Generally, what would be the best companion for a nice summer day? Exactly! Your own personal high profile convertible in which you can explore the first tickle of summer sunshine. As a self-confident and status-oriented person being moved around the boulevards or highways of your choosing. This is exactly what our thoughts were when we got the chance to drive the brand new Audi A5 Cabriolet. We sat down and just opened ourselves to the decadent times.
The new A5 Cabriolet – introduced at this year’s Geneva Motor Show – is all about driving roofless. You do not even feel the need to close the top. Top down means look at me, I am a successful city-type exploring trendy restaurants and networking events where I expand my world. Our setup? A 2.0 TFSI A5 Cabriolet with a full option list including Pro line, S-line, Ice silver metallic paint job and extensive interior and exterior package. Where? The city of Rotterdam was the spot!
The A5 Cabriolet is a direct family member of the Coupé and the upcoming Sportback. They all share the same platform and parts but all have a different way of addressing your needs. The lines of the cabriolet only differ due to the drop top. You’ll notice that the A5 is a true soft-top unlike several of it’s rivals. The best explanation we’ve heard of this is from Audi themselves who said, “a cabriolet looks more like cabriolet when it has a fabric roof!”. There’s also the important principal that a lighter roof structure saves fuel, is less complicated and takes up less boot space when folded down. A rather practical reason in our opinion.
Hereby some figures of the car, options and available engines. The automated roof opens in 15 seconds and closes in 17 seconds, even on the move at speeds up to 50km/h or 31mph. The fabric-folding hood is fast, has a great quality and little wind buffeting with the roof down. With the roof up it is quiet inside, especially if you take a car with the optional Acoustic Roof – standard on S-line. It adds an extra 14mm of foam insulation and gives the Cabriolet, near-A5 Coupe levels of refinement. There’s even a new Neck-Level Heating system on the extensive list of options. We were not able to use it, but the thoughts of such a system will add another piece of easiness to driving always open.
The engine line-up for the A5 starts with a 120kW (160hp) 1.8 litre TSI and moving up to the 2.0 litre TSFI unit (offered in 134kW (179hp) and 157kW (210hp) forms). Audi’s 3.2 litre FSI V6 engine producing 197kW (264hp) rounds out the petrol choices. On the Diesel side there are two engines, either the 180kW (241hp) 3.0 litre TDI engine or a 140kW (187hp) 2.7 litre TDI unit. On the subject of the gearbox there are a six-speed manual, a multitronic auto and a 7-speed S-tronic automatic.
The performance figures of the A5 are; the 2.0-litre manual goes from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds, the 3.0-litre diesel S tronic in 6.4 seconds and the 3.2-litre multitronic will get you there in 6.9 seconds.
Stepping inside the car means exploring the quality of Audi. Premium speced, beautifully built and a civilized place to enjoy a convertible. Close the door and the belt springs towards you on a lever. Once you have taken and secured yourself, the arm retracts into the side panel. Next, press the key and the engine comes alive. Ready to absorb the city live of one of the biggest ports in the world. Grab the steering wheel and leave the parking space. Comfortable is the best description of the ride in and around the city of Rotterdam. Driving up and down the city center the stiffness is noticeably less than the coupé, but never alarming. Putholes and bridges are taken easily, vehicle flex is sometimes felt. The roofless A5 is ideal for long journeys, but lacks some kind of speed factor.
The A5 Cabriolet’s steering can be inconsistent in corners with differing speeds. You will feel shudders through the steering wheel due to torque steering. The main reason is the front wheel drive setup of the 2.0 TFSI package, the larger wheels of the S-Line and sports suspension. Always go for the four-wheel Quattro package – if needed also Audi’s Drive Select program – and you will virtually have no wobble to denote. If you want inspired handling and the ‘high speed’ ride, you’ll need to get the S5 cabriolet with its supercharged 3.0 litre V6 engine producing 250kW (335hp) and 440Nm (325lb-ft) of torque.
The overall driving experience was excellent and we felt at home in the interior. Two minor down falls were the gear change of the manual gearbox and the torque steering. On the other hand it is more important that Audi’s new A5 Cabriolet will fulfill every one’s requirements – it’s quiet, comfortable, refined, reasonably fast if you take the engine that fulfills your speed-needs.
Definitely mark the four-wheel drive, S-line and S-tronic gearbox immediately after you see the option list. Add the Bang and Olufsen stereo – a must-have -, MMI navigation plus including 3D footprints in cities, Bluetooth mobile phone kit, electric leather seats and three-zone climate control which changes settings automatically when the roof is opened or closed and you have a beauty from the inside as well as from the outside boosting your ‘self-confidence’.
Still this convertible is far from an indefinite sports car. Need more than that? Then rush to tuners like ABT – offering official Audi factory warranty, MTM or PPI and get your upgrade. The standard package is merely a roofless image booster, but also a superb basis for any future projects.