What is it? The Audi A5 Cabriolet is the second-generation version of the brand’s coupé drop-top.
Key features: More refined, better on the road, more tech.
Our view: Improved in all areas, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is a compelling proposition for those seeking an upmarket drop-top.
Type of review: Taster Test
The launch of the Audi A5 Cabriolet completes the renewal of a model line that began last year with the arrival of second-generation versions of the A5 Coupé and A5 Sportback variants. According to its creators, the new car is better in all areas; increasing its quality, performing better on the road and taking full benefit of the increasingly sophisticated technology available in Audi models.
Powertrain and styling
Three engines are available for mainstream versions of the new car. Petrol options range across a 2.0-litre petrol unit offering 190hp and matched to either six-speed manual or S tronic automatic transmissions, or a 252hp version with an automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel-drive. For the more performance-hungry, Audi is also launching a new S5 Cabriolet, with a V6 petrol engine producing 354hp, quattro all-wheel drive and a 5.1-second 0-62mph time.
Our test car, however, is fitted with the 2.0-litre diesel, putting out 190hp, with the S tronic and front-wheel-drive – this car can also be had with quattro.
All are housed within a new shell, 47mm longer but 8mm narrower than its predecessor, and with a wheelbase increased by 14mm. Torsional rigidity, always a crucial factor in a convertible, is said to be up by 40 per cent, while the use of modern construction techniques including high-strength steel and aluminium enable weight savings of up to 40kg – all of which should mean a better on-road performance.
Audi has resisted any temptation to adopt a more solid but space-eating metal roof – the soft top boasts four layers and folds electrically in 15 seconds, at speeds up to 30mph. Once folded, it sits in a tray under the rear – this moves up when the hood closes to offer a total boot space of 380 litres.
Styling changes include a significantly wider, flatter grille and a rear screen that is also flatter. With a distinctive shoulder line the car certainly looks purposeful, particularly with the hood down.
On the road
Step inside the Cabriolet and the surroundings are familiar, not just to the A5 range but Audi’s current line-up. That’s not a bad thing – Audi interiors are the best in the business and the latest better yet, combining excellent build quality with top levels of practicality – the various controls fall naturally to hand and are both simple and refined to use. Of course, the fully digital ‘virtual cockpit’ is a must-have, well worth the £250 extra it costs.
The diesel in our test car maintains the level of refinement – it’s smooth in start-up, and any audio note virtually disappears once on the road. In fact the lack of stirring sound is almost misleading, as this engine is quite perky in its performance – 62mph dispatched in 8.3 seconds is plenty swift enough for most. And it is all achieved in such a confident manner that is matched by the car’s handling. The ride is comfortable on the motorway, and while it may not be quite as ‘point and grip’ in the bends as its coupé sister, it is still pretty assured.
First impressions of the new A5 Cabriolet are highly positive – in diesel form at least (we have yet to try the petrol variant) it’s a complete package. The original model was accomplished, but the new one simply improves the breed.
Perhaps the one aspect to watch is the price – while our £42K base price virtually matches the car’s direct rivals, it’s very easy to add substantially to this dipping into the options list – our test car had more than £4,000 of extras, including a rear-view camera costing £1,050 alone…
Audi A5 Cabriolet – key specifications
Model tested: Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI 190hp S line automatic
Price: £42,625 (Range starts £35,235)
On sale: First deliveries April 2017
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel, 190hp, 400Nm
0-62mph and max speed: 8.3 sec, 144mph
Economy and emissions: 60.1mpg (62.8*), 124g/km (118*)
Key rivals: BMW 420d Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz C220d Cabriolet.
Test date: April 2017
* = with standard 17-inch wheels, test car fitted with 19-inch wheels.
The Car Expert Taster Tests are concise summaries of new models to the market, that we have driven for under 50 miles. They are often preludes to full road tests of the vehicle at a later date.