UPDATE - 01.05.2019
No prizes for guessing that this was in the wind. A month ago, the return of diesel to the S6 and 7 seemed unlikely at best - now, the arrival of Audi's latest oil burning 3.0-litre V6 in the S4 was all but inevitable. So much so that - for now at least - Ingolstadt hasn't even concerned itself with an official press release announcing the fact. Rather the model has appeared on the manufacturer's media website with only a sparse paragraph to explain that, "for the first time ever, the Audi S4 has a V6 diesel under the hood."
By now that engine hardly needs any further introduction. It's the same six-cylinder unit which has found its way into all the larger S-badged siblings, adorned with the same 48v mild-hybrid tech. The good news is that you get fully 347hp and 516lb ft of torque - far more twist than in its petrol predecessor - and the assistance of an electric compressor to deliver it. The bad news is obviously that it is diesel, but we're all going to have to live with that fact.
Still, elsewhere the model remains true to form, meaning you get Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system twinned with an eight-speed automatic, plus the choice of saloon or Avant. Both will manage 155mph, although the latter is 0.1 second slower to 62mph at 4.9 seconds. No word yet on whether or not it will be the only choice of engine in Europe, but if the recent past is anything to go by we'd be surprised if there was TFSI option left on the menu. Prices when we have them.
ORIGINAL STORY - 17.04.2019
With last week's announcement that the S6 and S7 were going (in Europe, at least) news that the S5 is following suit perhaps shouldn't be too surprising. The model is now available with an oil burner for the first time with Audi's 3.0-litre V6 TDI having found its way under the bonnet, where it produces 347hp and 516lb ft of torque between 2,500 and 3,100 rpm. Like its bigger brothers, the S5's motor is assisted an electric compressor to improve performance off the line and a 48-volt 'mild hybrid system' to increase efficiency.
The engine is apparently 19 per cent more efficient than its petrol predecessors, managing up to 45mpg, despite being able to propel the S5 from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds - 4.9 seconds for the Sportback - and on to a limited top speed of 155mph. It also retains a "sporty sound and is very smooth" so that's good, although buyers outside Europe will be treated to the option of a sportier and smoother 3.0-litre TFSI petrol motor, producing 354hp and 370lb ft. Whichever engine is available to you, however, the S5 will come with quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.
The usual array of sophisticated chassis and suspension componentry is all present and correct to ensure the ride and handling are as we've come to expect. For customers looking for more, it can be optionally supplemented with the likes of dynamic steering, electromagnetic damper control and 20-inch wheels with 265/30 tyres - 18-inch items with 245/40 tyres being standard fit. Brakes are correspondingly large and powerful, with 375mm ventilated discs on the front axle gripped by black (or optionally red) six-piston calipers.
Aesthetically the S5 doesn't take any great risks; with Audi being so secure in its design language, the new model is another example of the marque's evolution-not-revolution approach to things. The familiar shoulder line, wide Singleframe grille and LED headlights are all reminiscent of the previous model - and the one before that.
An interior that one-ups its rivals is another Audi calling card, and the S5 looks set to continue the tradition. Sport seats with an embossed S logo are standard, with quilting and a massage function optionally available, there are swathes of black leather and Alcantara, a sport leather steering wheel with multifunction plus and stainless steel pedals and footrest. Audi's class-leading virtual cockpit is available for the 12.3-inch display while an optional head-up display completes the driver-focussed tech.
It may sound like quite a lot of the S5's appeal rests in optional add-ons, then, but it a fair amount of kit that isn't standard to the regular A5 is included in the price. The LED headlights with dynamic turn signals, S sport suspension, 18-inch wheels, power-adjustable, heated Alcantara sport seats and contoured bumpers represent over €7,000 (£6,000) worth of upgrades alone. If all that appeals then the Audi S5 and S5 Sportback with TDI engines will be available on the European market from May this year, with pricing starting in Germany at €65,300 euros (£56,560) and UK prices yet to be confirmed. If it doesn't, then petrol V6 cars can be found in the PH classifieds for over £15,000 as for a decent example like this one, and even a mighty RS5 like this could be within budget for the same price as the newer S model... Where would your money go?