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

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

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
Electrical System
Air Bags
Electronic Stability Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Lane Departure: Assist
Parking Brake
Power Train

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.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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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  • 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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