From £31,5358
The new 2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet is faster, stiffer and more efficient. But enough stats; is it more fun in the sun? Well yes - of sorts

Our Verdict

Audi A5

Ingolstadt’s dome-roofed hatchback returns to the executive fray

23 February 2017

What is it?

We Brits are second only to the Germans when it comes to the number of convertibles, such as this Audi A5 Cabriolet, sold in the, err, Milky Way? Or is it Europe? Anyway, it doesn’t matter because it’s trite. We’ve heard statements such as these a million times before, and so what - who cares about prosaic sales figures? It’s the emotional side of cars we enjoy, and what we should be asking is 'why?' Why, on an island where drizzle counts as clement, do we buy so many open tops? 

Two reasons, perhaps. The plucky Brit’s stiff upper lip for one: 'Balderdash to bally drizzle; we’ll not let a drop of water stop us!'; and secondly, our optimism and sense of fun. Yes, it’s raining now, but so what. At some point the sun is bound to peekaboo from behind a cloud, flushing our veins full of the essence of life as we whizz down the B1243 towards nirvana, with nothing but God above with a thumbs-up, smiling down as we smile right back. Well, something to that effect. 

Above all else then, this all-new Audi A5 Cabriolet needs to be fun and make us smile. So, does it?

What's it like?

Although we've denounced statistics, here’s one that may pique your interest: this new second-generation A5 Cabriolet is 55kg lighter than its predecessor. As we know, lighter is good, so along with a power boost of 22bhp and the injection of an extra 15lb ft of torque from the car's upgraded 2.0 TFSI 252 petrol engine, nearly a second has been slashed from the 0-62mph sprint. And as if someone were thrusting cake at you quicker than you could eat it, it’ll still manage another 5mpg and emits 18g less CO2/km. Plus, being a petrol and Euro 6 compliant, Mayor Khan will beckon you into London without the need to pay a T-charge toll. 

The A5 Cabriolet's standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is mostly smooth and snappy – bar the usual jerkiness at slow speeds. And if you put it in to manual mode, hold the car in third and accelerate, you’ll discover a very linear power delivery all the way from 1500rpm around to 6000rpm, when it finally starts to wane. Which also means solid if not scintillating performance, with the ability to get past lumbering lorries in the hinterland without too much stress. 

So, it’s great then? Ah, no. Remember that sense of fun we targeted? Well, this is an engine completely devoid of character. Linear it may be, but there’s no exponential power explosion to encourage you to rev it to the final furlong, or indeed aural delights to stir the soul. A mildly gravelly, but mostly insipid, four-pot whimper is about your lot. That said, with its main rivals, the BMW 430i and Mercedes-Benz C 300, having just four-cylinders too, you could argue it's merely a sign of the times. 

Nevertheless, it does beg the question: why choose this petrol over the silky charms and even greater frugality of the 3.0-litre TDI 218 V6 diesel? We mention this simply because the A5 Cabriolet bowls down the road with such a supple gait that the effortlessness of that diesel would suit it better. And if a petrol doesn't give a pleasing soundtrack either, surely the 3.0 V6 is a no-brainer?

You see, with the adaptive suspension set to Comfort mode on our Spanish test route, the car never thumped or thudded once, even when aimed with the deadly focus of a hunting hawk at the one and only pothole we encountered. And other than the odd shimmy through the steering column, body ridgity was so good, considering this is a long car with no roof structure, that the claimed 40% increase in torsional stiffness over the previous A5 Cabriolet might just be a statistic worth believing.  

And while it’s not going to fizz your senses like an M Sport-spec 430i, tautened up in Dynamic mode and thrown at a challenging section of bends, the A5 Cabriolet does keep its cool and stays composed, even with some tricky undulations thrown into the mix. The steering is also accurate, if mute, and there was even a moment of promise when, exiting of an off-camber roundabout, the rear playfully rotated with a squeeze of the throttle. Sadly, this proved to be a one-off, and subsequently the A5 just gripped and went, with only tedious understeer if we overcooked it. Still, somewhere in that deeply conservative chassis set-up, there’s potentially some fun to be had, and otherwise it's totally safe and secure.

Otherwise, the A5 Cabriolet is quite fabulous. At speed, its acoustically lined hood is smashing at insulating you from the outside world, and with it down – a process that requires just one touch of a button and is achieved in merely 15.0sec – it’s bluster-free with the windows up, too. So much so that you can chat to your passenger, hold a telephone conversation (it even has microphones in the seatbelts to facilitate this), or enjoy the punchiness of the optional Bang & Olufsen stereo, with ease. 

Should I buy one?

So, fun? Well, that depends on your definition of the word. With this engine, the A5 Cabriolet is probably not shown to best effect. And if you are looking for a convertible with on-the-limit delicacy, then a BMW 430i will serve you better. 

Yet for a car that wafts you around with a sense of je ne sais quoi, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is quite charming. So, for easy, carefree and relaxing fun in the sun, then yes, it is fun.

Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI 252 quattro S line S tronic

Location Spain; On sale April; Price £45,630; Engine 4 cyls inline, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 249bhp at 500-6000rpm; Torque 273lb ft at 1600-4500; Kerb weight 1710kg; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto; 0-62mph 6.3sec; Top speed 149mph; Economy 43.5mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 149g/km, 28%; Rivals BMW 430i Convertible M Sport auto, Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line auto

Join the debate

Comments
19

23 February 2017
....and I quote: "Sadly, this proved to be a one-off, and subsequently the A5 just gripped and went, with only tedious understeer if we overcooked it." If Audi actually made cars that were FUN to drive imagine how many more they would sell.....
Steam cars are due a revival.

23 February 2017
Needs bigger wheels for sure...

23 February 2017
Externally anyway....just looks a bit longer.

23 February 2017
Some comment about comfort in the back seats (roof up and down) required. Otherwise why bother with a 4 seat convertible when there are so many other open top options available?

23 February 2017
I was left rather underwhelmed by this A5 convertible having read the review I have to say, so much so I went looking for the road mentioned early in the review, the B1243, to see if it was a real road and if it was actually any good. A seemingly ordinary 5 miles of 2 lane minor road heading north from Skirlaugh (just north of Hull) and having followed it full length on Google maps street view it does actually look like it might be quite good to drive along. And that's about as excited as it seems possible to get about this A5 convertible.

23 February 2017
I have the current (old!) model of this car (fwd and cvt gearbox though) and it hasn't put a foot wrong. Beautifully built, gorgeous to look at and perfect for fast cruising. It's definitely not a sports car but I need four seats and often drive to Cornwall for the weekend and it excels on fast A roads and dual carriageways. CVT gearbox is frustrating when you need to pull out of a junction sharpish though. I think the photos show the TDi because the petrol engines have twin pipes?

23 February 2017
It's too short, too narrow, too tractor infested and those 90 degree bends are too slow for it to be suitable for a car as large and stately as this Audi. There are several similar roads in this neck of the woods, I think they must follow rectangular field boundaries because the severe 90 degree bend is a common feature. A wary eye must be kept out for oncoming, white line-crossing motocyclists, as well. More suitable is the A169/A170/A171 triangle linking Scarborough, Whitby and Pickering which takes in moors, coast and villages together with good tarmac and which combines all radius of curve with dips and crests aplenty. Further west, the B1257 linking Helmsley and Stokesley is another gem.

23 February 2017
"Nevertheless, it does beg the question: why choose this petrol over the silky charms and even greater frugality of the 3.0-litre TDI 218 V6 diesel?" If you guys haven't realised by now that most of London and the other spiritual homes of this car will not be friendly places for diesel, even new ones (thankfully) within maybe five years I wonder what you're on ?

23 February 2017
plus several thousand pounds and kilos.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

23 February 2017
The v6 is only £300 more, maybe Audi are charging their pricing structure. e.g. there's only around 2%(£1750) price difference between the low output 4 pot diesel Quattro and V6 Diesel Quattro, I can't think why you'd buy the smaller low output diesel.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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