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Modern convertibles are far more reliant and practical than earlier versions - they are no longer cars for cheery, sunny occasions but can handle rough weather as well as their hard-top counterparts. The all-new A5 Cabriolet has been designed to be just that type of car.
This combination of the car’s heated seats, unique neck warmer, wind deflector and with all four windows powered up make for a comfortable drive. Slow down to below 50kph and with the simple touch of a button, the roof folds the roof up in 18 seconds flat.
Audi’s 25 years of soft-top experience with the B3 Cabriolet shows the minute you set foot in this car. Just like the first-generation A5, the latest model is also available in coupé, five-door Sportback and Cabriolet body styles. This car’s even available in a sporty S5 variant with an even more potent RS5 set to be added to the line-up later.
On the outside
The A5 is a particularly handsome car, the lines are typically Audi - clean and superbly proportioned. What makes this car refreshingly modern is the detailing in the design – it features finely contoured headlights, a more three-dimensional grille and the sharp, wave-shaped shoulder line give a truly contemporary look. At the back, there’s a distinctive spoiler lip and the slender rear lights get LEDs. The reflectors tucked into the rear skirt look neat as well.
On the inside
The cabin looks like it does in the A4 – with it following a logical and functional layout. Sure, it’s not as flashy as some of its rivals, but the A5 Cabriolet is a leap ahead in terms of quality of materials used. The cabin’s plastics, switchgear brushed with metal finishes and leather upholstery (Alcantara on the S-line) of an exceptionally high standard.
Sitting in the centre of the cabin is a 7.0-inch dashboard-mounted display with the latest high-res graphics interfaces with Audi’s MMI infotainment system. This isn’t a touchscreen unit though, you have to control it using the usual rotary dial on the centre console. In the instrument panel sits Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – a 12.3-inch multifunctional instrument screen, which is a big hit amongst Audi owners but are an optional extra. Other expensive options are the xenon lights and a Bang & Olufsen speaker system boosted by a 16-channel amplifier.
Even though practicality and space aren’t first priorities for buyers in this category, this car though, scores surprisingly well on both fronts. It’s easy to squeeze four adults inside and there two dedicated air vents for rear-seat passengers. There’s no need for passengers at the back to slouch under the fabric roof in this car - the roof neatly folds into the boot without eating too much luggage space – its 320 litres with the roof in and 380 litres with the roof up.
This car is available with three engines - a base 2.0 TFSI (252hp) petrol and a 2.0 TDI (190hp) diesel, whilst a 3.0 TDI (218hp) sits at the top. Audi will introduce an additional pair of engines – a lower powered 190hp 2.0 TFSI and a stonking 286hp 3.0 TDI a little while after the car’s international launch.
From behind the wheel
The car you see in these pictures is the A5 with the 2.0 TDI engine. This 190hp, four-cylinder diesel will also be locally assembled in India. This engine is very refined – Audi has worked hard to suppress noise level. Sure, you can occasionally hear that four-cylinder diesel rattle when you put your foot down, but otherwise, it’s really quiet. And even when you’re driving at 120kph, and wind blast overpowers everything else, you don’t have to raise your voice to chat with the person sitting beside you. There’s no need to shout if you’re talking on the phone via Bluetooth either - Audi has stitched a microphone into the seatbelt for better clarity. Put the roof up, and the car feels as refined as a hard-top – barely any noise filters through. The fabric roof has been beefed up with sound deadening insulation.
The engine’s meaty mid-range whisks you forward to high speeds in no time. There’s initial hesitation from the seven-speed S tronic gearbox but once it responds, there’s a seamless, uninterrupted tug forward. The 3.0 V6 TDI was punchier and felt even quieter – it even came with a more appealing exhaust note. The 3.0 TDI is a second quicker to 100kph (6.8sec) than the 2.0 TDI (7.8sec). But this car is about cruising and the 2.0 TDI has all the power you’ll need.
The A5’s chassis has been stiffened considerably with thicker sills, beefed-up suspension strut domes and extra cross bracing throughout the car – a side effect of removing the roof. These added reinforcements have pushed the weight up to 1,690kg for the base 2.0 TDI.
This car is predictable and feels fail-safe to drive - the quattro all-wheel-drive is an added safety net. Ride quality is brilliant and mess with the settings of the adaptive dampers to find the right setup for where you are. The steering, though precise, feels a little numb.
Is it worth the money?
Overall, the A5 Cabriolet is no sportscar – it’s a classy and supremely comfortable tourer. Now that the A3 Cabriolet has seen increased demand, Audi will most likely launch the A5 Cabriolet in India later this year.
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