Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Thanks to the generosity of David Ingram at Audi UK, I have had the opportunity to drive an A5 cabrio for the past week. And to be brutally honest, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It's a 2.0 TFSI (petrol), manual gearbox, and having played briefly with the 'configurator' on Audi's website, it will end up costing not much short of £40,000 if you were to buy one (it's the S-line). Which is about the same as the S4 Avant that I bought exactly a year ago today.

The main problem is that I can't quite decide about convertibles. I had the top down as much as possible, but it was only warm enough to make it a real pleasure on a couple of occasions. That's not a criticism of the car, as much as it is of the English climate. And unlike the R8 Spyder, it doesn't have that jaw-dropping impact on passers-by, which brings me to my second problem... is it an A5 or an A4? Back seat room is less than on my S4, and the luggage space is certainly less. And only specialists in the trademark 'fairy-light' patterns will notice the difference from the front. To me, the A5 sportback and the coupe look a bit special, and that distinctiveness is lost with the cabriolet.

Having said all that, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the car. It performs reasonably (211 PS), and it is a good drive. And it is a very good-looking car, it has a certain elegance about it that gives you a feel-good factor as you drive. The fuel consumption is good and it features many of the clever tricks that you would expect. Auto-stop/start, electronic handbrake, extending seat belt supports, all make the driving experience better. And I was impressed by the courtesy lights for the rear seat passengers embedded in the roof.

I suppose if you do not have the family requirements that I do, then it becomes a very sensible buy. And on the two days of the year when the weather is good enough - it's unbeatable!

The real drawback (and apologies, this may be merely that I couldn't find the right button) was that it seemed impossible to open the boot without removing the key from the ignition and using the remote control to release the catch. I expect there was a button somewhere, but it wasn't obvious, neither to me, nor the man who came to collect the car!

There is certainly something a bit special about convertibles, but I am not sure that they warrant the asking price. Your thoughts welcome below.

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