Audi has expanded its second-generation A5 line-up, adding a four-seat drop-top to the existing five-seat coupe range.
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Audi’s reimagined A5 Cabriolet brings the drop-top range onto the same next-generation chassis as the hard-topped two-door A5 Coupe, A5 Sportback four-door coupe, and the four-door A4 sedan.
Here, we’re looking at what Audi says will be the volume seller, a $95,000 (AUD) 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engined, all-wheel drive version of the cabriolet that sits above a price-driven $83,400 front-wheel drive version that uses a less powerful tune of the same powerplant.
This newer A5 Cabriolet is lighter than the car it replaces, but boasts more rear-seat legroom than before – a strong point of criticism with the old one.
- Audi’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine produces 185kW and 370Nm. Those numbers don’t mean much until you drive it and discover the way the engine works makes it a pearler; happy to just dawdle along in traffic or pin back the ear when asked and go for a gallop.
- The rapid-fire seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which can shift gears much quicker than a conventional single-clutch automatic, helps eke out the best from the engine.
- Fuel economy is good as a result. Officially the A5 2.0T quattro will use just 6.7 litres of fuel for every 100km it travels; that’s better than some small hatchbacks.
- Audi coats its leather-trim seats with a sealant that stops them absorbing as much heat as untreated seats. This means that when you jump back in the roof-down car after lunch, you won’t be cooked like your steak.
- For winter, the A5 Cabriolet features a neck warmer built into the seat that blows like a hairdryer when the roof is down, but sends a warm breeze when it’s in place.
- The A5 Cabriolet has thicker glass, which blocks out more sound, helping to make the front seats a bit quieter with the roof in place.
- The folding cloth roof’s material is now five-layered, meaning it too blocks out more sound than before.
- You can drop the roof at speeds up to 50km/h. For that extra trick, you can also fold it down as you walk up by holding down the unlock button on the key fob.
- The two rear seats have 18mm more legroom.
- Audi interiors are stunning and wraps around you, and the A5 Cabriolet is no exception.
- Audi has gone to great lengths to ensure its voice activation system works well with the roof down. It has three microphones built into the seatbelt to work with different driver heights.
- Audi’s price for the A5 Cabrio may have gone up by a couple of thousand dollars compared with the car it replaces, but compared with rivals that include the BMW 430i Cabriolet and the Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet, it’s still keenly priced.
- That extra rear-seat legroom is about the same as the width of a finger. Jump in the back and it feels just as tight as the old A5 Cabrio.
- Dropping the roof to let in the sun is a single press-and-forget action. Putting it back up requires you to keep a finger on the button for the full 15 seconds it takes to put the roof back in place.
- The space needed to stow the “K-fold” roof eats into rear-seat space. That’s why there’s only room for two in the back.
- Audi includes a detachable air diffuser with the A5 Cabriolet that helps to stop air swirling around the cabin, cutting noise, and draughts. It’s fiddly to install and covers the rear seats.
- Our test car had a sticker price of $95,000 (AUD) before on-road costs, but throw in a few options and the price suddenly jumped to $107,516 as tested. This includes an S-Line style pack ($2500) that gives the A5 cabrio sharper looks and heated rear seats, a Technik Pack ($5600) adding LED headlights, a cranking 20-speaker audio system, and a head-up display, and Audi’s adaptive suspension system ($2210) that adjusts on the fly the way the car rides. If you don’t want a flat colour, the metallic paint option is $1846.
- Lopping the roof from a coupe and replacing it with a big umbrella brings its compromises. First, the cabriolet is heavier than its coupe equivalent, because engineers have to build more strength into it to tame the forces the roof would have otherwise absorbed. And second, this thing called scuttle shake happens, usually over rough sections of road, where the front and back of the car can’t quite work out how to deal with the bumps – you can see the bootlid dance around a bit in the rear-view mirror.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD CONSIDER?
You should also kick tyres on both the BMW 430i Cabriolet and the Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet.