Car Review: The new Audi A5 Cabriolet

Audi A5 Cabriolet
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The luxury ride from the german automobile manufacturer provides smooth looks at a reasonable price

The most remarkable thing about the Audi A5 Cabriolet is that it’s unremarkable. This isn’t as negative as it sounds because convertibles with too many standout traits probably won’t be too appreciated by potential owners.

Not traits like “ugly" or “limited daily usability" because the Audi A5 Cabriolet certainly isn’t wanting in those two departments. The crease of its wavy shoulder line is now sharper than ever, which gives even more definition to its elegant flanks. The crisper styling also contributes to it looking less amorphous than its predecessor and more grown-up.

As for usability, well, it ranges from decent to above average. The rear bench legroom won’t please taller folk, but for shorter distances and shorter people, it won’t be cause for too much complaint.

Boot space, however, is surprisingly good – 380 litres with the roof up and 320 litres with the roof down. Crucially, this is usable space, unlike some other convertibles whose boot volume looks good on paper, but flatters to deceive in reality. The Audi A5 Cabriolet’s boot is deep and aside from an odd taper towards the front of the car (necessitated by the roof mechanism), it’ll easily fit several weekend bags.

Aside from the above points, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is about as unobtrusive as they come. From the inside, at any rate. Its younger sibling, the Audi A3 Cabriolet, proved a few years ago that Audi’s current-generation soft-tops are just as quiet as their tin-roofed brethren.

An acoustic lining for the roof sees to it that noise levels are not too far off that of the Audi A5 Coupe. It’s hardly a flashy quality and easy enough to take for granted, until you remember that not until very recently, soft-top convertibles tended to transmit an unholy amount of road noise into the cabin.

Audi has also made great strides in the chassis engineering of the new Audi A5 Cabriolet. Again, this isn’t as noticeable as, say, a new bank of LED lights, new infotainment system or an all-digital dashboard (which it also has, incidentally), but greatly improves the quality of convertible life.

Revel in the vastness.

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Up to 40kg lighter and some 40 per cent stiffer than before, there’s less squirm when running over uneven surfaces and rapid direction changes don’t produce the same movement ‘echo’ from previous generations.

But, and there’s a big “but" here, technology can’t quite magic away the laws of physics. Cracked and/or shoddily patched sections of tarmac (all too common these days) still send a tactile and audible thump through the cabin. And the way its 1,600-odd kilogram heft (some 200kg more than the Audi A5 Coupe) make it seek out and crash into dips and potholes with the fervour of an over-enthusiastic puppy out at the park. And in entry-level trim I tested, with a two-litre 190bhp engine and a comically reedy engine note, is adequate at best. That engine got the job done decently enough in the Audi A5 Coupe, but with the added pounds in the Cabriolet, it starts to wheeze – especially apparent moving off the line.

Of course, outright speed, while a welcome bonus, probably isn’t too high on the list of priorities for your average convertible buyer. Then again, there’s always the Audi S5 Cabriolet should you feel speed is just as important as good looks, though that’s some S$100,000 more than the A5 I tested.

The Audi A5 Cabriolet in base trim here may not be remarkable in any one respect, but its biggest redeeming factor is that it does everything well enough. And that should leave you wanting for very little.

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Published 2nd May 2018
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