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The Top Gear car review:Audi A5 Cabriolet
For:As refined and versatile as soft tops come, and handsome enough, too
Against:Slightly crashy ride, image a bit showy
3.0 TDI 245 Quattro S Line 2dr S Tronic
In theory, as good as it gets. In practice, not quite there. With a better gearbox, this A5 would be stunning.
A cabriolet as it should be. Pretty, simple, effective. Perfect.
What we say:
The elegant A5 Cabrio is refined, versatile and slightly characterless
What is it?
Of the gazillion models Audi makes, few are convertibles. The A5 Cabriolet is the most versatile of the drop tops, in that it’s got four usable seats and a slew of engines, ranging from the everyman’s 2.0-litre TDI to the supercharged 3.0-litre petrol in the high-performance S5.
The A5 is one of Audi’s best-looking cars and the Cabriolet version does little to change this. Even an earlier facelift recognised this, by doing very little to change the actual appearance of the car. The big changes came underneath, with new engines and better systems; from the outside, only new headlights with smart daytime running lights give the game away.
But now the A5 is on the way out. Audi has just released the all-new A5 Coupe, and Cabriolet and Sportback versions are sure to follow. Want one of these? Best act quickly before the new one arrives.
The overarching feel behind the wheel of the A5 Cabriolet is of sublime engineering integrity. There’s strangely little to get worked up about, but it just does everything so competently. If, like a big show-off , you cave in to the big-wheeled sportiness of S line trim, expect a slightly jiggly ride, but be assured that nothing in the cabin will rattle as you’re thumping into those winterborn road craters (despite the lack of a hard-top). And what the A5 lacks in outright driver feel, it makes up for with grip and agility – especially the steadfast quattro models.
The A5 Cabriolet has a pretty comprehensive range of engines, which includes a good choice of petrol and diesel motors. At the lower end, there’s a sweet 170bhp 1.8-litre turbo petrol, and a 150bhp 2.0-litre TDI that can average over 60mpg. But our choice is the 3.0 TDI V6, in either power output, which nearly matches the smaller diesel but has more torque and makes a nicer noise.
On the inside
The seat sinks the driver low, accommodating all sizes of fop. The unglamorously designed dash is intuitive, though it feels better value the lower down the food chain because fancier versions aren’t really trimmed in a more exotic fashion.
Overall it’s just about capacious enough to work as family transport because there’s space for child seats in the back, and the boot is a family-hatch-sized 320 litres – although the aperture is small. Special mention to the acoustic roof, too – the best option in the list, it compresses outside noise with tin-topped skill.
With a range stretching from a bog-standard 1.8-litre TFSI to a thumping supercharged S5, finding your A5 Cabriolet shouldn’t be an issue. Go for the partner-pleasing 2.0-litre TDI (because of the fuel bills, you understand) and you’ll be fine, because the VED and fuel bills are firmly in family hatchback territory. But we’d still try and stretch for the smoother-sounding 3.0-litre diesel, if for no other reason than the massive thump it has from 1,500rpm. Spec it for resale, too – a manual with no sat nav won’t have you fighting the punters away. For this reason we’d put up with the S line’s ride, because used car buyers prefer it.