"The A5 Cabriolet comes with Audi's deserved reputation for performance and build quality - convertibles don’t come much classier than this."
Convertibles don’t come much classier than the Audi A5 Cabriolet – but while Audi's biggest convertible is held in high regard for its looks and road presence, it's not a great drivers’ car. That said, it is relatively quiet with the roof up, has four useable seats and a decent boot. Compared to its main rival, the BMW 3 Series Convertible with its folding metal roof, the A5's cloth top takes up less boot space when stowed. It's also cheaper to buy than the BMW like-for-like, and running costs are low in diesel form, especially the 2.0 TDI.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. The A5 suffers from excessive vibration through the seats and steering wheel on poorly surfaced roads – particularly when compared to the BMW 3 Series Convertible. The cabriolet is especially bad for this, and it can feel uncomfortable on all but the smoothest roads. However, the A5 is easy to drive, thanks to its positive controls. The steering is light, but Audi offers its ‘Drive Select’ system as an option, which allows you to alter the steering and comfort settings to your own preference, but none of the modes offered - including a new 'efficiency' setting - offers quite the right balance between the weight of the controls and the ride comfort.
It's a shame that the best feature of the A5 Cabriolet, its acoustic roof, costs extra on lower-priced models. It's essential, because it shuts out much of the road and wind noise. The cabin is big and spacious, but as with the Coupe, rear passenger head and legroom is fairly limited, and when the roof is stowed there's a surprising amount of buffeting.
Audi's A5 Cabrolet is well constructed, and safe too, with hidden roll hoops that spring out to protect occupants if the car should roll. The engines, gearboxes and cabin electronics are shared with the A5 Coupe, which has suffered no major reliability issues. Therefore, buyers can feel confident in this car's reliability.
Audi's decision to use a cloth roof means the A5 Cabriolet is far more practical than the BMW 3 Series Convertible, as the folded top doesn’t take up as much space in the boot. A 320-litre capacity with the roof down is the same size as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Convertible's. It's big enough to hold a set of golf clubs or a couple of big bags, but the boot opening is quite small.
Value for money
The A5 Cabriolet costs more than an equivalent A5 Coupe, but undercuts rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, making it a good value premium soft top. That's not to say it's cheap, but it's a coveted car and will retain its value well. As with all convertibles, the time of year you sell has a big effect, too, with spring and summer commanding the highest prices.
A wide range of diesel and petrol engines power the A5 Cabriolet, and all of them are powerful. The 2.0 TDI diesel is by far the most popular, with 57.6mpg economy and emissions putting it into the £90 per year Road Tax bracket. The 1.8 and 2.0 TFSI turbo petrol engines offer good economy too, but the bigger 3.0 TFSI V6 petrol engine is thirsty and won’t prove as good an investment as a diesel version come resale time.