31st May 2016
Presented by Will Titterington
Looking for an objective review of the Audi A5 Cabriolet? We’ve got you covered, from engines to lease deals.
The brand new Audi A5 Cabriolet might be cool, low-slung and roofless half the time, but it’s still a practical car that proves useful in everyday life on the road. It’s suave, stylish and delivers a luxurious interior that’s every bit as plush as many an Audi cabin is these days. If it’s a relaxing driving experience you want from a convertible, this ticks a lot of boxes.
And if you buy your cars according to the image that they have and the one they project, the A5 cab is an attractive proposition. The badge appeal here is immense, while its sporty looks give it an edge over its rivals.
And whereas previously, it was the perfect companion for those lazy Sunday days as you weaved through winding country roads without a care in the world, Audi have injected it with a bit more devil this time around so that it’s more of a driver’s car.
OSV takes a look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet review.
“Driving without a care in the world” would probably sum up the driving experience of the previous A5 convertible. However, Audi wanted it to appeal to driving enthusiasts this time around. It now has more character, thanks to better body control and a new structure that firms up the suspension.
Its new platform has helped to trim 40kg from its kerb weight. As a result, you’d find it hard to tell it apart from the Coupe variant once you fire it up. With that said, it suffers from the same flaw as the Coupe – lifeless steering.
On the other hand, the steering is accurate, and you can bomb into corners without having to worry about body lean. Meanwhile, grip is available on tap – especially if you get it with quattro four-wheel-drive.
Audi’s are notorious for their stiff ride, but we’d argue that, despite the stiffer suspension setup here, the A5 Cab still isn’t firm enough at times. This is especially true when you tackle trickier bends and end up wishing you were in the coupe as the body judders.
In terms of the engines, the range is armed with plenty of power. The base-level 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine delivers up to 187bhp, which is enough to rocket you from rest to 62mph in 7.8 seconds. It packs four-cylinders, which can be a bit of a nuisance on colder days as they rattle like a tin can. Not exactly the kind of noise you want when you’re cruising.
If you opt for the 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine you get an extra pair of cylinders, which gets rid of most of that noise while adding a thunderous exhaust note. It delivers up to 215bhp, which is enough to rocket you from a standstill to 62mph in 6.8 seconds.
Petrol heads get the option of an economical 2.0-litre engine that delivers 187bhp, comes paired with an S tronic automatic gearbox, and can get you from 0-62mph in just under 8.0 seconds. There is also a 249bhp variant of the 2.0-litre engine available, and it comes with quattro. This bolsters the car up, and the engine covers the 0-62 dash in just 6.3 seconds.
However, if that doesn’t sound urgent enough, how about the crackling S5 model? Powered by a 3.0-litre TFSI 329bhp engine that fizzes like a firework, it can launch you from standstill to 62mph in just over 5.0 seconds.
Inside, the materials used to put the cabin together are all of a high quality, while the design is both smart and functional. Build quality, as ever from Audi, is excellent, and the A5 rivals the A4 when it comes to comfort and overall interior quality.
The dashboard is now slicker than before, and can boast a smart, crisp design that is easily one of the best in this class. However, the infotainment display looks dated. This is not necessarily that it is dated, or that it would look dated in isolation – it’s more the fact that Audi have added a brand new Virtual Cockpit to the dash that is strikingly modern.
In the meantime, the A6 is preparing for a makeover that should include a refreshed infotainment system. Expect the A5 to follow suit down the line.
The A5 convertible comes with an acoustic fabric roof, and this will reduce external noises (which can get really bad) with its several layers. Wind, tyre and road noises would all be otherwise intrusive.
The fabric roof also gives it one noticeable advantage over its metal hard-top rivals, which is that the boot is easier to use. The roof takes up a lot less space, and when it’s up the boot measures 380-litres. Lower the roof, and you still get 320-litres.
It must be said that the boot is shaped awkwardly, but it’s a small complaint when you’ve got class-leading space.
The roof also comes in handy whenever you’re caught out by a sudden rain shower, too, as it can operate at speeds up to 31mph and it takes a matter of 15 seconds to go up or down!
The cabin itself is spacious and usable, though rear legroom may still be an issue with taller adults. However, it’s better than last time. There are plenty of handy storage spaces in here, such as a huge glove box and a number of cup holders.
This is an expensive car, but standard equipment is largely generous. Each model gets leather upholstery included in the listing price, while the base-level model comes with rear and front parking sensors, and 17” alloys.
The Sport model makes it easier to use the MMI infotainment system, and also gets a nice LED interior lighting package, and power-adjustable sports seats. If you want a sportier experience, the S Line is worth a closer look. It comes with plenty of lush S Line touches, including the S insignia embossed in the Alcantara and leather seat upholstery, as well as firmer suspension.
The roof, meanwhile, comes in a choice of colours, which include dark grey, red and black. You can also get the car in metallic white, an option the Coupe version doesn’t get.
Prices for the new car start out from £34,350. If you prefer to lease, deals start out from as little as £390 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of running costs, the cheapest engine to run is the 2.0-litre diesel unit, that can achieve fuel economy returns of 60.1mpg. Its emissions, meanwhile, stand at 118g/km of CO2.
The 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine is a good option if you’re a low-mileage driver, and can return 47.9mpg when paired up with the manual gearbox. If you opt for the automatic ‘box, you can improve those numbers to over 50mpg.
The new A5 Cabriolet rewards keener drivers who want a proper experience on the road. It’s still not as mesmeric as the 4 Series, but issues such as soft suspension have been addressed.
As with all Audi’s, the A5 convertible is built to last.
You won’t get many better cars at this price point. The engines, despite packing a huge punch, deliver impressive economy figures, too.
Handling is better, but if you want a premium handling experience, check out the BMW 4 Series.
Adding the classy Virtual Cockpit System really has made the infotainment system look dated. It doesn’t suit the overall feel of the cabin, and looks out of place.
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet review.
The brand new BMW 4 Series Convertible is hip, great to look at and pretty much just as usable as the coupe from which it’s derived.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this car is that it just isn’t as much fun to drive as most other BMW’s. The brand have stopped using their “ultimate driving machine” moniker, and a car such as the 4 Series Convertible could well have prompted that decision. It’s decent enough to drive, but it’s not as entertaining as the coupe version.
One of the reasons for this is the extra weight that the roof system brings with it. It limits both handling and performance. It is, however, sharper to drive than the Audi.
Still, the 4 Series Cabriolet is nippy. The 2.0-litre diesel engine delivers up to 181bhp and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in 8.2 seconds, while the 428i does the same sprint a whole two seconds faster.
The 435i is the engine covered in glory, though, and can do the 0-62mph dash in just 5.5 seconds before maxing out at 155mph.
The 4 Series is an economical, provided you avoid the high-powered top-spec engine. Other than that, the 2.0-litre diesel engine can achieve fuel economy returns of 58.8mpg while emitting 127g/km of CO2. For dyed-in-the-wool petrol heads, the 428i engine is quicker than the diesel, and can average 40mpg while emitting 159g/km of CO2.
The hard-top roof might put a dent in handling and performance, but at least it keeps the interior nice and quiet. Speaking of the cabin, the one here might not be as luxurious as the Audi A5’s, but there are some really nice touches and features that make it worth a closer look. The brand’s widely praised and easy to use iDrive infotainment system is present, the seats are supportive and comfortable, and the dashboard is logically set-out.
This is a fairly usable car, but there are a few issues on the practicality front, and they’re mostly directly related to the roof system. It comes as no surprise that the convertible roof reduces rear headroom and limits the boot at 370-litres. That’s fractionally shy of the one in the Audi, but it’s 20-litres bigger than the old 3 Series convertible’s boost.
Audi – £34,350
BMW – £35,000 – £49,600
The new Mercedes E-Class Convertible is an elegant and supremely charming convertible that’s comfy with the roof up or down.
Like the other two cars in this review, the E-Class Cabriolet is not really a pedal-to-the-metal sports car. It’s more of a cruiser that’s luxurious and easygoing. Just perfect for those lazy Sundays when you want to enjoy a bit of sunshine and a light breeze on your face.
Out of the three cars we’re taking a look at in this review, the BMW is the sharpest to drive. If you’re an enthusiast, you’ll probably want to overlook this Mercedes. It’s refined and composed, but it’s far from entertaining. Other pluses included accurate and well weighted steering, as well as good ride quality.
There are two petrol engines on offer. An E400 is backed by a V6 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged power plant that can do 0-62 in 5.3 seconds, while a much slower E200 comes powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that does the same dash in 8.3 seconds.
There are a couple of diesel engines in the range, including a 2.1-litre E220 BlueTEC that can do 0-62mph in a rather leisurely 8.2 seconds. We like this engine because it suits the cars character so well. It’s performative, and it’s also economical – fuel economy returns of 57.7mpg are very good.
However, if running costs are not a huge priority of yours, the rapid E400 might remain an alluring proposition, despite being able to return 39.2mpg at best.
The Mercedes E-Class Convertible is fitted with sports suspension, but it still offers a comfortable interior. The diesel will rattle noisily when your roof is down, but they make most of their noise when you first fire them up. With the roof raised, the cabin is hushed and comfort is assured. With the roof down, the interior remains largely draught-free, thanks to the Air Cap system.
The dash is plain. Compared to the Audi’s plush interior – as well as most other modern Mercedes’ – it’s uninspired and lacks imagination. It also comes without an infotainment system, and as a consequence there’s plenty of buttons to get your head and eyes around.
This is not a convertible that will reward you with much practicality either. Its boot is smaller than both the Audi’s and the BMW’s, while space in the rear for two adults is cramped.
Mercedes – £42,000 – £50,000
The new four seater drop-top from Audi is markedly different to the last model in terms of how it performs on the road. There’s more life and character to it this time around, and the driving experience complements its sporty looks and desirable image.
Audi knew they had to offer better handling and more performance this time around if this car is to be your number one choice. Throw in all its previous good attributes, such as good economy, a Hollywood interior and effortless style, and the new Audi A5 Cabriolet should have enough to thrust its way to the top of your shortlist.
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