- We like...Style, ride, comfort
- We don't...Extras cost a fortune
New soft-top is a peach to drive and a pleasure to spend time in. But is it the best upscale cabrio that you can buy?There are two ways to come at a cabrio. The first is to be led by your heart. And, if you’ve even a drop of petrol in your soul, you’ll be entranced by Audi’s new A5 cabrio.
Looks are subjective but, for us, it is one darned handsome car. Using the same under-pinnings and engines as the A5 coupe, it’s sensibly sized on the road, and to seat four big adults in fair-enough comfort.
The second is to keep a cool head and weigh the car carefully against its key competition. Here, that’ll be the BMW convertible and Mercedes-Benz’s CLK cabrio. Which offers most for your cash and – crucially – which will lose least cash come trade-in time?
Let’s deal with that now. If it ds as well as the A4 cabrio which it replaces (and it should), the A5 will lose value more slowly from new than any rival. And, regardless of which engine you pick, it pretty much nails the benchmarks across the class for fuel economy, low CO2 emissions, speed and power.
It is also beautifully made. What’s more, if you go for the top, S-line model we drove, you get a special sound-deadening hood that, when raised, keeps noise magically outside. It’s almost as hushed in the cabin as a metal-roofed A5.
We drove one with the 3.0 turbodiesel engine and all-wheel-drive quattro drive-train. It’s a costly car and, if you ladle on extras as ours had, including sat-nav and a top-line music system, the price reaches a giddy £48,000. But, if you’ve the money there is plenty to savour. First thing you notice is how the S-tronic auto gearbox swaps ratios seamlessly and quickly.
Then there’s the way that all-wheel-drive lays power to the road, just getting on without drama. You’ll also marvel at how such a quick, all-wheel-drive car (it’s the fastest accelerating diesel soft top you can buy) can still manage up to 41.5mpg. Meanwhile, the steering is direct and easy to pinpoint, while the ride is remarkably supple given the S-line’s big alloy wheels and narrow-walled tyres.
Top-down, windows up and the cabin is civilised for driver and front passenger, even without the wind deflector fitted across the rear seats. If the weather changes, the hood gs up or back in 17 sec or quicker. And you can even work it while the car’s moving, if below 30mph.
And the good thing about a soft-top is that, unlike cars that have a folding metal top, the boot is as big when the roof is stowed as when it’s in use. In the A5’s case it is generous enough for a couple’s holiday luggage and well-shaped, too.
It’s a good car. But while the 3.0 diesel is desirable, its price means it is only for the seriously wealthy. Happily, at the lower end of the model line-up, there’s a 2.0-litre petrol turbo. Team this engine with standard trim and you have much of what’s good about the A5 cabrio, but with a far sweeter price tag.
You won’t get such a plush cabin or as many treats aboard. But you will see our favourite piece of A5 kit: a little loop that whirrs out to ‘hand’ you the seat belt once you’ve settled behind the wheel and turned on the ignition. It scuttles back once the belt is clicked home. Lovely. And beautifully thought out. Just life the rest of the car, really.
Read also: Audi A5 review on motors.co.uk
To view and buy new and used Audi A5s and Audi A4 cabrios, click on to motors.co.uk
- Engines3.0-litre diesel
- 0-60 mph6.4secs
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: