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.
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.
All engines are smooth and relaxed – you just pick how much power you want
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 The slow steering that made the old model feel so cumbersome has been replaced by an entirely new setup that’s much faster, helping the car feel agile and reducing the amount of arm flailing when you come to park it.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.