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Audi S5 Cabriolet 2018 review

Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

11 Jan 2018 • 13 min read

When you think ‘family car’, a hot red convertible is not the first thing that comes to mind. But when the Audi S5 popped into my driveway, I wasn’t about to complain. Especially over the holidays. What better car to cruise along the coast in over summer than a bright red convertible with the roof down, sunnies on, music pumping? Exactly. 

But, dreamy Insta moments aside, we’re talking logistics, as that is the job here. How did it fare for a family of four over a two-week period where we had to ferry the children from beaches to friends' houses and family visits with (always) far too much stuff? Here goes. 

How does it drive?

It’s hard to argue with. The motor is loud, the car is heavy, but that doesn’t stop it gunning forward like a wild brumby - it can reach 100km/h in 5.1 seconds. So it's fast. Being a sports car, it accelerates much easier than the usual SUVs I’ve been driving for family reviews.

It handles beautifully with a smaller steering wheel (#Ihavethisthingwithsteeringwheels), corners well and is an all-round wonderful car to drive along like you’re free as a bird without a family or children at all. Except when you see their cute little windblown faces in the rear-vision mirror, of course. Then it comes flooding back.

  • It handles beautifully with a smaller steering wheel, corners well, and is an all-round wonderful car to drive. (image credit: Matt Hatton) It handles beautifully with a smaller steering wheel, corners well, and is an all-round wonderful car to drive. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • It’s powerful, fast and surprisingly quiet with the top up. (image credit: Matt Hatton) It’s powerful, fast and surprisingly quiet with the top up. (image credit: Matt Hatton)

There is a 3.0-litre turbo V6 petrol engine that you can feel as soon as you hit the start button. It’s powerful, fast and surprisingly quiet with the top up.

I felt great driving it in the sunshine with the top down through the streets along various beaches we visited while on holiday. It also fared well on a trip out to Wet n' Wild, and actually fared quite well as a temporary family car.

How easy is it for every day?

Before we get into the practicality of a convertible with two children who are still in child seats (aged four and six), we need to address the fun factor that a convertible brings.

My children thought it was amazing, to say the least, that we could drive with an open roof and even with the wind blowing their hair around and clutching their toys so they didn’t fly away, they couldn’t get enough of it. Neither could I. There’s something about driving around with the roof down that brings a freedom we've only dreamed of.

  • The Audi S5 is a two-door, which the kids didn’t like - losing the autonomy of their own door was something they kept commenting on. (image credit: Matt Hatton) The Audi S5 is a two-door, which the kids didn’t like - losing the autonomy of their own door was something they kept commenting on. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • You can fit two children’s seats in the back, it’s a four-seater, rather than a five. (image credit: Matt Hatton) You can fit two children’s seats in the back, it’s a four-seater, rather than a five. (image credit: Matt Hatton)

That said, leaning in and bending down to strap them in the car was not the easiest. That’s just the fact of the matter with a low car, and it certainly highlights why SUVs are the most popular models in Australia.

The Audi S5 is a two-door, which the kids didn’t like - losing the autonomy of their own door was something they kept commenting on. Personally, I didn’t think it was so bad, as the front seats are so easy to put forward that I could basically climb in and do both child seats up from the one side.

There are no window controls in the back, which when you have the roof down is perfectly fine, but when it’s all closed up, back passengers should be able to control their own windows, so my children said.

There's not a lot of storage for a family and I don’t think I’d be wanting to do long trips in this one. (image credit: Matt Hatton) There's not a lot of storage for a family and I don’t think I’d be wanting to do long trips in this one. (image credit: Matt Hatton)

The top is easy to pop up and down and I marvelled at the mechanics that enabled it all to work within 15 seconds. The only time it doesn’t work is if the boot is so full, it has no space to operate, which did happen to us twice - once with a car boot full of groceries (it was a $420 Christmas shop, so it was really, really quite a lot of groceries as that is not a normal shop for us). The second time was a beach picnic trip and we had blow up floaties that we needed to deflate in order to put them in the back seats instead, so we could open the roof. I mean, clearly, we were taking advantage of having a convertible and wanted to put the lid down at every opportunity.

There are two cupholders in the front and two in the back, with bottle holders in the doors. There’s a small spot to throw keys and a phone, with a Qi wireless phone charger in the centre console. It’s not a lot of storage for a family and I don’t think I’d be wanting to do long trips in this one, though the seats are certainly comfortable enough to sit for a long time.

Back passengers have their own air vent controls with tri-zone climate control.

How spacious is it?

Well, it’s a two-door convertible, so space wasn’t high on the priority list when they were designing this car. But it’s not bad. There’s enough leg room in the front for both me and my 185cm husband. It’s not huge, but it’s an incredible car, so really, who cares?

Oh, the kids. Maybe they cared a tad, and kept asking if we could move our seats forward (my husband in particular). I think they still had enough room though. They’re only little. If I had teenagers who’d inherited my husband’s long legs instead of my little ones, that would be an issue, but for right now, this car did just fine.

You can fit two children’s seats in the back, it’s a four-seater, rather than a five. Again, the point of this car is not to provide space for a family, so you're basically giving up space for a no-roof-sports-car. And we did all fit, beach bags, blow-up pool donuts and all. It’s not what I would describe as spacious, and there are definitely other vehicles that have a bucketload more room, but we made it.

The boot is a good size at 380 litres with the roof up. I was able to fit in full loads of groceries and the aforementioned beach accessories. If the roof is down, there is less bootspace and you’ll find yourself stuffing grocery bags in on the floor of the car.

How does it look?

I’m not sure we have to even go into this. I mean, just look at it. It’s a beautiful car with top down or up. The shape is sleek without falling into rocketship territory, and still looks like a “proper” car. You can just picture it driving along the Italian Amalfi coast, along narrow roads. It has an old-worldly charm to it.

  • It’s a beautiful car with top down or up. (image credit: Matt Hatton) It’s a beautiful car with top down or up. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • My children thought it was amazing, to say the least. (image credit: Matt Hatton) My children thought it was amazing, to say the least. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • There are no window controls in the back, which when you have the roof down is perfectly fine. (image credit: Matt Hatton) There are no window controls in the back, which when you have the roof down is perfectly fine. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • The top is easy to pop up and down and I marvelled at the mechanics. (image credit: Matt Hatton) The top is easy to pop up and down and I marvelled at the mechanics. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • The roof action takes only 15 seconds to fully complete. (image credit: Matt Hatton) The roof action takes only 15 seconds to fully complete. (image credit: Matt Hatton)
  • The shape is sleek without falling into rocketship territory, and still looks like a “proper” car. (image credit: Matt Hatton) The shape is sleek without falling into rocketship territory, and still looks like a “proper” car. (image credit: Matt Hatton)

Inside is just as stylish, with quilted leather seats that seem to have been inspired by the House of Chanel. They are heated both front and back. The steering wheel is small and sporty, just the way I like them, and feels beautiful to touch with that special shape Audi gets just right. It makes the driver feel like it’s been fitted to your particular hands. Very personal.

How safe is it?

The rear-cross traffic alert with braking assistance kicked in at one point while I was reversing out of the driveway. I’m not sure if it was necessary (there was a car driving by and I may have been going a tad fast for reversing, but wasn’t close to the road), but still, it was reassuring that it worked. There are airbags for front and front side, plus ISOFIX points and top tethers for child seats (tip: you need to pop the lever in the boot to get the back seats down so you can install these).

There’s also adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera and a semi-autonomous parking system, and a system that'll warn you if there’s a cyclist about when you're about to get out of the car. There is a pop-up roll bar structure which comes up if the car rolls over, ostensibly to protect heads.

The hardtop model got the five-star ANCAP rating, but they don't safety test convertibles.

What’s the tech like?

The Audi S5 comes with an 8.3-inch multimedia screen and has Apple Carplay and Android Auto - just plug in your phone and you’re set.

The automated display in front of the steering wheel can be configured to meet your needs. (image credit: Matt Hatton) The automated display in front of the steering wheel can be configured to meet your needs. (image credit: Matt Hatton)

There is an automated display in front of the steering wheel that you can change to suit your driving day. A sat nav map perhaps when you need it. Or put the speedo front and centre when you want to. It’s like a fun mix n’ match game you can tailor to your whims.

How much does it cost to run?

The Audi S5 Cabriolet comes in at $119,111. Fuel costs for a 3.0-litre turbo V6 engine are more than usual, and while Audi claims 7.9 litres per 100kms, the CarsGuide reviewers say it will most likely use more than that.

It’s covered by Audi’s standard three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and services are 12 months/15,000km apart.


The Wrap

So admittedly it’s not the most practical family car due to the space in the backseats, the low setting to do up child seats, and the boot space.

But gosh it’s fun.

I don’t think I’d want to be doing the school run in it every day - even though it would be worth it just to see the looks on the other mums’ faces. Having to bend down to do the child-seat belts up would eventually get to me and I doubt I’d be putting the roof down to get the full benefit of the car on a daily basis. Would I?

At this price, it’s just too much to justify the practicality of it as a main family car over an SUV. But if you’re looking for a super fun second car to cruise about on weekends and you just happen to have some spare change lying around, this is a great option.

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 stars out of 10. My children gave it 9 teddies out of 10. They just loved the fact that the roof came off.

Likes

Fun factor
Powerful engine
Beautiful interior

Dislikes

Bit loud for a school run
Lack of boot space when roof is down
Lack of interior space in the back

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

4.5

$119,111

Based on new car retail price

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