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Audi A5 Cabriolet 2018 review

Does the A5 Cabriolet gain anything by losing the roof? And is open-top driving all it's cracked up to be?
EXPERT RATING
7.4
It's a battle of heart versus mind as Audi's A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI takes on weekend family duties. Will the thrill of open-air motoring outweigh the practicality drawbacks of a four-seat convertible?

It is perhaps only in the weird and wonderful world of cars where the less you get, the more you pay. Two-door coupes are almost always more expensive than their four-door equivalents, and should you opt to remove the roof as well, you can expect the price tag to climb even further.

So, less car equals more money. Weird, right? But, though my experience with convertibles has been a little limited, I've always thought a drop-top is probably worth the extra investment - remove a roof and gain a new and special driving experience. Not a bad trade. And I‘m willing to bet there are plenty of other convertible-curious drivers out there, too.

And so to test this theory, my weekend wheels belong to the A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI 2017. Priced at $83,400, it's the cheapest of the three A5 drop-tops in a line-up featuring the Quattro ($95,000) and smile-inducing S5 ($119,111).

The A5 Cabriolet's relaxed character is perfect for lazy Sunday open-top driving around the suburbs. The A5 Cabriolet's relaxed character is perfect for lazy Sunday open-top driving around the suburbs.

With three kids under 11 to taxi around, the A5 Cabriolet's two doors and four seats should present quite the dilemma – I say 'should', as the thought of open-top driving trumps pretty much any practical concerns I might have. What's more, this entry-level model comes jam-packed with plenty of standard kit. But more on that later.

So, does the A5 Cabriolet gain anything by losing the roof? And is open-top driving all it's cracked up to be? The kids and I had the weekend to find out.

Saturday

Our schedule was a mixed-bag of destinations, including dance rehearsal, a birthday party and shopping.

Hard stuff first; I think this is probably the least best-looking of the A5 family, courtesy of its slightly awkward roof line. Note I said "least best-looking", because it's still pretty fetching, with a distinctive design that gives it a serious amount of road presence.

Boot space at 380 litres is pretty reasonable given the soft top can take up much of the room. We were able to jam all our luggage in there without having to resort to using the back seat and still retract the roof. Result.

The thought of open-top driving trumps pretty much any practical concerns I might have. The thought of open-top driving trumps pretty much any practical concerns I might have.

Despite looking like it could rain at any moment the kids wasted no time in reaching for the touch button to retract the roof - 15sec later and we are ready for open-top driving. Audi advises it can be operated at speeds of up to 50km/h, and an unexpected downpour gave us the chance to happily confirm this claim.

The two seats in the rear provide enough room for the kids with the roof down, but became a little too cosy with the roof up. Our longest journey over the weekend was one hour, about as long as you want to cram anyone in there for, and that goes double for two cranky kids. Rear-seat creature comforts include air vents with temperature controls, two cupholders and a slot under the armrest for a mobile phone.

The cabin is unchanged from the Coupe, oozing premium with quality finishes and fixtures peppered throughout. It's an incredibly pleasant place to be, particularly if you happen to be riding up front with leg and headroom aplenty.

It sits on 18-inch alloys. It sits on 18-inch alloys.

Cabin ambience is not something convertibles with fabric roofs have been known for, but not so with the A5. Audi has done a remarkable job of locking out the world outside, managing to block out much of the traffic and engine noise to make for a surprisingly calm cabin with the roof up.

Parking sensors (front and rear) and a reversing camera made light work of the Woolies car park. Given the car's poor visibility out the rear (thanks to large C-pillar) with the roof in place, their assistance was welcome.

  • Cabin ambience is not something convertibles with fabric roofs have been known for, but not so with the A5. Cabin ambience is not something convertibles with fabric roofs have been known for, but not so with the A5.
  • Boot space at 380 litres is pretty reasonable given the soft top can take up much of the room. Boot space at 380 litres is pretty reasonable given the soft top can take up much of the room.

Sunday

The weather was set for blue skies and copious sunshine – the kind of day convertible owners dream of. Our destination was the weekend markets on Sydney's northern beaches.

Under the A5's hood sits a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine that produces 140kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1450rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a sharp seven-speed automatic. A claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.9sec is 0.5sec slower than its Coupe counterpart, and 1.6sec slower than the mid-range Quattro Cabriolet.

The cabin is unchanged from the Coupe, oozing premium with quality finishes and fixtures peppered throughout. The cabin is unchanged from the Coupe, oozing premium with quality finishes and fixtures peppered throughout.

The Cabriolet's more moderate acceleration is courtesy of an extra 225kg in weight (compared to the Coupe) it's carrying, mostly in roof mechanicals and body strengthening. That said, a clever mix of strong and light materials means this Cabriolet manages to come in 40kg lighter than its predecessor.

Weight aside, acceleration is smooth and composed, able to propel the four of us forward in comfort with minimal effort. It felt planted around the corners and incredibly comfortable over the lumps and bumps.

Given this is the base model, it's worth pointing out what you get for your $83,400. Sitting on 18-inch alloys, our weekend test car came with three-zone climate control, Audi's 12.3-inch 'Virtual Cockpit' digital dashboard and an 8.3-inch, nav-equipped multimedia system that operates a 10-speaker stereo.

An 8.3-inch, nav-equipped multimedia system operates a 10-speaker stereo. An 8.3-inch, nav-equipped multimedia system operates a 10-speaker stereo.

Other goodies include leather (heated up front) seats with electric adjustment, keyless entry and start, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, neck-level heated vents and cruise control.

The A5 Cabriolet's relaxed character is perfect for lazy Sunday open-top driving around the suburbs, and made me wish I had more time behind the wheel. It's one of the rare occasions where I arrived at my destination with a greater sense of calm then when I left. Top down driving in this car is a therapeutic experience.

Fuel consumption for the weekend, according to the trip computer, was 8.9 litres/100km after around 320km of mostly city and urban driving. Quite a bit thirstier than Audi's claimed 5.9L/100km combined.

Under the A5's hood sits a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine that produces 140kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1450rpm. Under the A5's hood sits a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine that produces 140kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1450rpm.

Verdict

Cruising around in a convertible with the top down in Summer is surely one of the greatest driving experiences you can have. The A5 Cabriolet dials up the pleasure factor, providing a refined and serene experience for drivers and passengers alike. Family practicality be damned; I'm a convertible convert.

Would you have an A5 Cabriolet as your summer cruiser, or would you prefer a C-Class or 4 Series? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$72,880
Based on 45 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$60,880
Highest Price
$79,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $66,880 – 76,890 2018 AUDI A5 2018 45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPRT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $63,890 – 79,990 2018 AUDI A5 2018 2.0 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPRT Pricing and Specs
2.0 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $60,880 – 75,999 2018 AUDI A5 2018 2.0 TFSI S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $85,030 – 97,790 2018 AUDI A5 2018 45 TFSI QUATTRO S TRONIC SPORT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.4
Dan Pugh
Marketing Director

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Pricing Guide

$71,880

Lowest price, based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

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