Audi A5 Cabriolet (2016-2020) review
The Audi A5 Cabriolet is the second generation of the drop-top A5. With turbocharged engines and quattro all-wheel drive, it goes into battle with the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet and the BMW 4 Series Convertible.
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The Audi A5 Cabriolet aims to be many things to many buyers, all at once. It’s one part comfortable convertible, one part four-seat GT car and offers just enough practicality so it isn’t too much of a compromise to the buyers trading in larger cars. What’s more, it has to offer the cutting edge technology and flawless build quality Audi’s become known for.
Its overall proportions haven’t changed much compared to the previous model, but subtle nips and tucks here and there have made sure it still looks contemporary. To our eyes, the haunches over the wheels and the broad six-sided grille lend the A5 Cabriolet some extra aggression missing from the last model.
As desirable as the exterior styling is, the interior is even better. All materials used are of great quality, even in places you don’t usually see or touch. Equally, the solidity with which the trim pieces are screwed together would make a Brunelian bridge blush – it’ll be many thousands of miles before you get a squeak from any trim pieces.
All engines offered in the A5 are smooth, powerful and refined with the only tangible difference being the severity with which they push you into the seats. If you just want to cruise and don’t need hot-hatch-baiting performance, either of the entry-level engines – either a petrol or diesel both with 190hp – is more than powerful enough to feel relaxed on the move.
On the road, the A5 strikes a really pleasant balance between controls that feel responsive and sporty, but also light enough that driving never becomes a chore. Similarly, the A5 Cabriolet goes down the road with impressive composure and with excellent body control, while also rounding off the edges of the very worst bumps and tuning road patter down to a minimum.
Equipment is plentiful with even entry-level SE-trimmed cars getting 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, climate control, driving modes, an infotainment system with Bluetooth interface, and a range of safety aids including collision avoidance and post-collision brake assist.
With its great interior, comfortable ride, strong engines and convertible roof, the A5 Cabriolet might be the best car in the class
If you’re in the market for a four-seat convertible that offers a sporty-yet-comfortable driving experience, an exquisite interior and an incredibly desirable image, the A5 Cabriolet offers it all in spades. Its driving experience is nearly a match for the BMW 4 Series Convertible yet it offers more comfort, while its cabin feels nicer than the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet and features a better infotainment system.
In fact, there’s very little the A5 Cabriolet gets wrong – it’s not cheap and, while the controls are perfectly well tuned, they don’t offer the kind of immediate feedback the sportiest cars in the class do. Apart from that, however, anyone looking for a car like this would be foolish not to at least give it a test drive.
To see what sort of offers are available on the A5 Cabriolet, go through to our deals page.
The Audi A5 Cabriolet will take a couple of passengers in the rear seats, even with six-foot adults in the front, but as with any cabriolet, the boot capacity shrinks noticeably when the roof is down
I'd love to find fault with the A5 Cabriolet, but there really isn't anything it does wrong: it's one of the most spacious and practical soft-tops
The A5 Cabriolet has plenty of space up front for two passengers but those in the back won’t feel too hard done by. Even with a six-foot-tall driver, a similarly sized person can sit behind with only the slightest of contact between their knees and the front seat back. Equally, changes to the cabin layout mean there’s more shoulder room so rear passengers won’t have to rub shoulders.
Again, there’s enough headroom in the back to limit complaints from occupants although, if you find yourself transporting a particularly tall group of passengers, you can simply lower to roof to take advantage of the infinite headroom on offer.
Cubby spaces don’t extend much beyond the usual selection of a decent glovebox and average-sized door bins. That said, the centre console can be fitted with Audi Phone Box that boosts your mobile phone signal using the car’s antenna along with wireless charging.
The A5 Cabriolet has a fairly useful 380-litre boot with the roof up. Like many convertibles, lowering the roof requires you open an extra box in the boot, reducing volume noticeably but, to make life easier in the A5 Cabriolet, this process is now automated. A switch inside lets the owner manually lower the box so they can check whether they’ll be able to open the roof with the luggage they’ve loaded.
If you’re looking for super-sharp driving dynamics, a race-car-like ride and driftability on tap, the A5 Cabriolet isn’t the car for you.
All engines are smooth and relaxed – you just pick how much power you want
Entry-level A5 Cabriolets feature a 190hp 2.0-litre petrol or a diesel of the same power. Both are smooth and have enough power to make the A5 feel relaxed at a cruise and perform overtakes on the motorway without complaint. Neither will force you into the seat back with much ferocity, however, so the more powerful engines make a better pairing.
Those after a more powerful petrol get a choice of the same 2.0-litre tuned up to 252hp – this model is admirably quiet, even under hard acceleration and has a wide torque band helping it feel surprisingly sprightly.
Our favourite units, however, are the 3.0-litre diesel V6s – we’ve driven the more powerful 286hp version and its monstrous reserves of torque really suit the powerful-yet-relaxed character of the A5 Cabriolet. A lesser 212hp will be offered from launch but we expect this unit to feel just as luxuriant with only a slight reduction in full-throttle power.
At the top of the hill – until the RS5 appears –is the S5 Cabriolet. This uses a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol engine with 354hp that helps the car hit 62mph from rest in 5.1 seconds. This version is unquestionably fast but the gap between it and the lesser engines is small so we’d be tempted to save the cash and get one of the regular units with some nicer options.
If you simply enjoy driving on regular roads without feeling the juvenile urge to try to crash into every tree in pursuit of emulating your favourite rally stars, the A5 Cabriolet might just suit you perfectly.
Its controls are very well tuned. The slow steering that made the old model feel so cumbersome has been replaced by an entirely new setup that’s much faster, helping the car feel agile and reducing the amount of arm flailing when you come to park it. Equally, the steering is light and linear in response – although we occasionally found the optional variable rate steering’s responses to be slightly unpredictable. Good on-centre feel means you don’t need to make lots of small corrections to go in a straight line.
Body control also massively impresses – the A5 Cabriolet strikes an enviable balance between comfort and controllability that is at once engaging and relaxing on the move. Big bumps are felt in the cabin but the edges are never harsh while patter from uneven road surfaces is deftly tuned out. Overall, the ride quality blends a sense of smoothness with reassuring limpet-like grip.
Entry-level models come with a rather pleasant six-speed manual gearbox but any of the automatic options suit the A5 Cabriolet even better. Most midrange models get a seven-speed twin-clutch auto while the top-spec S5 and the 3.0-litre 286hp diesel get an eight-speed traditional auto. The setup on both units is excellent with only modest pedal travel required to produce decent acceleration, helping all engines feel relaxed on the move.
Refinement from the car was excellent with nearly no engine noise from any unit while cruising and very little tyre roar or suspension thumps. Wind noise around the roof does build up at fast motorway speeds but doesn’t force you to raise your voice to hold a conversation. Similarly, it’s possible to have a chat at speed with the roof down, if not exactly comfortable.
Like so many recent Audi products, the A5 Cabriolet’s interior is beautifully built, stylishly designed and laid out with a meticulous attention to detail making it a great place to while away the miles