New A5 Cabriolet

means fun in the sun

Audi A5 Cabriolet Front
Audi A5 Cabriolet Rear Hood Up
Audi A5 Cabriolet Rear Hood Down
Audi A5 Cabriolet Front Action
Audi A5 Cabriolet Virtual Cockpit
Audi A5 Cabriolet Rear Action
Audi A5 Cabriolet Interior

THE British love affair with convertibles shows no signs of cooling, despite the best efforts of our weather.

And, with classic German efficiency, Audi timed the release of their new A5 and S5 cabriolets to coincide with some of the first proper sunshine of the year.

The new cars share the sharper, more elegant styling of the rest of the updated A5 range and are, Audi says, all new from the ground up.

They're lighter than the old model as well - by more than 50kg - while the body is stiffer and the wheelbase longer. The car is also 8mm narrower, but you're really not going to notice that.

As if designed for British summers, the multi-layered acoustic hood - Audi still favours fabric over metal - opens and closes in less than 20 seconds at speeds up to 31mph. Unlike many other cabrios, it now does it with just one press of the button.

We drove the A5 in 2.0 TDI and 2.0TFSI quattro guise, as well as the range-topping S5, which brings a 3.0 TFSI engine producing 354PS to the party, plus quattro all-wheel drive.

Naturally, the S5 is the stand-out performer on the road, with impressive acceleration (0-62mph in 5.1 seconds) and the sure-footed roadholding you expect from something bearing the quattro badge.

The smaller engines are good, too - and will cost you considerably less than the S5. The entry level 2.0 TFSI manual is a shade over £35,000, while the S5 is a whopping £51,835.

The S5 we drove had an extra £10,000-worth of options, including Sports differential (£1,200), Head Up Display (£900), and Parking Assist Advanced (£1,350). It also had a very expensive ashtray (£50).

All three are enjoyable cars to drive, but the A5 is not a sports car like its sibling the TT, and is at its best sweeping along fast A-roads while the occupants enjoy the comfort and refinement of one of the best interiors around.

Leather seats and interior trim are superb and you can specify Audi's excellent Virtual Cockpit to take care of all the technology - but that will, of course, take the price even higher.

Of the three cars tested, the 2.0 TFSI provides the best balance of performance, comfort, economy and price. But be warned - it may be hard to convince yourself of that if you drive the S5 first.

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