2018 Audi S5 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Airbags, structure, and speed control issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

The 2018 Audi S5 was hailed as one of the best coupe and convertible options among luxury cars. In fact, the company claims that the new lineup features “the lap—and mind—of luxury,” but customers aren’t in agreement. Not only are users dealing with defective and dangerous air bags, but also battling exploding sunroofs and malfunctioning driver-assist technology.

 

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Audi S5

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
6
Visibility/wiper
3
Engine
2
Electrical System
2
Steering
1
Electronic Stability Control
1
Service Brakes
1
Seat Belts
1
Parking Brake
1
Power Train
1

Problems with the Air Bags

The air bags are meant to keep occupants safe, but when they don’t work, they are just a waste of space. Among other complaints, owners are tired of taking their Audi in for air bag repairs.

Just look at what this Edmunds user says in the midst of other complaints about the S5. “Stay away from this vehicle.  It’s gorgeous to behold and if you floor the pedal it flies, but in day to day driving it’s simply awful.  Mine has less than 9K miles on it, and it’s been to the shop for no less than six different repairs.  Airbag failures, engine thermostat failure, dash electronics failures, and more rattles/squeaks than I can count. It’s also been back multiple times for buzzing speaker covers, which appears to be a very difficult problem to fix as the sound system is simply too powerful for the cheap plastic speaker covers which resonate at different bass frequencies.  But the absolute worst thing is the laggy throttle response, which is barely even acceptable in the sportiest of modes.  Low end throttle response in city navigation is just numb, and you can find countless people on the Audi forums complaining about it.”

It appears this car spends more time in the shop than on the road. That’s apparent with the two air bag recalls as well. The first one, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V547000, talks about how oxidation occurs within the Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS) with a connecting cable. When this happens, the software can misdiagnose a malfunction and results in disabling the passenger air bag, leaving occupants in danger. That’s not all, because NHTSA Campaign Number 18V325000 discusses another recall where the seat-mounted head/thorax air bag in the front passenger seat might not have been folded correctly. If this is the case, it might not deploy properly, leading to an injury. Does Audi have something against passengers or is it just a coincidence that both defects are on the passenger side?

Problems with the Vehicle Speed Control

In the modern car, owners expect high-end driver-assist features that make driving safer. This is even truer when driving an expensive luxury car, yet the 2018 Audi S5 seems to have more faults than innovative solutions.

One Edmunds review states, “New technology for crash avoidance in this car is flawed. It was extremely intrusive and on three occasions nearly caused me to have an accident when it suddenly stopped in the middle of an intersection. If a car came opposite in a common left turn lane, for example, the Audi would anticipate having a head on collision and stop my car suddenly when I was trying to cross traffic.”

While this particular occurrence isn’t talked about in the manufacturer communications, there is another issue that becomes evident. Service Bulletin #A9119882024323_6 says that the parking aids might occasionally warn the driver about obstacles that don’t actually exist. Living in the lap of luxury shouldn’t include cars stopping in intersections and warning of phantom items that don’t exist.

Problems with the Auto Glass

Visibility in a luxury vehicle is about more than simply seeing out of the windshield. While that’s important, owners also want a nice view from the sunroof.

Yet, this NHTSA complaint suggests that something more severe is occurring. “During a drive on an interstate highway in Tennessee on 12/27/19, the sunroof suddenly exploded. Speed was approximately 75-80 mph on a cloudy day with the temperature in the low 60s F. Without any prior indications, there was a loud boom. A section of the sunroof approx. 18-in diameter separated from the window and blew backwards onto the road. Smaller shards of glass fell inward onto the sun shade inside the car.”

Audi doesn’t want to discuss this situation, even though multiple complaints exist across the internet. If the automaker did acknowledge this, it would become difficult to claim that the vehicle portrays “the lap—and mind—of luxury.” However, Audi has talked about another auto glass issue. With Service Bulletin #A641963 2048934, it becomes clear that there are troubles with the convertible. In fact, a software update is required to stop the rear quarter glass from rolling down every time owners close the convertible. Close one and open another. It seems that the engineering on this Audi vehicle has some wires crossed somewhere. It’s surely not what people are looking for after spending a small fortune to get behind the wheel. Shattering glass, cars that stop in the middle of intersections and defective passenger airbags are just some of the reasons not to drive this lemon unless you have a passenger you aren’t fond of.

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Complaint Data

CategoryEngine
DateAug 23, 2022
StateSC
Description
The 2018 year for the audi s5 has a notorious rocker arm failure within the engine. Audi is aware of this problem because they have revised the part for later build dates. However, they have failed to remedy the issue for the vehicles that fall within the problematic build dates. Once this failure occurs, it is catastrophic and will require a new engine.
CategorySteering
DateJul 19, 2022
StateMD
Description
The lever that locks and unlocks the steering column for proper driving position fell off. The single bolt holding the lever fell out followed by the lever. This occurred when the driver utilized the lever to reposition the steering wheel. The steering wheel was not locked into position when the lever fell off, so the steering wheel was subject to movement while driving.
CategoryElectrical System, Electronic Stability Control, Visibility/wiper
DateMay 13, 2020
StateIL
Description
The car's overall electronic reliability and safety are huge areas of concern. Rearview camera and sensors do not always work. Sometimes it will operate while car is in motion but it will black out which ultimately impairs the driver's ability to reverse and avoid any objects and pedestrians. This is potentially dangerous in high-foot traffic area like shopping mall. In addition, the car's lane assistance mechanism is not accurate at times and could have caused accidents several times. For example, the sensor sometimes will mis-detect the lanes and wrongly drift the car out of lanes, almost causing collision with oncoming cars or adjacent cars. Moreover, the audi sensor which detects object and brakes for the driver doesn't work too well. For instance, when making a left turn at an intersection, it will mis-calculate the oncoming traffic and will brake and stall the car in the middle of intersection. Also, the audi sensor wrongly detects the object around the car such as elevated sidewalk curbs or fire hydrants and it randomly auto-slam the brakes even while the car is moving at 30-40mph. The car was in the dealership repair shop at least 5 times to attempt to fix the issue. The dealership replaced the "mod box" twice, which seem to fix most of the sensor related issues but issues still arise and I am skeptical and afraid of driving this car. *tr
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateDec 30, 2019
StateIN
Description
During a drive on an interstate highway in tennessee on12/27/19, the sunroof suddenly exploded. Speed was approximately 75-80 mph on a cloudy day with the temperature in the low 60's f. Without any prior indications, there was a loud boom. A section of the sunroof approx 18' in diameter separated from the window and blew backwards onto the road. Smaller shards of glass fell inward onto the sun shade inside the car.
CategoryService Brakes, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 14, 2019
StateCA
Description
I was driving on a big highway doing about 75mph and all of a sudden for no reason I get a big presense warning flash on my console, then a transmission error, then tire pressure error, then engine malfunction all in a row and my car just totally shuts off and I had to coast over onto the shoulder. I'm honestly just shocked I managed to get to the shoulder without being hit by someone. After I turned the car off and back on it seems to be okay other than the malfunction indicator lamp mil light is still on. This happened multiple times over several months, presense would accidently trigger and put my car in very compromising situations and almost caused a serious accident multiple times.
CategoryElectrical System, Seat Belts
DateAug 28, 2019
StateMI
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 audi s5. While driving various speeds, the seat belt warning chime continuously sounded even with the seat belt engaged and in use. The seat belt warning indicator also remained illuminated while driving. The contact drove the vehicle to audi birmingham michigan (34602 woodward ave, birmingham, mi 48009, 248-645-5930) where an appointment was scheduled. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 36,300.
CategoryParking Brake, Power Train
DateApr 09, 2019
StateCT
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 audi s5. The contact stated that the gearbox and parking brake released while the vehicle was in park. As a result, the vehicle rolled away and crashed into a concrete barrier. The air bags did not deploy. A police report was filed. There were no injuries sustained. The vehicle was towed to audi greenwich (181 west putnam avenue, greenwich, ct 06830, (203) 661-1800), but the failure could not be diagnosed. The body damage was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 7,000. *js
CategoryEngine
DateJan 03, 2019
StatePA
Description
Maximum oil light warning light, reduce oil level, since purchased. Gasoline getting into oil. Removed 9 quarts of gasoline saturated oil out of car. Audi says I need to drive car more. Audi recently replaced oil & filter and said to monitor . Drove car from dealership service, warning light came back on, checked engine with after market oil dip stick, stone smell of gas in oil. Vehicle towed back to dealership
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateAug 27, 2018
StateNY
Description
Bang and olfisen system speakers rattles a lot at volume over 50 percent and sounds very distorted at louder volumes system only plays well at 50 percent and lower volume
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateAug 14, 2018
StateTX
Description
My s5 sportback's top view camera does not work as designed. It reverts back to "graphic" mode every time I start the car. "graphic" mode is simply a black screen with a cartoon car in the middle, as opposed to the actual "camera" mode that shows you what surrounds your vehicle. This is a safety-related defect due to the distracting nature of the unpredictability of the state of the backup camera, as you have to go through a series of button presses to get the camera view, which might be dangerous in a real-life setting. This affects nearly every audi with this option sold in the 2018 model year. Audi has acknowledged this safety issue but has refused to offer any solution for over a year, and has continued to knowingly sell thousands of vehicles with this defect.
CategoryUnknown Or Other, Visibility/wiper
DateAug 12, 2018
StateCA
Description
My car has a "top view" rear camera system to aid in reversing. This system fails and is in an unpredictable state on the screen every time I reverse, not showing the view around my car. This is distracting, and leads to problems in trying to switch my top-view camera on (it requires a complex series of 8 button presses while in reverse!) while backing up. I have nearly hit objects and pedestrians due to this safety defect, and it diminishes my ability to safely operate my vehicle when it is reversing. This same defect affects all audi models with this option sold in cy 2017 and 2018 (including a4, s4, a5, s5, q5, and q7). I complained about this safety defect to my dealer on sept 17, 2017. Audi has acknowledged this defect, and claims it has a fix, but has refused to distribute the fix to existing vehicles for 6+ months. In the time it has known about this issue, audi misrepresented the safety features of their new vehicles sold in the us, and continued to sell vehicles with this expensive safety option knowing that the system does not work properly -- and, in fact, is so distracting as to reduce safety while reversing instead of enhancing it.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateApr 10, 2018
StateVA
Description
The sunroof on my brand new 2018 audi s5 exploded while driving on the highway at approximately 50 mph. The pieces of glass from the sunroof damaged the paint on the roof and trunk-lid as they blew back during the incident.
CategoryStructure:body, Unknown Or Other
DateFeb 05, 2018
StateNJ
Description
Forward collision warning and mitigation system (pre sense city) did not work to prevent an accident where I rear ended a car that was stationary. No warning or action was taken by the car. Police report attached.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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1 COMMENT
  • Lucas D

    I have a 2018 S5 Sportback with mechanical engine failure that Audi is refusing to cover. Engine has only 62k miles on it. I have been in contact with many others that are also having the same issues.

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