBh performance arm that competes with the M and AMG divisions.

For people like us, the 2014 Audi S5 occupies just about the perfect space between the mainstream A5 and the bonkers RS 5. Its supercharged V-6 is responsive and satisfying throughout the rev range, but is subdued enough that it won’t make you feel (or sound) like an idiot on your daily commute. The suspension is firm and tight through the twisties, but not punishing over rough freeways and city streets. And with its larger wheels, more aggressive front end, Alcantara seats, and flat-bottom steering wheel, the 2014 Audi S5 also looks special enough inside and out to warrant the roughly $13,000 extra cost over its mainstream A5 sibling (in base price). Credit Audi for taking the alternative route with this just-right S5.

2014 Audi S5 Specifications

Base price$52,895

Price as tested$58,845

Engine3.0L supercharged V-6

Power333 hp

Torque325 lb-ft

Transmission6-speed manual


Cargo capacity12.2 cu ft

Fuel economy17/26 mpg (city/highway)

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