For a sun-drenched nation, we don’t buy many convertibles.
Two reasons spring to mind. It’s often so damn hot you fry while driving and convertibles are often saddled with too many compromises for the sake of top-down motoring.
Putting the frying to one side, the Audi A5 Quattro Cabriolet isn’t compromised and retains the graceful body lines of the A5 coupe, making it a real head turner.
Before spending a week with the Audi A5 Quattro Cabriolet I wasn’t that keen on swanning around with only the sky above my head.
However, it didn’t take long before I found myself scooting out the door on several occasions to go for a drive to no particular place, but just for the sake of open-air driving Audi style.
My sun-worshipping partner loved the drop-top Audi and I swear I saw her reverse down the drive to the letterbox and back with the roof tucked away.
The Audi attracted plenty of looks and one time I popped into the local shops and noticed a couple staring at the gleaming Audi A5 cab as I headed towards it. Turns out they were Audi owners too, an A3. I offered them a seat to take a closer peek.
They loved the sumptuous leather seats and flat bottom steering wheel. Then I showed them the excellent Virtual Cockpit, the easy-to-use infotainment system unit with Apple Car Play Android Auto, Satnav and Bluetooth, blasted the carpark with the powerful audio system and told them about the adaptive cruise control, the auto lights, auto-parking with front and rear sensors and… I must have sounded like a talking brochure. Before we parted I had to show them the dynamic turn signals and their very cool strobing action.
Like its coupé cousin the A5 Cabriolet Quattro is quite spacious up front, but a squeeze in the back. Unlike some convertibles, the mechanicals of the folding roof doesn’t steal much boot space.
I must admit whenever I slip behind the wheel of a rag top and peel the roof back, I am struck by a sense of calmness, with the stress of the day evaporating as the roof disappears. I find no need to rush, just lope along taking in the sights and sounds.
Having a conversation with passengers or on the phone when topless is no problem in the A5 Cab, with little ruffling or wind noise, even at highway speed.
Under the sculptured bonnet is the same 2.0-litre turbo four in the A4 range. Despite the extra weight built into the Cabriolet body, its 185kW and 370Nm provides enough urge to reach 100km/h from rest in 6.3 seconds and make passing, quick getaways and climbing hills a breeze. Coupled to it are a seven-speed auto gearbox and the famed Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system.
Driver selectable modes run the spectrum from Eco to Individual with Comfort, Auto and Dynamic in between. While I normally dial in the most aggressive settings available to me, that whole convertible serenity feeling is always present which is why I went for Comfort mode with its gentler acceleration, imperceptible gear changes, magic carpet ride and slightly lighter steering.
Arriving at one of my favourite sections of local blacktop over a nearby mountain range I flicked it into Dynamic mode to find out what’s what. Doing so is a Jekyll and Hyde moment as the Audi A5 Quattro Cabriolet becomes a very different beast. The steering requires a bit more muscle and provides higher levels of feel and feedback, the idle revs creep up and power delivery becomes more urgent, the gear changes are noticeably snappier and the ride a lot tauter.
Sitting on low profile 19-inch tyres encasing multi-spoke alloy wheels, there isn’t a lot of body roll, but there’s plenty of grip which the Quattro system takes full advantage of. When asked, the Audi A5 Quattro Cabriolet hooks into bends neatly and precisely, amping up the fun and sensory factors. Flowing bends and switchbacks can be tackled with equal confidence as the A5 cab feels very stable and surefooted.
Audi has loaded the A5 Quattro Cabriolet with plenty of their latest safety tech including with Autonomous Emergency Braking, exit warning, side assist, parking system plus with rearview camera and rear cross traffic alert all standard.
The $95,000 Audi A5 Quattro Cabriolet is quiet, comfy, stylish, and refined. A feel-good car with the charisma of open air care-free motoring that adds a new dimension to what would otherwise be just a drive.
Check out the Audi A5 Quattro Cabriolet details here.