What is it?
Audi’s A5 cabriolet has had a mid-life refresh along with its metal-topped cousins, and while the cosmetic nip and tuck requires an educated eye to identify, under the folding cloth top the developments are altogether more fundamental.
With Audi’s latest 3.0 TDI engine joining the range, the case for big petrol power is diminished, so out goes the old 3.2-litre naturally aspirated V6 and in comes a newly detuned version of the supercharged 3.0-litre V6, best known for its appearance in various Audi ‘S’ models.
In this form it develops 268bhp.Hooked up to a standard seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, it promises strong performance and, thanks to automatic stop-start and other eco-optimisation, improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures.
What's it like?
It’s an effective if charmless engine, with a broad spread of torque that overcomes the cabriolet’s near-two-tonne kerb weight.
Unfortunately, some minor revisions to the suspension and the latest version of the quattro centre differential are not enough to improve the A5’s dynamics. It’s easily distracted by undulations and changes in surface, while at the same time struggling over smaller bumps, and a switch to electromechanical steering has made the steering even more remote than before.
Worse still, the bodyshell lacks rigidity, quivering when challenged by repeated ridges in the road surface.
Should I buy one?
Despite Audi’s repeated claims of sportiness, this is a resolutely unsporting machine. It’s an urban boulevardier, a fashionable, sun worshipper’s four-seater, exuding brand equity. Granted, the 3.0 TFSI makes it a bit more lively than the torquey but dim-witted 3.0 TDI, although the refinement and velvety punch of the latter appeals.
Inside the quality cabin, there’s a new steering wheel and the latest design treatments from the A8 and the A6, including a new range of trims and colours. There’s also the latest version of the MMI controller with online capability, plus a suite of driver-assist functions, but adults will only want to sit in the rear with the slickly operating roof lowered. Apt, as this is a better car to be seen in than it is to drive.