An excursion to Hemingway’s Key West in the speedy Audi S5
Author Sean Manning Illustration Brett Affrunti
Before setting out for Key West, home of the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, my girlfriend and I spent two nights at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach—whose valets kept the gleaming S5 parked out front to impress visitors. That’s saying something in a town full of supercars.
“There are only three sports,” Hemingway said, “bullfighting, motor racing and mountaineering.” He would’ve appreciated the quick-responding S5. With speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering and a 15.9:1 steering ratio, this car could outmaneuver even a skilled matador.
Miami to Key West is a mere 160 miles, but with a 45-mph speed limit and traffic the drive can take four hours. There are service stations throughout the Keys, but with the S5’s 16-gallon gas tank and 26 highway mpg, refilling is as unnecessary as adjectives to Hemingway’s prose.
As we drove through town, I was distracted scoping out Hemingway attractions—such as Sloppy Joe’s, where he purportedly did his drinking. Fortunately, the S5’s side assist technology, which warns of passing cars entering your blind spot, kept us accident-free.
We thought we’d listen to a Hemingway audio book on the drive, but once we got a load of the optional Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker audio system with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, we opted for the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls—a perfect swampy South Florida soundtrack.
An hour outside of Miami, we pulled onto Card Sound Road, a 20-mile stretch of asphalt that cuts through undisturbed marshland. The Audi MMI navigation system ensured we found our way with ease—right to the delicious conch fritters at Alabama Jack’s roadside fish shack.
Entering Key West, we were challenged to a drag race. The S5’s supercharged 333-hp V6 engine, which clocks zero to 60 in 4.9 seconds, was surely up for it, but I minded my girlfriend and declined. Hem likely would’ve raced—which might explain why he was married four times.
The S5’s three-zone climate-control system allows savable individual temperature settings for the driver and front passenger. Hemingway would approve: To his dismay, his second wife, Pauline, replaced the Key West home’s ceiling fans with Parisian chandeliers.