The new Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet isn’t what you could call a sports car. Instead, it’s a desirable, comfortable drop-top that boasts slick looks and affordable engines.
It’s got four seats and a surprising amount of practicality which will make it appealing to buyers who need room for their kids. The listing price might be on the high side but running costs are family friendly.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet review.
On The Road
The A5 Cabriolet has never really been one that enthusiasts go for. It’s always been fairly quick but it’s never been what you could call a driver’s car. This time around, Audi say they’ve stiffened up its structure by 40% and improved its body control to make it more enjoyable to drive.
It’s also lighter than its predecessor, with the result being that it now drives a lot like the A5 Coupe. However, despite being more accurate, the steering is still numb and lifeless. On the other hand, body lean has been reduced to almost nil and there’s plenty of grip available, with or without Quattro four-wheel-drive.
Adaptive Comfort Suspension comes as standard and it helps to soften up Audi’s notoriously firm ride. That said, it doesn’t improve the driving experience, even if you switch to Sport mode. Moreover, the car ultimately lacks the Coupe’s stiff roof that makes it so easy to tackle bends at pace. With that in mind, this is something all Cabriolet’s of this size struggle with, and Audi has at least made efforts to improve things.
In terms of the engines, a 2.0-litre diesel unit kicks things off. It develops 187bhp and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in 7.8 seconds. It’s not the quietest engine, and its four cylinders will rattle on startup, especially on cold winter mornings. But if you want to keep costs down and go cruising, it’s a good option.
The engine also comes with an S-Tronic automatic ‘box that changes fast and smoothly.
The other diesel in the range is a six-pot 3.0-litre TDI unit that develops 215bhp, and which completes the 0-62 dash in 6.8 seconds. It’s a lot quieter than the entry-level engine and produces a livelier, more suitable exhaust note. We like it.
Neither diesel can be specified with a manual gearbox.
Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet Interior, Design & Build
It’s an Audi, so what do you expect other than an impeccably put together cabin? The A5 is essentially the classy A4’s sibling and gets treated just as well by Audi. The ride is smooth for the most part, the three-layered roof’s insulate is further enhanced by internal sound panels, and the car feels lovely and warm when the roof is up.
When the roof is down, the wind deflector helps to keep the noise down and even on the motorway it’s possible to hold a conversation. The roof raises in 15 seconds and can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph.
As ever, the dashboard is one of the finest around. It’s tastefully and smartly designed and comes with the brand’s Virtual Cockpit. However, as excellent and modern as this interface is, it makes the nearby infotainment display look dated.
Overall, the interior reminds us of the Coupe’s and there are plenty of useful touches, including a neck-warmer and seatbelt-mounted Bluetooth microphones.
Is the Audi A5 Cabriolet practical? If practicality is your biggest priority, you wouldn’t be looking at a convertible in the first place. If, however, you want a convertible and need a respectable amount of usability, it ticks a lot of boxes.
There’s now more rear legroom although headroom is still a tad restricted. Those upfront have plenty of room and Audi have added a number of accessories to make the car more practical. For example, you can now take your bike along.
The boot is impressively sized (if awkwardly shaped) and measures 380-litres. Take the roof down and that drops to 320-litres.
Equipment & Safety Of The Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet
Standard kit across the range is generous, with the entry-level model getting 17” alloys, Audi Drive Select modes, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, three-zone climate control and heated front seats.
The Sport model adds an LED interior lighting package, electrically adjustable front sports seats and an MMI infotainment system. The S Line model rounds things off with 18” alloys, LED headlights and lowered sports suspension.
The roof, meanwhile, comes in either brown, dark grey, black or red. If you want, you can specify your car in metallic white.
In terms of safety, the A5 Cabriolet hasn’t been crash tested and probably won’t be. It shares a lot of its structure with the strong A4 saloon, which was awarded all five stars when crash tested by Euro NCAP. Its standard safety kit includes a city pre-sense autonomous braking system, front and rear parking sensors, while active cruise control is an optional extra, as is road-sign recognition.
Costs Of The Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet
Prices for the new car start out from £38,080 and rise to £52,510. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 2.0-litre diesel engine is, unsurprisingly, the most frugal. It returns 60.1mpg and emits as little as 118g/km of CO2. If you need more power, the bigger 3.0-litre TDI diesel adds two extra cylinders can still return a reasonable 57.6mpg while emitting 128g/km of CO2. Both models cost £140 a year to tax for now, while the diesel sits in insurance group 41.
Pros and Cons Of The Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet
Measuring 380-litres, this is the biggest boot in its class.
With the roof up or down, the A5 Cabriolet is remarkably refined.
The entry-level model returns over 60mpg, while even the biggest diesel can return over a 57mpg economy.
Not Very Sporty
It might look sporty but it lacks sharpness on the road.
Expensive To Buy
Its engines are affordable to run but you’ll have to get past the £38,000 + price tag first.
Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet vs Mercedes C-Class Diesel Cabriolet vs BMW 4 Series Cabriolet
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet review.
Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet vs Mercedes C-Class Diesel Cabriolet
The Mercedes C-Class Diesel Cabriolet is a stunning four-seater that’s refined and comfortable.
Like the Audi, the Mercedes is less of a sports car superstar and more of a comfy cruiser. Not the slippers and socks kind, of course; it’s sexy as hell and there are high-performance AMG versions available.
For Mercedes, the C-Class Cabriolet was all about providing the driver and their passengers with as smooth an on-the-road experience as possible. Of course, that’s not always easy with a convertible, but if you stick to the softest suspension setting, the car flows nicely.
In terms of the engines, the C250d diesel unit will be popular. Its 2.1-litre four-pot engine produces as much as 201bhp, which is enough to get you from rest to 62mph in 7.2 seconds. Like the Audi’s entry-level engine, its four cylinders are a bit on the noisy side and don’t really suit the car’s otherwise refined persona.
The smaller C220d model is your other diesel option. It’s powered by the same 2.0-litre engine but its output drops to 168bhp. Unlike the Audi, you’ve got a choice between a 6-speed manual ‘box and a 9-speed automatic. The differences in their 0-62 times are marginal, but the automatic is slightly quicker, covering the sprint in 8.2 seconds and 8.1 if you add four-wheel-drive.
The C220d model is the most frugal in the range. It returns 62.8mpg if you specify the manual transmission (the automatic is a bit more expensive), while CO2 emissions range between 116g/km of CO2 and 121. The C250d model, meanwhile, is an automatic only and returns 61mpg while emitting 121g/km of CO2.
Inside, the Mercedes’ elegant interior is a proper rival to the Audi. The design is modern, the materials used are of a high quality and there are lashings of aluminium, leather and wood here and there.
Is the Mercedes C-Class Diesel Cabriolet practical? It’s again on par with the Audi and as far as upmarket cabriolets go, this is almost as practical as things get. There are four seats, a reasonable amount of storage space and a 355-litre boot. However, that drops sharply when the roof is lowered to 260-litres. It’s not the most practical of shapes either.
Audi – £38,080 – £52,510
Mercedes – £36,945 – £51,880
Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet vs BMW 4 Series Cabriolet
The new BMW 4 Series Cabriolet is more fun to drive than the Audi and almost as practical as the 4 Series Coupe.
That said, although it’s a bit more engaging than the Audi, it’s also not an out-and-out sports car and it can’t offer the same involved driving experience as its Coupe sibling. It’s not as quick but its suspension and steering have both been enhanced, and it’s easily the convertible of choice for enthusiasts.
In terms of the engines, the 2.0-litre diesel impresses. It develops as much as 187bhp, which is enough to get you from a standstill to 62mph in 8.1 seconds. That’s pretty fast, if not as fast as the Coupe.
Other diesels to choose from including the 430d and the 435d, but they’re pricey and expensive to run, returning 48 and 51mpg respectively. The 2.0-litre diesel doesn’t fare massively better, but returns of 55.4mpg are respectable for a car of this type. That said, the Audi’s entry-level engine is much cheaper to run. Meanwhile, it emits 119g/km of CO2.
Inside, the BMW is almost identical to the 4 Series Coupe. Its dashboard is well put together and easy to use, the brands much-praised iDrive infotainment system is present and correct, while the driver’s seat offers lots of adjustabilities.
Insulation is good for a convertible, while nice touches include the stitching that surrounds the instrument panel. However, we’d still say the Audi has the classiest interior.
Is the BMW 4 Series Diesel Cabriolet practical? Legroom is great up front and not bad at all in the rear, access to the rear is good but legroom will be tight for taller adults when the roof is down. The boot is bigger than last time and measures 370-litres, but that’s still a bit shy of the Audi. Moreover, it drops significantly to 220-litres when you take the roof down.
BMW – £39,205 – £52,665
Verdict Of Our 2018 Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet Review
The biggest question buyers are faced with is whether they should go with the A5 Convertible or the A5 Coupe. The former makes an interesting case for itself. It’s got the USP of the drop-down roof, but it’s also got the added bonus of refinement. It’s not short on usability either, while its cabin was never in question.
However, it’s not as fun to drive as the Coupe and it’s on the expensive side. The Audi A5 Diesel Cabriolet or the Coupe? The choice is yours.