In-depth reviews

Audi A5 Cabriolet review

“The Audi A5 Cabriolet is a stylish choice for sunseekers rather than thrill seekers”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Pros

  • Sleek, desirable looks
  • Superb build quality
  • Economical engines

Cons

  • Noticeable body flex
  • Not the sharpest drive
  • Dated infotainment system

Audi and its direct German rivals BMW and Mercedes sweep up most buyers in the four-seat convertible market, thanks to models with a mix of practicality and space while still offering the enjoyment of open top motoring. 

Audi has a long line of cabriolet models going back to the nineties, with various badges until we arrive at the current generation Audi A5 Cabriolet. It’s the sister car of the Audi A5 Coupe, and there’s also a practical four-door Audi A5 Sportback in the range. Key competitors include the BMW 4 Series Convertible and Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet; all three offer fabric roofs without the option of a hard-top.

Buyers wanting a cabriolet with lower running costs may like the A5 for its slimmed-down and simplified range, with a 2.0-litre petrol in three power outputs and the option of a single frugal diesel. 

Although the exterior changes seem trivial, there’s far more to discuss under the surface. Front-wheel-drive and quattro four-wheel-drive versions are available, and a seven-speed S tronic gearbox is standard for all versions. After having the trim levels slimmed down along with the engine options, prices now begin at just under £45,000 making the entry Sport model slightly cheaper than the BMW 4 Series Convertible.

Inside, not only is there a 10.1-inch display, but Audi’s Virtual Cockpit places a 12.3-inch display ahead of the steering wheel that can also provide navigation, somewhat negating the need for the centrally mounted screen. The sleek interior is filled with premium materials and a clean design that shrugs off any suggestion that this generation has been out for six years. There’s plenty of space in the front, but less in the back – although the A5 Cabriolet doesn’t really suffer more than its rivals in this regard.

Comfort is impressive, though. Noise is low even with the roof down, and putting it up is simple and quick when the weather takes a turn for the worst. With the roof up, it becomes almost identical to the coupe, albeit with a little less room in the back. The 2.0-litre petrol has three power outputs, with the most powerful reserved for the highest specification, but even the entry Sport model impresses. Those looking for the larger wheels of mid level S-Line and top trim Edition 1 should note they add noticeable tyre roar.

Rather more disappointing is that a bugbear of the previous A5 Cabriolet doesn’t seem to have been fully addressed – it’s still not as memorable a car to drive as the BMW 4 Series Convertible and doesn’t quite feel as rigid as the A5 Coupe. You can feel a shimmying sensation as the bodywork flexes slightly, too – although this is true of other four-seat convertibles, it’s a disappointment in light of Audi’s claims of increased stiffness.

Despite these criticisms, there’s no doubt that the A5 is a very desirable car. It’s better-looking than ever, with build quality that’s second-to-none. All engine options are now more economical than ever, and although the most powerful is now the 2.0-litre petrol, few will miss the higher powered S5 Cabriolet.

Audi’s strong image means residual values are high, and with service plans available, ownership costs shouldn’t be astronomical. There’s a long list of standard and optional safety equipment, too, and when you factor in its impressive boot, the A5 Cabriolet makes a remarkably sensible soft-top choice.

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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