BLUE VALLEY, Colo. -- With that distinctive whine of the Eaton R1320 supercharger buzzing in the engine bay and four 19-inch high-performance summer tires singing a speed song on Colorado's Squaw Pass Road, which skirts Mount Pence on a serpentine track leading to Blue Valley, the aero-slick 2013 S5 Coupe by Audi of Germany rules the Rocky Mountain asphalt.
This sleek sports coupe, derived from Audi's A5 compact grand touring series, skews toward that rare and sporty realm of refined European muscle cars with a supercharged V6 aboard and the choice of a 6-speed shift-it-yourself manual gearbox or 7-speed dual-clutch S-tronic automatic.
It's incredibly quick -- under five seconds from stand-still to 60 mph, then on to the top speed electronically capped at 155 mph.
Despite its capacity for illicit speeds and pin-you-to-the-seat acceleration, the S5 also shows us at a lesser pace on Rocky Mountain roads that it's a curve-craving machine which seems to defy the inertial laws of physics.
A 5-link front suspension design with sport suspension calibration feels light and lively, while Audi's Quattro system for traction at every wheel sets up the tire grip of a sticky-toed gecko.
The smart Quattro system, using a torsion-sensing center differential, automatically shifts the majority of all engine torque to whichever wheels, front or rear, attain the best bite of traction on slick pavement.
Steering, using a new electromechanical steering system that saves weight and improves fuel economy, acts quickly and precisely.
Brakes, with a big disc at every wheel, rely on electronic and computerized links to tame the tires. Anti-lock brake (ABS) controls are standard, along with electronic brake distribution (EBD) plus Audi's electronic stabilization program (ESP) that checks lateral slippage and skidding.
Wheels also play a high-performance tune. They're split-spoke rounds of cast alloy measuring 18-by-8.5 (or optional 19-by-9.0) and capped by 245/40R18 (or optional 255/35R19) summer performance tires.
Note the new muscle package: S5 for 2013 totes an aluminum 3.0-liter V6 with Eaton supercharger and dual intercoolers plus Audi's FSI (fuel straight injection) technology applied.
It sparks with 333 hp at 5500 rpm plus torque peaking at 325 lb-ft at 2900 rpm.
EPA-estimated fuel economy figures calculate to 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
There's so much muscle with this car, such corner-cutting agility, and the capability to virtually fly across the landscape: All of these attributes apply to S5, yet the car camouflages well to all but educated eyes, as it essentially resembles the taut yet sedate shape of the A5.
Theme for S5's exterior design is a fluidity of lines drawn in rectangular format with an exaggerated snout and abbreviated tail linked by the arching canopy over the cabin with low-slung windows and side pillars muted.
On the prow Audi's designers planted a vertical waterfall-style grille sandwiched between sharp-edged and narrow bi-xenon headlamps featuring signature white-light LED tube rings -- they're way-cool.
Side panels are chiseled with a character line notched low on each side that seems to swing upward in swift movement toward the tail.
The blunted rump looks clean with wraparound low fascia and twin 2X tailpipes in chrome.
Pop the rear deck and you'll find a trunk compartment with more than 12 cubic feet of storage space.
Now open any door and slip into a supportive seat that fits like a custom-built lounge chair.
Cabin layout consists of two sport buckets in front and two fixed rear seats separated by a console.
Appointments are lavish. Audi leads the auto industry in cockpit design and the interior scheme on S5 seems quite handsome using soft leather hides and trimmings in brushed aluminum and piano black slabs.
Audi delivers the 2013 S5 to the North American market in two trims: Premium Plus and Prestige.
The Premium Plus package adds the bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights and LED taillamps, auto-dimming heated exterior mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate controls, heated front seats, driver seat memory, iPod interface and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Prestige package goes further with adaptive headlamps, keyless ignition/entry, blind-spot warning system, a navigation system with voice controls, rearview camera and rear parking sensors, plus a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 14 speakers.
Audi Connect, a new optional feature, is linked to the optional MMI (Multi Media Interface) Navigation system and employs a 3G wireless connection to deliver Google Maps with realistic satellite imagery to the navigation dashboard monitor. It dazzles.
Audi establishes MSRP points for the 2013 S5 Premium Plus Coupe at $50,900 with a 6-speed manual shifter and $52,300 with the 7-speed S-tronic automatic. The 2013 S5 Prestige Coupe lists for $57,550 (manual) and $58,950 (automatic).