Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet: first photos

Published: 03 December 2008

Audi today ushers in its replacement for the A4 Cabriolet – the A5 Cabriolet. It's a new name and a new number for yet another new model in Audi's universe. No prizes for guessing it's a convertible version of the A5 coupe with room for four and a soft top that arcs down in 15 seconds.

Audi is sticking with a folding fabric roof (available in four colours), where rivals such as BMW and Lexus prefer a robotised metal lid. Raising the hood takes a further two seconds, expanding boot space from 320 litres to 380 with the top up. Roof operation is naturally fully electric and works on the move at speeds of up to 31mph. Perfect for inclement British summers.

What engines can I order in my A5 Cabrio?

Pick between seven different motors, headed by the S5 Cabriolet's supercharged 328bhp 3.0-litre V6. The starter model – priced from around £29,500 when UK sales start in April 2009 – will be the 160bhp 1.8 TFSI. Click here for CAR's first drive of the S5 coupe.

Also expect a brace of diesel units (a 2.7 TDI and 3.0 TDI) in the A5 Cabriolet range, while you can merrily confuse Audi's configurator with a baffling choice of front- or four-wheel drive, new electro rear diff, six-speed manual, CVT and seven-speed S-tronic twin-clutch gearboxes. Transmission oneupmanship, or what?

And gadgets galore?

Sort of. Audi has adopted Merc's Airscarf-style tech for all-seasons open-top driving while the MMI multi-controller upgrades to the third iteration for even easier button mastery/confusion (delete as applicable). Naturally, the new A5 cab range is available with a full suite of blinding LED light options for those who like to flaunt it and the leather seats can be specced with a new solar-reflecting finish.



So is the new Audi A5 Cabriolet simply a chop-top version of the A5 coupe?

In a nutshell, yes. And don't forget the A5 is merely a two-door coupe A4 saloon in drag. But we'd be first to admit the A5 is a mighty fine looking car that has really grown on us... It won't be the last A5 spin-off, either: a more practical A5 Sportback is mooted too.

The new soft-top measures 4630mm long, 1850mm wide and 1380mm tall – all measurements within a few millimetres of the coupe. Audi makes great claims for the folding roof, saying it is one of the most robust and quietest hoods in the sector, and Audi has used some of its aluminium expertise with a few parts – such as the bumpers – made from the lighter metal to trim weight and make up for the steel reinforcement elsewhere.

In the event of a rollover, spring-loaded aluminium braces rise from behind the rear head restraints, while there are airbags stuffed into the doors to protect heads and chests in a side impact. It's even quite practical for a soft-top, with split-fold rear seats.

Shame they didn't fit a folding hard-top...

Ingolstadt argues the A5 Cabriolet's roof is the most compact in the sector, robbing 60 litres of bootspace when stowed. And it's fitted an array of customer-comforting gizmos to stave off any complaints: those solar-reflecting leather seats can lower the surface temperature by 20C, claims Audi, while the Airscarf-style seat heaters can be cranked up to three different speeds.

The S5 (blue car pictured above) is capable of hitting 62mph in a bouffant-troubling 5.6 seconds, on its way to a limited top whack of 155mph. It comes as standard with 18-inch wheels,  but many punters (the posers?) will upgrade to bigger rims all the way to 20in items. The S5 cab is likely to top out at £42,000.

It seems Audi is going convertible crazy, with the new A3 soft-top, this new A5 Cabriolet and the forthcoming R8 Spider all launched within a year.

>> Has Audi hit the mark with the new A5 and S5 Cabriolet? Click 'Add your comment' and have your say

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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