The Audi A5 is a classy coupé, hatchback and cabriolet, but are there talents beneath the pretty bodywork?
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What is it?
This is the new Audi A5 2.0 TDI Cabriolet, expected to be the best-selling version of this new drop-top Audi. The Audi A5 2.0 TDI Cabriolet combines the company’s refined common-rail 168bhp four-cylinder diesel with elegant drop-top bodywork, a conversion that reduces seating from five to four in return for the provision of a stylish fabric hood that descends in only 15 seconds, and rises in 17sec.
The Audi A5 2.0 TDI Cabriolet’s weight climbs by 187kg over its saloon counterpart, inevitably blunting the diesel’s performance, but the 9.3sec claimed for the sprint to 62mph is brisk enough for most cabriolet usage. Mercedes-style neck-level heating is standard fit and the Audi has a bigger boot, roof down, than its rivals, making it slightly more practical, despite a back bench that could use a little more elbow room.
What’s it like?
The Audi A5 2.0 TDI Cabriolet is brisker than you’d think, given the weight penalty and the fact that this is quite a big car. A fat slug of low-end torque is enough to get this Audi surfing along with an effortlessness that suits its demeanour.
Mid-range acceleration is even solid enough to have the steering wheel freeze slightly at the effort. The rim also goes rather light when you’ve wound some lock on, which feels odd and less-than-sporty.
The soft ride, and a measure of roll and pitch, confirm this A5’s role as a cruiser, but on a sunny day it’s a very pleasant one. Especially two-up, when the optional wind deflector limits draughts and the neck warmer eliminates any further chilling you might feel. Though soft, the ride isn’t brilliant at absorbing sharper bumps, and some may conclude that the further deterioration brought on by specifying the firmer S-Line trim option is worth it for the more deft handling it confers.
The A5 2.0 TDI Cabriolet will come with Audi’s new fuel-saving and CO2-reducing stop-start system, which also features regenerative braking. It works unobtrusively: the integrated starter-generator system virtually eliminates engine shake on start-up and shutdown.
Should I buy one?
The elegant styling and finely furnished interior of A5 2.0 TDI Cabriolet could make it hard to resist if you have the money. Especially since some of the colour and trim options actually makes it look more expensive than it is, which is no small feat at these prices.
As ever with cabriolets, the A5’s dynamic repertoire has been mildly diminished by the chopping of its roof, but given the slightly less than stellar road behaviour of the A5 Coupe, the loss is smaller than it could have been. As a drive, there’s no doubt that a BMW 3-series cabrio is better, but this Audi is the better looker, provides more rear room, and has the larger boot. And in 2.0-litre diesel form it’s pretty much all the cabriolet you’ll ever need.