Review: Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017)

Rating:

Acoustically-insulated roof as standard. Lighter yet stiffer than previous model. Beautiful build. Great all-round ability

Looks very much like its predecessor. Rivals are more fun to drive. S line sports suspension is a bit uncomfortable.

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Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017): At A Glance

Audi knows better than most how to stick to a winning formula. And the A5 Cabriolet it does exactly that. This all-new car arrived in 2017, though like its coupe relation it deviated little in style from its predecessor.

It might not be radically different to look at, but underneath Audi has worked extensively on its structure, making it lighter, yet stiffer, to the benefit of refinement, economy and handling. It’s a little bit bigger, inside, too.  

Very deliberately retaining a fabric roof, to help distinguish it as a cabriolet, the A5 is rich in detail and high on desirability. Underlining that is Audi’s standard offering of a range of hood colours, with four no-cost choices of Red, Black, Dark Grey and Brown. 

Whatever the colour, that roof stows at the touch of a button - folding out of sight in just 15 seconds and raising in 18 seconds. Its integration is beautifully executed, whether up or down. Open, it reveals a cabin that, true to Audi form, is a paragon of material quality, sophisticated design and operational ease.

There’s space for four adults. Just. The rear seats come with limitations in legroom, while headroom with that roof up is also limited. The bootspace suffers, too, but buyers of convertibles understand the compromises they bring, and even then, with the A5 Cabriolet they’re relatively few.

The engine line-up cherry picks from the A5 Coupe line-up, so there’s a choice of 2.0-litre petrol and TDI models, as well as a 3.0-litre TDI. The Cabriolet doesn’t get the more economy-focussed 1.4 TFSI or TDI Ultra versions that the coupe is offered with.

Trim levels are familiar to anyone who’s ever opened an Audi brochure, with a few revisions. SE isn’t offered, instead the Cabriolet following its Coupe relative and only coming in either Sport and S line. All come with alloy wheels, 17-inches on Sport, S line gaining 18-inch ones, as well as slightly more dramatic exterior styling pack, LED headlights and taillights, as well as Audi’s dramatic ‘dynamic’ rear indicators. 

Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI 2017 Road Test

What does a Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017) cost?

List Price from £34,790
Buy new from £26,289
Contract hire from £253.51 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4626–4640 mm
Width 2020–2029 mm
Height 1380–1383 mm
Wheelbase 2765 mm

Full specifications

It's difficult to get inside an A5 Cabriolet and not be immediately wowed by the fit, finish and materials. Audi is very much the leader in its class in this respect. What’s impressive is that it’s more than eye candy and a tactile treat, those being underpinned by an inherent correctness to the way the controls are positioned and the configurability of it all.

You’d have to be uncommonly tall or wide not to find a perfect driving position, the seats hugging you with enough suggestion at sportiness, without grappling your love handles like a race seat. Supportive and comfortable, then, which pretty much sums up the A5 Cabriolet.

That’s even partially true of those in the back. While it’s undeniably a little bit more claustrophobic back there thanks to the thicker elements of the hood’s structure than the Coupe, there’s space for normally proportioned adults.

That’s as long as the front seat passenger and driver don’t lounge in their front pews like they’re poolside. The boot loses capacity, but 380 litres is enough to take the obligatory golf bags or a couple of sensibly packed suitcases.

Being a premium model there’s a decent standard equipment count, which can be significantly added to with some essential extras. Plus some show-stopping kit like Audi’s cool Virtual Cockpit.

It replaces the conventional dials with a configurable 12.3-inch colour screen with all the nav, info, media, telephony and driver assistance details within the instrument pinnacle area. Neat as it is, it’s not cheap in isolation, so add it via the Technology Pack option which bundles it in with other desirable kit. 

There is the availability of a head-up display option, as well as various option packs for safety equipment, improved audio and technology all of which are worthwhile adds for the best value, richest specification mix. Be warned, get reckless with your check-box ticking and you’ll be significantly poorer, it often better to start with a higher trim model and add less to it, than spec up the entry-level one. 

Standard equipment from launch:

SE specification has twin leather upholstery, Audi drive select, Audi parking system plus front and rear sensors, pre sense city and 17-inch alloy wheels sporting a fifteen-spoke design.

Sport models also come equipped with MMI Navigation and a three-month trial of the Audi connect portfolio. Front Sport seats that are electrically adjustable also include four-way electric lumbar support. Rounding off the enhancements is an LED interior lighting package.

S line versions have a wheel size increases from 17 to 18 inches with a five-spoke Twin star design, and LED headlights with LED rear lights and dynamic rear indicators are complemented by a host of signature S line styling details. Inside, S line sport seats upholstered in leather/Alcantara with S embossing lend a suitably sporting air. Lowered and stiffened Sport suspension is the automatic factory fit for S line versions, but Audi offers the option to deselect to a ‘comfort dynamic’ suspension set-up biased more heavily in favour of ride suppleness at no extra charge if preferred.

Child seats that fit a Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017)

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What's the Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017) like to drive?

Audi claims the A5 Cabriolet is the lightest and stiffest car in its class, that class largely comprising of the BMW 4 Series Convertible and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet.

This stiffer platform is more beneficial for refinement and economy, rather than handling. That isn’t to say that the A5 Cabriolet isn’t an enjoyable car to drive, it just lacks the more focussed driving appeal of its German rivals.

Where it unquestionably gains is in its roundedness. More than either its Mercedes-Benz or BMW competitors it has an ease of use that’s deeply impressive. Indeed, the A5 has always had a sort of junior Bentley Continental GT feel to its make up. Quick, refined and capable, all while surrounded in a finely executed interior.

That remains the case here, indeed refinement is impeccable. The acoustically damped hood meaning it’s near coupe-like aurally with the hood up, while roof down the A5 manages draughts very well indeed.

To maximise interior serenity with the sun above you you’ll need to utilise the rear wind deflector, which does deny you the use of the rear seats. Even without it at speed you’ll feel the gentle breeze of the outside inside, rather than the full brunt of a Category 1 hurricane.

With the engine line-up’s outputs starting at 190PS with both the 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol and TDI four-cylinder choices, allowing a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds (in either manual or auto) with the TFSI petrol, or 8.3 seconds with the 2.0-itre TDI.

Choose the 2.0-litre TFSI with 252PS and you’ll not only gain a standard seven-speed automatic and four-wheel drive, but shave 1.6 seconds off the 0-62mph time to just 6.3 seconds.

The 3.0-litre TDI is offered in either 218PS or 286PS outputs, the latter coming with an eight-speed automatic, these reaching 62mph in 6.8 and 5.7 seconds respectively.

If you want anything faster you’ll need the S5, its 354PS turbocharged V6 seeing it able to cover the 0-62mph dash in 5.1 seconds.

That S5 is the sharpest offering to drive here, it offering the option of Audi’s Sport Differential to make it even more dynamic. With it it’s quick and capable, though, like its lesser relations here, it still doesn’t quite thrill like its key rivals. That arguably makes the standard models more appealing.

The S line is visually so, as well as regarding its specification, though be sure to tick the no-cost option box that replaces the brittle standard-fit Sport Suspension for Comfort Dynamic Suspension.

Do that and you’ll find the A5 a fantastically capable car, whatever engine you choose it with, though the 2.0-litre TDI units are difficult to ignore for their mid-range urge and more palatable real-word consumption figures over their petrol counterparts. Even if they're hardly pleasant on the ears with the roof down.

Traction is good with all, even the front-wheel drive models. And while it might not thrill in the bends, you’re unlikely to ever find it lacking in grip and ability. A fine all-rounder, with looks and a cabin that remain very much at the top of its class.  

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 TDI 190 quattro S tronic 58–60 mpg 7.8 s 122–127 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 S tronic 61–63 mpg 8.3 s 118–122 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 47–48 mpg 7.9 s 136–137 g/km
2.0 TFSI 190 S tronic 48–50 mpg 7.9 s 127–131 g/km
2.0 TFSI 252 quattro S tronic 42–45 mpg 6.3 s 144–149 g/km
3.0 TDI 218 quattro S tronic 55–58 mpg 6.8 s 128–134 g/km
3.0 TDI 286 quattro Tiptronic 48 mpg 5.7 s 153 g/km
40 TDI quattro S tronic - - 127–143 g/km
40 TDI S tronic - - 126–143 g/km
40 TFSI - - 138–140 g/km
40 TFSI S tronic - - 139–140 g/km
45 TFSI S tronic - - 160 g/km
S5 2.0 TFSI 354 quattro Tiptronic 35 mpg 5.1 s 177 g/km

What have we been asked about the Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can you recommend a nearly new four-seat convertible?

Can you please recommend a nearly new four-seat convertible (fabric or folding steel roof) that is good in terms of reliability and value for money?
You can't go wrong with an Audi A5 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet. Both have premium interiors and shouldn't have any major reliability issues. They're not cheap, though.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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