Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI S tronic 13 | 04 | 2017
Audi gets its top off, but does it set pulses racing with the all-new A5 cabriolet?
AUDI HAS LONG been one of the go-to car makers for anyone keen to buy a cabriolet. From the mid-Nineties B4-generation cabrio, through the Noughties with the A4 cabrio, Audi always has always managed to have a cracking model which looks good with its top off. The latest is the new A5 cabrio. (Related: Audi unveils new 444bhp RS5)
We already know the 2017 A5 is an impressive car, having driven both the A5 Coupe and Sportback, and the cabrio continues the model’s understated, elegant lines and rock solid reputation for quality. (Related: Roadtest — Audi A5 Coupe 2.0TDI 190PS S line)
This latest A5 cabrio is just tad longer, but significantly lighter, by 55kg, than the model it replaces. It’s also far more efficient.
Despite those changes, the soft-top is instantly recognisable as an A5 cabrio, and that’s no bad thing with its sweeping lines and powerful, squat stance.
Now built on Audi’s MLB Evo platform, the new cabrio is available as a 252PS 2.0-litre TFSI petrol, a stonkingly fast £51,835 S5 3.0TFSI 354PS V6 — which will hit 62mph from standstill in 5.1secs and carry on to a max of 155mph — and a 190PS 2.0-litre TDI.
At a time when politicians would have you throw every diesel driver into the river as they continue to point a wavering, accusing figure at said drivers for allegedly being the sole cause of air pollution, there’s a certain irony in the sales of Audi cabrio power plants.
While the S5 and its 177g/km CO2 accounts for 20% of the A5 cabrio sales, and the 2.0TFSI, with 149g/km CO2 takes 30%, it’s the 2.0TDI — with 122g/km CO2 — which accounts for 50% of A5 soft-tops which leave the showrooms.
So, you’ll not be surprised that the model we test here is the A5 Cabriolet 2.0TDI S tronic.
Fitted with Audi’s seven-speed S-tronic ‘box, power is fed to the two front wheels meaning — at least officially — the car’s capable of 62.8mpg. And if you want to beat the steep road tax increases, the range starts below the £40,000 barrier with the entry-level SE. Our S line starts at £41,780.
The S line comes with sport lower-riding suspension as standard, meaning a reassuringly firm ride which, while many criticise as being too harsh, I have always preferred. Audis always feel well-planted for that very reason, and I see no reason to soften the ride whatsoever.
Of course, those who prefer life softer can tweak the ride setting to their preferred setting by using the optional adaptive comfort suspension. They might also want to stick with the standard 18in alloys, rather than the 19in options fitted to the test car.
Everything in the cabin is as per the A5 Coupe and Sportback, meaning class-leading, exemplary build and tactility, plus of course you can have Audi’s clever ‘virtual cockpit’ digital dials. All main functions are controlled via the intuitive, slick MMI system.
Legroom, despite a marginal increase in the wheelbase, hasn’t grown noticeably, but it’s certainly comfortable for two adults in the rear: there’s also decent headroom meaning the A5 Cabrio is a genuine four-seater. There’s also a good-sized boot for a cabrio.
Worth highlighting though that if you decide to go topless, the cabin benefits from having the £300 optional plastic wind deflector in place. It’s a minor phaff to put in place, and once in situ it sits across the two rear seats at shoulder height, meaning the A5 Cabrio instantly becomes a two-seater.
The new roof — Audi has stuck with its tried-and-tested cloth roof formula rather than venturing down the folding metal roof avenue — is multi-layered with acoustic panels to reduce road noise. It can be operated on the move up to 31mph and opens in just 15 seconds. Thoughtfully, you also no longer have to hold the switch to open or close it, just a quick press will do the job.
Out on the open road, the 2.0TDI A5 Cabrio is a mellow, relaxed drive, and perfectly in keeping with the ambience and image the Ingolstadt soft-top exudes. Sure, if you want to hustle on, it’ll meet your demands, hitting 62mph from standstill in 8.3secs. But is that the way you really want to drive a cabrio?
Even pushing to hit the 8.3s mark, the drivetrain and chassis never feel under any pressure or strain. This is a car built for those leisurely wind-in-your-hair moments.
But the A5 Cabriolet also carries a confident mix of space, stylishness and status which very few rivals can consider rivalling, let alone match.
Factor in the huge range — more than 650 miles on a full 54-litres tank — delivered by the economical diesel powerplant; its familiar feeling of solidity and class-leading build quality; plus silky performance which more than meets the demands of the vast majority of owners, and you quickly understand why the A5 Cabriolet is the success it is.
Related: Audi Q4 gets green light
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|Price OTR/As Tested
||£41,780 / £47,805
|Engine / Power:
||4cyl inline, 1968cc, turbocharged, diesel, 7spd dual-clutch / 188bhp
||8.3sec / Max 144mph
||L4673mm W1846mm (excl mirrors) H1383mm / 1690kg
||62.8mpg / 124g/km CO2
||n/a / n/a
||Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line auto, BMW 430i Convertible M Sport auto