My point is simply that any car whose cockpit can be opened to sun and stars is never at its best in a British winter.
From the first, our S5 cabrio was a mile-eater. As a breed, Audi’s S models have a reputation for being fast, powerful and undemanding to operate, and these characteristics were immediately shown particularly to suit a biggish, heavyish 4.7m-long 2+2 convertible.
In our rag-top, you tended to cruise smaller roads top down, rather than rushing them as you might do in the coupé.
Many’s the time I’d gather most of a long journey’s miles on the motorway, then take to small roads, top down, for the final 50, enjoying the smells and the swirl of the open air. It might sound fairly slow, but it felt special and it was fun.
Abundant power and torque are important components in the S5’s supreme usability.
The 349bhp and 369lb ft outputs of the 3.0-litre turbo V6 make progress effortless, especially when deployed through an eight-speed paddle-shift gearbox with a perfect ratio for every occasion. At any velocity or crankshaft speed, this car feels ready to go.
As a result, the S5 cabrio’s unfashionably high kerb weight of 1840kg (225kg more than the already porky coupé) matters very little except to combined fuel consumption (35.3mpg) and CO2 (181g/km).
That translates to real-word thirst of between 22mpg and 32mpg, with around 26mpg as a running lifetime average – better than the old pre-2013 V8 figure for the S5 of 23-24mpg, but nothing special.
Another big S5 plus was the spec. Any S5 comes well equipped, but we added a mechanical locking rear diff, a slightly tougher S suspension pack and a £750 B&O audio upgrade.
The £1350 we were charged for an ‘advanced parking assistance’ system seemed excessive, although I’d definitely need the parking sensors and the crystal-clear rear camera that were included.
We could have effortlessly saved £2000 in our car’s total cost of £61,190 by leaving out the smoking pack, the £300 wind deflector (hate them; never used it) and the £950 Dynamic steering, which sets out to please drivers of all statures and abilities by smoothing the effort needed at varying speeds and cornering loads but ends up feeling very artificial.
We bang on a lot about Audi quality, but in the S5’s case, it is justified: in 13,800 miles over nine months, in the hands of seven or eight drivers, nothing altered about this car’s condition (leaving aside one cataclysmic incident I’ll come to).