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Audi A5 Cabriolet 2017 review

Sun-seekers and the image-conscious will love the A5 Cabriolet.
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Audi's biggest, boldest convertible, the A5, will make up just 10 per cent of that badge's total sales, but the Germans don't do anything by halves, and they've thrown everything at the new Cabriolet.

An Audi model roll-out can make Tolstoy's War and Peace seem like quick-and-easy popcorn reading.

The all-new A5, for example, began its considerable journey with the Coupe, launched in March, before the story then continued with the launch of the A5 Sportback in May.

And now the third chapter in the A5 story has arrived, with the new Cabriolet model hitting local showrooms this month. And still they’re not done, with a fire-breathing RS5 to form a fitting finale by the end of the year.

But for now, Cabriolet. The biggest Audi convertible is only expected to make up 10 per cent of Audi A5 sales, but the Germans can’t be accused of rolling the arm over here. The new Cabriolet is up to 40kg lighter than its ageing predecessor. It's 40 per cent stiffer, too, thanks to a clever mix of strong, light materials in its construction.

All of which, Audi claims, ensures it's just as dynamic as its hardtop sibling. And with the same bulging bag of safety and technology kit as the rest of the A5 range, there's no obvious drawback to opting for the droptop.

Audi A5 2017: 1.8 TFSI
Safety rating
Engine Type1.8L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.8L/100km
Seating4 seats
Price from$42,020

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The A5 range touches down in a three-model lineup, kicking off with the entry-level 2.0-litre TFSI S tronic, before stepping up to the 2.0-litre TFSI S tronic Quattro. The range tops out with the performance-focused S5 - an absolute charmer that we’ve reviewed separately here.

The cheapest A5 Cabriolet, though, feels far from a cut-price model. The $83,400 TFSI S Tronic arrives swimming with kit, including 18-inch alloys, LED headlights and an 8.3-inch nav-equipped infotainment system that partners with a 10-speaker stereo. Leather (and heated in the front) seats, three-zone climate control and Audi’s impressive Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3-inch digital screen that replaces the dials in the driver’s binnacle.

Audi’s impressive Virtual Cockpit. Audi’s impressive Virtual Cockpit.

Spring for the Quattro model ($95,000), though, and - as well as more power and all-wheel drive - you’ll add 19-inch alloys, a cooler, flat-bottomed steering wheel and coloured ambient lighting in the cabin.

So, the convertible stuff. The fabric roof will open in 15 seconds (18 secs to close) at the touch of button, either in the cabin or via the key fob, and clever seatbelt-mounted microphones mean you can easily make calls or use the voice-command system with the top down. Clever. And better still, what Audi calls its "neck-level heating" will waft hot air over the back of your neck in winter, so you can stay cosy in the cabin.

The 8.3-inch nav-equipped multimedia system. The 8.3-inch nav-equipped multimedia system.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

There’s no easy way to put this; so let's  be brutal, it just doesn’t look as good as its Coupe sibling. Yes, yes, design is subjective. But sexy is sexy, and the A5 Coupe is a slinky and stylish unit by anyone’s measure. 

It just doesn’t look as good as its Coupe sibling... It just doesn’t look as good as its Coupe sibling...

The Cabriolet isn’t bad looking. Not at all. But it’s the Doug Pitt to the Coupe’s Brad; all the pieces are roughly the same, just put together in a slightly different fashion.

all the pieces are roughly the same, just put together in a slightly different fashion. all the pieces are roughly the same, just put together in a slightly different fashion.

Anyway, the Cabriolet shares the same single-frame grille as the rest of the A5 range, giving the front-end a wide, mean look accentuated by the bulging claw swipes that line the bulging bonnet. That grille is a monster, stretching almost to the edge of each narrow, swept-back headlight, and it gives the A5 Cabriolet huge road presence when you spot it approaching in your rearview mirror. 

The interior is genuinely faultless. The interior is genuinely faultless.

Inside, the interior is genuinely faultless no matter which model you climb into, with quality materials, a thoughtful layout and a sense of premium throughout. 

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

Depends on where you’re sitting. Suffice to say, the best seats in the house are the ones up front, which are spacious and airy (even with the top up) and offer plenty of access to power and USB connections.

The best seats in the house are the ones up front. The best seats in the house are the ones up front.

Front-seat riders share two cupholders, along with door-pocket bottle storage and individual climate settings, and there is plenty of space to stretch your legs out.

The same, though, can't be said for the two backseat riders (it’s a dedicated four-seater), who will make use of cupholders, vents and individual climate settings, but will do so in fairly cramped conditions, with leg room especially tight.

Leg room especially tight in the back. Leg room especially tight in the back.

It’s an interesting boot; wide and very shallow, but with a surprising amount of space on offer. Audi quotes the space at 380 litres.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

Both the TFSI S tronic and TFSI S tronic Quattro share the same four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine, just tuned to produce different amounts of fun.

The cheaper Cabriolet will produce 140kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1450rpm, and it’s paired with a super-slick, seven-speed automatic. Your power is sent to the front wheels.

The cheaper TFSI unit will produce 140kW/320Nm. The cheaper TFSI unit will produce 140kW/320Nm.

The numbers for the cut-price Cabriolet are pretty healthy, too, with 100km/h whizzing past in 7.9secs before it pushes on to 238km/h.

Step up the Quattro model and your outputs will jump to 185kW at 5000rpm and 370Nm at 1600rpm, and unsurprisingly, power is now sent to all four wheels. Those increases have a predictably smile-inducing impact on acceleration, with 100km/h now dispatched in 6.3 seconds, and you can (if your licence is Superman-levels of bulletproof) push on to a limited top speed of 250km/h.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

The non-Quattro model will sip 5.9 litres per hundred kilometres on the claimed/combined cycle, with CO2 emissions pegged at 133g/km.

The extra power of the Quattro will cost you more fuel, with the official number listed at 6.7 litres per hundred kilometres (claimed/combined), while CO2 emissions jump to 154g/km.

The A5 Cabriolet’s 58-litre fuel tank will accept 95RON fuel and up. 

What's it like to drive?   8/10

It’s not often that we say this, but the pick of the A5 Cabriolet bunch isn’t the most powerful S model. And that’s because there’s a real sweetness to the the mid-range Quattro, and better still, it doesn’t actually feel much slower than the more powerful (and more expensive) S model.

Plant your foot and the pickup is immediate. Plant your foot and the pickup is immediate.

The Quattro just feels so perfectly suited to the job. Plant your foot and the pickup is immediate, and the gearbox is such a sweet-shifting gem - especially in Dynamic mode - that it forever feels ready to do your bidding. There's little in the way of lag, either, with the power delivery smooth and constant.

The only thing you'll really miss from the S model is the bass of the exhaust under acceleration, which is replaced by engine noise in the Quattro, and which can make it sound a little harsh when you flatten your right foot.

The truth is, though, there's not a dud deal here. The cheapest, front-drive model might lack some of the spark of the quicker engines, but even on twisty roads it throws up plenty of sticky grip that encourages you to push it harder and harder.

Even on twisty roads it throws up plenty of sticky grip that encourages you to push it harder and harder. Even on twisty roads it throws up plenty of sticky grip that encourages you to push it harder and harder.

It’s quiet in the cabin, too, and with five driving modes as standard kit, you can change the A5's personality at will.

Is the Cabriolet quite as sharp as its hard-top siblings? Honestly, it’s difficult to say, with our test taking place on the kind of rain-slicked roads that would have you double checking your affairs were in order before you set out toward anything even near the ragged edge. But for day-to-day stuff - including the occasional twisting backroad - the difference seems negligible, if not non-existent.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

You're not left wanting for standard safety kit here, which begins with front and side airbags (but not second-row curtains), AEB with pedestrian detection, a reversing camera and a driver-fatigue warning system, as well as front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and an active rear cross-traffic alert warning that will apply the brakes if you ignore the warnings. 

Top up or down, rollover protection will automatically deploy from behind the rear headrests should you suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself upside down.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Like the rest of A5 range, the Cabriolet is covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000kms. Audi also allows you to prepay your maintenance costs for the first three years of ownership at the time of purchase.

Verdict

If you're a wind-in-the-hair type, there's plenty to like about the A5 Cabriolet, which blends the best stuff from the Coupe and Sportback with a slick, fast-folding fabric roof. Yes, the backseat is tight, and you're trading off practicality, but nobody uses a convertible as a family car, do they?

Would you be tempted to take your top off in the A5 Cabriolet?

Pricing Guides

$54,990
Based on 11 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$44,988
Highest Price
$74,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.8 TFSI 1.8L, PULP, CVT AUTO $50,270 – 57,750 2017 AUDI A5 2017 1.8 TFSI Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI Quattro 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $56,320 – 64,680 2017 AUDI A5 2017 2.0 TFSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPRT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $44,988 – 74,900 2017 AUDI A5 2017 2.0 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPRT Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $62,040 – 71,280 2017 AUDI A5 2017 2.0 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Price and features8
Design7
Practicality7
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety8
Ownership7
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$45,999

Lowest price, based on 6 car listings in the last 6 months

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