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Dilemma - S5 or A5 3.0 TDI

25673 Views 130 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  S5mons
I have been researching for a number of weeks comparing the S5 to the A5 TDI, I really would like to get other peoples opinions particularly from owners. I have test driven the 3.0TDI manual, very impressed with the torque, effortless pull and comfort level. For me manual is pointless 1st gear is used up too quickly, so it would be an auto with the TDI.

I have around 25k to spend +/-3k, my heart says S5 but the head is saying TDI. I only do 6k a year so this is really a toy, occasional trips to cornwall etc. Used only 6mths a year...
Fuel – on paper the S5 does 23mpg combined, compared to 40mpg with the TDI, what are peoples real life figures? Is the sound of the V8 to hard to resist putting the footdown?
Tyres – how many miles do you get out of a set? Average Price per corner?
Servicing – my budget will get me an S5 with around 50k, how much will servicing be?
Anything to look out for with the S5 – heard some like the taste of oil?
Comments are welcome...
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Hi Mart, a nice dilemma.

So I looked at both (all be it the V6 S5)

In performance terms yes the S5 has more power but it also is more thirsty. Can you get a back 2 back test drive at all?

For your mileage go with the S5 as it wont hurt that much in fuel costs. But when you do see an open road the right foot will get just is to tempting!!

The 3.0tdi tho is a brill engine with bags if torque.

Whichever way you go, I am sure you will be pleased. If your heart says S and head says 6k miles...go with S :)

With regards tyres my guess is both will £200+ a corner and servicing, unfortunately no idea. (not v helpful....sorry)
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I agree, with your mileage go S.

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personally, if an a5 3.0tdi S-line existed in the USA, i would never have bought a s5. you can take that as you wish.
There have been threads on this before I think.

For my 2p worth I think the main loss with a 3.0Tdi Quattro is the wonderful V8 noise.

Back in 2008 I nearly moved from Audi (considered used 911 and Aston) but decided against it in Recession UK. Went on to look at S5 and borrowed a loaded one for the weekend. I absolutely loved it apart from the 14mpg and potential for high depreciation. Dealer suggested I try the 3.0Tdi Quattro.. what me.. a Diesel... I haven't look back and am now on my second 3.0Tdi Quattro. What do you gain , well in my experience 40mpg on a manual Coupe circa 35 on the S Tronic Cab at the moment, better residuals unless the V8 S5 aquires 'cult status'.

Whilst I could have bought pretty much anything I chose not to spend my money on Petrol and Depreciation and apart from the noise I don't think 3.0Tdi Quattro Diesel owners are missing that much.


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I had a A5 3.0 tdi back in 07-08, loved it but made it look like an s5 with mirrors, grille, exhaust etcetera . But something was missing. The sound and feel of the V8.
Today, 5-6 cars later I am back. With a 2009 S5 coupe. And man it's exactly what I should have bought in the first place. Pricewise it's only a couple % more expensive than a 3.0tdi and if you are not driving extensively you should go for a S5!

Sorry Mike the 3.0 Tdi costs a lot more than a couple of % more to run than an S5. Fuel costs about double, depreciation, insurance. I reckon on 12000 miles a year a 3.0Tdi Quattro will save you over £1500 (maybe £1800) on fuel alone.
Go with the S5. ;)
I had this dilemma like many folks on this forum. In the end, the fantastic sound that the S5 makes and the fairly modest performance improvements over the 3.0TDI wasn't sufficient justification for the additional running and depreciation costs. In fact, if I'm honest, on my budget and mileage (15k / year), I doubt I could have afforded the S5.
At the end of the day, it's horses for courses... If your annual budget can sustain it, then I'm sure you won't look back having picked an S5. For me, the head ruled the heart, but only very slightly! :cheers:
I don't think you will regret buying either car, except perhaps with the S5 re-filling every couple of hundred miles and possibly at re-sale time. However, as has been said, with your modest mileage it evens out a bit. Also a V8 and an Audi 'S' car is something we all probably need to get out of our system at some point. I did it (twice) but it would take something very special indeed to get me out of a tractor now. Just a quick look at all the stats at the end of a brochure usually does it and the TDI is a great drive.
Sorry Mike the 3.0 Tdi costs a lot more than a couple of % more to run than an S5. Fuel costs about double, depreciation, insurance. I reckon on 12000 miles a year a 3.0Tdi Quattro will save you over £1500 (maybe £1800) on fuel alone.
The 3.0 TDI is a great car, I loved mine.
But if you already now is thinking about an A5 3.0 TDI or a S5 you will constantly look at the S5 and been thinking.. why didnt I ...

I was in the same situation and picked the A5 back in 07, mainly because I had a good deal on diesel and was driving 40.000km/year. But if you are not driving that much the S5 would be a clear choice if you can take the higher milage.

The running costs are higher - the depreciation is the same (almost), the tax on a diesel is the double comparing to a petrol over here.

So, yes - you might save a bit if you go with a diesel, but if you love cars sometime you will step up and get a S-model, or RS.
I have just bought a used S5 and love it. I do 6-8k a year and so not too worried about MPG.

I am sure the TDI is a great car but when I see one I don't wish I had that rather than the S. I'm not sure I would feel the same way if things were the other way round.
I do occasionally look at S5V8 Coupe (not the V6 Cab!!) and wish I ha one but quickly come back to earth when I realise that the S5 is really not that much better in the real world driving we do than the 3.0Tdi Quattro and many will argue that the 500nm of Torque from the Diesel is actually far more fun.

Given the choice (money no object) I probably would have gone S5 V8 but I personally don't think it is worth the considerable extra expense, especially as 30% of my fuel is bought abroad these days where Diesel is about 25% cheaper.




Many thanks for all your replies, other peoples perspective is much appreciated. Comments are great but its a tough decision.

I think only a test drive will do, the TDI is the sensible option, esp in the UK where fuel is rising at unprecedented levels. This car is quite an upgrade for me too, going from a 2.0l Type R, I used to complain about petrol in that, the S5 may just push me over the edge! saying that I do like the sound of a V8, having lived in the states...and that start up roar is something that would make me smile every time.

Based on some quick calcs (assuming current fuel prices in London), over 6000miles the TDI will cost £947 in fuel compared to £1603. Plus half road tax, slightly less insurance and im guess cheaper service.

However, performance is addictive, obviously the S5 is quick 0-60, but is the TDI quicker 50-100? i.e. that 500Nm torque from the TDI?

Im back in the UK in two weeks and planning on a visit to "the audi specialists" in Iver, Buckinghamshire, they have a good range of second hand S5/A5's so ill do a dual test, Auto TDI vs S5 Manual. I spend a lot of time sitting in traffic in London, so the auto makes sense.

Has anyone had dealings with the audi specialists? positive / negative?
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Why Auto Tdi and S5 Manual. I think I am correct in saying the 0-62 times for a Manual 3.0Tdi is actually slightly better or on a par with an S5 V8 Auto. Whatever there is not a lot in it. Having gone from 3.0Tdi Manual to a 3.0Tdi S Tronic Auto whilst still missing using my left leg the Stronic is growing on me and the gear changes are quick.

Also. What basis did you do your fuel calculation?

Enjoy the test drives. try an Audi dealer and push for a day or even half a day test.


Just to add. Basic bolt ons and a tune you will embarrassed v8 s5's in performance.
If you are buying it as a toy - S5!
Super fun to drive!
Given the mileage, go with the S5, definitely. I went from S4 4.2 to A5 3.0 TDi and their engines are completely different in terms of character. Adding a remap and Milltek to the 3.0TDi has significantly improved it, but you could argue that just the Milltek added to an S5 would step that on again, just in terms of exhaust noise.
Ok, with all things considered I am leaning towards the S5, thought my practical logicaly engineering brain is saying tut tut.

In terms of my fuel cost calc, this was based on autotraders combined fuel mpgs

S5 Manual - 23.3 TDI Auto - 40.9, and with diesel being couple of pence more.

In terms of the manual / auto question, I just wouldnt see the point in having an auto S5, the S5 I think deserves a man box to get the driving feel out around nice country roads within the speed limits of course. The TDI would be a more relaxing drive so an auto would be ideal...My father has a 320D and suits the autobox well...

As for a whole / half day test drive with Audi, how the hell would I swing that one...that would be awesome. My test drive of the 3.0TDI Manual was in the suburbs of east dulwich, not exactly prime roads....I got given the horn by a BMW driver for letting an old lady cross the road....! thought id add that bit...1 series idiot
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Good luck getting 20+ MPG.. I get 19 sitting in 6th gear going 60 on the highways if I'm lucky.
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