If supercars are haute couture, and little SUVs are like an H&M collaboration for the masses, big sedans and coupes are the mainline for any luxury automaker. These are the automotive equivalent of Hugo Boss suits or the Lacoste polo: dependable but still alluring. As timeless as they are immediately essential. Always on trend. This is where you’ll find the most thoughtful design, the best-tailored upholstery, the latest technology — and it’ll all be in a vehicle you can drive everyday.
These cars are the hardest to get right because these are the cars we live in. We notice every detail that’s slightly off, every cupholder prone to spilling a morning Americano, every missed stitch on the leather gear lever. If the touchscreen is sluggish or the interface is cluttered, it will slowly drive you mad. In this rarefied price bracket, there are no excuses.
If the exterior design whispers, the new interior grabs your attention. This is Audi’s strength, where its leadership on interface and material quality can come to the fore. It’s the little details: the way the air vents are invisibly integrated into the dash, the way the horizontal lines create a spacious, calm environment, the fit and finish of all these pieces. Many of these design ideas were first seen on the R8 supercar, but here they are tailored for daily use. There’s no clutter, no gimmicks. The trackpad is useful for inputting destinations or navigating a list of songs. The cupholders, by the way, will hold any size of Americano securely, with a gentle grip.
Mechanically, Audi hasn’t been shy about swapping in new engines, trying to perfect their flagship coupe. First the S5 came with a V8, which was replaced by a supercharged V6, and for 2018 it has a newly developed V6, boosted with a single turbocharger nestled inside the two banks of cylinders. It’s got more power and torque, and a throatier sound. The gearbox, too, has seen similar evolutionary improvements, going from six, to seven, to eight speeds. The shifts are smoother now, and it’s better able to keep the engine running in its sweet spot.