The new Audi A5 Cabriolet
Brash is definitely un-British, despite UK drivers’ love of a convertible – the automotive equivalent of wearing a sign saying, “Look at me!”.
This face-lifted Audi A5 Cabriolet, a soft-top version of Audi’s sporty four-seat coupé, is certainly no wallflower. It has a premium, aspirational, quality and comprises a fifth of all sales of the A5 range.
Part of the appeal is sure to be the design. Longer and marginally narrower than the previous model, its sporty looks are sharper with a wave-shaped shoulder line along the side adding muscular definition and the single frame grille adding an element of aggression.
The soft-top roof – available in black, grey, red and brown – accentuates this. It folds neatly and quickly into the short rear end, which adds to the sportiness, with a spoiler lip on the boot. Add LED headlights and rear lights into the mix, along with twin exhaust pipes, and the A5 Cabriolet gets heads turning.
There are five engines on offer; on the turbo-diesel side is the entry-level 188bhp 2.0-litre, which is likely to be the most popular option thanks to its average fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg and low emissions of 118g/km. The 0 to 60mph time of 8.1 seconds is quick enough to meet the demands of most buyers who opt for it but it’s not the most refined engine, especially with the roof down, though it’s not so noisy that it makes for an unpleasant driving experience.
This soft-top version of Audi’s sporty four-seat coupé is certainly no wallflower
The 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine isn’t that quiet, either, but it’s sportily gruff so considerably more pleasant. The 216bhp output means its 0 to 60mph time is trimmed to 6.8 seconds and it does feel brawnier on the road, while still not being rocket-like.
The A5 Cabriolet as a four-seater is built for cruising
The larger engine and extra performance compromises economy but 57.6mpg and 128g/km aren’t exactly wallet-wilting.
With concerns over air quality and significant efficiency improvements in recent years, potential owners might be more tempted by a petrol-engined A5 Cabriolet than they have for years and there are three alternatives. The 2.0-litre unit is available with two different power ratings. The base 188bhp version enables a 7.7-second 0 to 60mph sprint, while it can still manage 50.4mpg and emits 127g/km when mated to the S tronic automatic gearbox.
The standard of finish and materials are exemplary
A smooth engine results in the kind of relaxed and leisurely driving experience that many convertible owners are looking for. The same engine is also available with 249bhp, bringing the 0 to 60mph time down to 6.1 seconds and reducing the fuel consumption to 44.8mpg, while emissions are increased to 144g/km. It does feel tangibly quicker, though, while the engine retains its smoothness.
Topping the range is the even sportier S5, powered by a 3.0-litre turbo V6 that has an added element of snarl to its sound when prodded into life. The 350bhp on tap means a 5.0-second 0 to 60mph time, which is pretty swift and takes the S5 into sports car territory. Fuel economy takes a bit of dive though to 36.2mpg and emissions climb to 177g/km. It’s not a hardcore sports car but its performance adds extra fun.
The A5 Cabriolet as a four-seater is built for cruising, rather than out-and-out sporty driving, and it suits the role. It feels settled on the road, well balanced and with just the right amount of agility. The steering is accurate; it grips the road well, especially when fitted with the quattro four-wheel drive, and the body feels controlled and flat in the corners. All in all, it’s relaxed and comfortable. The S5 is a little more nimble: sharper in the corners and slightly more keen to run in a sporty manner but essentially it’s a cruiser rather than a bruiser.
The cabin is comfortable for two, while the two rear seats offer just enough space for adults but not, perhaps, for a long trip. The 380-litre boot (320 with the roof stowed away) is perfectly adequate for two people’s luggage but it’s a stretch for four. Standards of fit, finish and materials are exemplary and all the latest connectivity and infotainment technology is on board, although some of it is optional and quickly adds to the cost of the car.
It feels settled on the road, well balanced and with just the right amount of agility
With prices starting at £35,235 (£51,835 for the S5), the A5 Cabriolet is in the premium category, alongside the BMW 4-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet. It’s perhaps not quite as sharp to drive as the BMW but it has all the comfort and technology its buyers will want. It is, in short, ideal for those who like to show off. But in an understated way.
- Price: £35,235 – £51,835
- Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 2.0, 2.0 249bhp, 3.0-litre; Turbo-diesel – 2.0, 3.0-litre
- Power: 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds, 155mph top speed (3.0 petrol)
- Fuel economy: 62.8mpg (2.0TD)
- CO2 emissions: 118-177g/km
- Rivals: BMW 4-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Vauxhall Cascada
- Rating: 8/10