Audi S5 Cabriolet
Not even the snow can put us off giving storming drop-top a workout as it arrives in UK!
BY opting for a folding fabric roof, Audi has retained the A5’s glorious silhouette, increased boot space with the hood down and maintained refinement, even at motorway speeds. The supercharged V6 punches as hard as the Coupé’s V8, while improving efficiency. It also provides a gorgeous soundtrack. Although options on our car took its price tag close to £50,000, the basic model starts from around £30,000.
With the recent freezing temperatures, a rugged off-roader might be higher on your shopping list than a convertible.
But quattro four-wheel drive, space for four and better refinement than ever mean the new A5 Cabriolet is more suited to the snowy conditions than you’d imagine! In storming S5 guise, it offers sports car thrills, and great looks, too – roof up or down. Audi has married the A5’s curvy body perfectly with the folding fabric hood. BMW’s 335i Convertible might be the most stylish folding hard-top currently on sale, but it can’t compete with the Audi’s svelte lines. Sitting low on its sports suspension, with aluminium-effect wing mirrors and 19-inch alloy wheels, the flagship S5 looks amazing.
But it has lots more to offer. An extended wheelbase means there’s room for four, plus a class-leading 320 litres of boot capacity with the roof down. Split-folding rear seats boost load space to 780 litres.
Push the key into its slot beside the steering wheel, and the star attraction of the S5 is undoubtedly its engine.
It uses the same 328bhp supercharged V6 as the S4 – although the S5 Coupé will continue to be sold with the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8. The Cabriolet’s 440Nm torque figure is the same as the Coupé’s, but the V6 returns better economy and lower emissions.
It’s immediately clear that dropping two cylinders hasn’t hindered the S5’s pace. It sprints from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds, while the instant supercharged punch of the engine is linear and strong. And without a roof between the exhausts and your ears, its full vocal range can be heard. The V6’ soundtrack is still no match for the V8’s burble, but full throttle upshifts on the superb, quick-shifting DSG gearbox are accompanied by a snort from the tailpipes that you’re sure to want to hear again and again.
Our car was fitted with the full Audi Drive Select package, which allows unprecedented adjustability. You can tailor the steering feel, throttle response, sports differential and ferocity of the gearchanges via three pre-set modes – Comfort, Auto and Dynamic. Alternatively, an Individual mode allows you to choose the precise setting for each. Despite firm suspension, even in Comfort mode, the chassis is supple enough to deal with uneven surfaces, while light steering and gentle responses from the accelerator and gearbox are perfect around town.
But when the road opens up, you can play with the dials and enjoy minimal body roll, split-second cog swaps and feel the differential sending power to the outside rear wheel as it pushes you through the bend. It’s doesn’t offer the same amount of fun you get in a BMW, but the feeling of solidity and the all-weather benefits of four-wheel drive more than compensate.
There’s no doubt that this is the most stylish cabrio Audi has ever produced, and in S5 trim, it has the firepower to match.
Rival: BMW 335i Convertible Thanks to its taut chassis, the 3-Series is ahead of rivals when it comes to driving dynamics, while the 3.0-litre twin turbo engine is a real cracker. On the downside, the three-piece metal roof, which certainly looks the part, compromises boot space badly.