The S5 looks absolutely fantastic from any approach. It is bursting with technology and the driving experience also lives up to any high expectations too.
The goodEye-catching, muscular design and packed with equipment
The badRide can be a little hard at times
Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet – first drive (2017)
It’s that time of year again the spring is sprung, the evenings are drawing out and there is a glimpse, albeit a slight one, that summer is just around the corner. So it must be the perfect moment to launch a new convertible model.
And that is exactly what Audi has just done. Following hot on the treads of the all-new second generation A5 Coupe and Sportback, the latest A5 cabriolet models offer the very best of open-top motoring – and we Brits simply love the opportunity to get the top down at the first hint of sunshine.
According to the premium German brand, the A5 cabrio has evolved and been built on the strengths of the outgoing model and is new from the ground up. It has shed the pounds so is lighter by 55kgs, it is 47mm longer, 8mm slimmer and has a wheelbase that has increased by 14mm. In addition the car is more fuel efficient.
Once inside, the three-layered fully acoustic hood can be raised in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph and it closes in 18 seconds. And for that little touch of Audi magic, there are microphones in the headrests of the two front seats so that the driver or passenger can enjoy making telephone conversations with the roof down.
The interior has been given quite a makeover and now incorporates all the latest infotainment options along with 30 driver assistance systems. Headroom and shoulder room has been increased and there is an ultra slim profile dashboard with a continuous band of air vents and a 3D inlay that runs the entire width of the dash. Audi’s fabulous virtual cockpit, which allows the driver to alter the display and readouts, is also available as an option.
Standard equipment levels are high with the likes of alloy wheels, twin leather heated seats, LED daytime running lights, Audi smartphone interface, Audi drive select to alter the driving modes, 3-zone climate control and plenty more besides.
The convertible is available with a choice of four or six cylinder engines and can also feature the company’s new S tronic gearbox. Prices range from £35,235 for the entry level A5 Cabriolet up to £51,835 for the all-singing, all-dancing S5 Cabriolet.
We tested out a couple of models on sweeping Warwickshire roads where we were even blessed with a little warmth and above all, no rain. That meant the roof could be lowered, the wind deflector raised and off we popped!
First up was the A5 Cabriolet 2.0-litre TDI 190PS S line S tronic priced at £41,780 (£47,805 with options). This car can reach from 0-62mpg in 8.3 seconds, maxes out at 144mph and according to official figures can deliver a combined 60.1mpg with carbon emissions of 124g/km (on 19-inch wheels).
The first thing to say about the A5 convertible is how beautifully sculpted it looks. There are sharp lines and creases and it looks exceptionally athletic whilst maintaining a certain elegant stance. It’s a car that’s very difficult to walk past without directing an admiring glance towards.
Move inside and the clutter-free cabin is feature rich and looks ultra modern in its layout. Audi has left no stone unturned in its bid to shed the pounds to improve efficiency and even the carpets are made from a lighter material as is the brake pedal which is now formed from aluminium. They may sound like small adjustments but running costs are high on most people’s agenda these days.
Comfort levels within the car are truly excellent and there is room for a couple of adults in the back too with luggage space of 380 litres. The 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats increase that capacity even further.
The test car was powered by a 2.0-litre 190PS diesel engine mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and it performed wonderfully well. On twisting country lanes the road holding was super-grippy meaning it could be pushed into bends with plenty of confidence. The ride was smooth even on the larger wheels and noise levels with the roof raised are kept to a minimum.
The steering is also nice and precise with plenty of driver feedback and the ride comfort levels are high with virtually no body roll.
In busy town centres, the car was a head turner as it cruised along, sashaying its way through the busy traffic and then as soon as the open road presented itself, it simply couldn’t wait to show off to a crowd. The different driving modes mean you can alter the car’s handling and responses, plus paddle shifts allow you to take more control of the gear changes.
Next up was the mighty S5 Cabriolet 3.0 TFSI quattro 354PS Tiptronic priced at £50,350 (£61,190 with options fitted). This model could blast its way to 62mph from a standing start in just 5.1 seconds, redlined at a limited 155mph and it can deliver 36.2mpg on a combined run with emissions of 177g/km.
If it’s an open-top with attitude that rocks your boat, then look no further as the S5 has it all. It looks the business with its dynamic styling, oozes class within the cabin and delivers all the edge-of-the-seat handling you could possibly wish for.
The S5 Cabriolet is a car that can cope with dreary, cold and wet days, but thrives on a heatwave. The acceleration is blisteringly fast and once again, the car is kept firmly on course. This particular model also featured Audi’s all-wheel-drive quattro system for extra grip and it boasted an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission which is super slick and races through the gears. Switch the car into ‘dynamic’ mode for the most brutal ride and handling and when you want a little less excitement there are other modes such as Efficiency, Comfort, Auto and Individual. That said; the car seems happiest in Dynamic along with the driver!
All in all the new A5 and S5 Cabriolet models are a very welcome addition to the Audi 5 line-up. They are beautifully crafted, packed to bursting with techno treats and class-leading safety systems plus they drive like a dream. Now it’s just a case of roll on the summer!
Audi S5 Sportback 3.0 TFSI Quattro S tronic
Providing coupe styling with saloon practicality, the Audi S5 Sportback is the car for any driver who enjoys an active lifestyle and maintains certain levels of quality in their life.
The five-door coupe offers the very best of both worlds with all the power and performance provided by the 3.0 supercharged V6 engine (0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds) and all the superior comfort, space and everyday practicality of a family model.
First impressions are always very important and the beautiful streamlining of the S5 Sportback I tested was immediately apparent.
There was the aluminium-look door mirrors, 20-inch alloys, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights and those ever distinguishable black painted brake callipers bearing the S5 logo – just in case anyone doesn’t recognise the car.
The S theme continues subtly throughout the interior of the vehicle with silk nappa leather seats and trim with the S embossed on the sports steering wheel and silver-faced dials. There is ample space for four adults to travel in comfort and the generously-sized boot accommodates all luggage requirements.
Creature comforts are present at every turn with a high quality Bang & Olufsen audio system with iPod compatibility and CD changer, heated front seats, a parking assist system and adaptive cruise control which is becoming more essential on cars these days with the constant increase in “average speed check” signs on our motorways.
Admittedly, the S5 Sportback is not cheap – the test model rolled in at £48k-plus with all the trimmings, but for that money you do exceptional quality.
And then there is the drive itself. In and around town, it cruises gently through the busy congested traffic. All-round visibility is excellent and parking is made easy thanks to the sensors.
But it’s out on the open road where the real fun begins. The S5 Sportback just loves to show off and to be fair, it has plenty to shout about. The pace and acceleration are both phenomenal and it hugs tight bends like they didn’t exist.
There are even different driving modes to choose from – comfort is just that – a smooth and relaxed ride. Automatic does it all for you and then there’s the dynamic mode which makes the ride more responsive and edgy.
Safety features are also very comprehensive and include anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, traction control, electronic stability programme, adaptive airbags and plenty more besides.
All in all, the S5 Sportback is quite a vehicle – it has power, performance, gorgeous lines and spec levels and comfort we can generally only dream about.
Basically, it’s a car you would be proud to take home to meet your parents.