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Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI First Drive Review

What is it?

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Why would I buy it?

To enjoy top-down every day driving without compromising on practicality

Why would I avoid it?

If I'm looking for a petrol convertible, because this one comes only as a diesel

Audi A5 Cabriolet

What is it?

The gorgeous topless version of the Audi A5. The soft roof on this two-door sedan sets this version apart from the brat pack of A5s. This convertible A5 is the carmaker's second such offering in line with the good response from the A3 cabriolet. This one, however, is intended for those who want more than just the A3 Cabriolet.

The unique British racing green and the brick red top makes for a very rare combination. And you will love it if you prefer to have a lot of fashion accessories. That said, it isn’t very flashy and continues to display all the elegance of the A5 besides being based on the A4’s platform. So, apart from a few sporty lines and elegant proportions, all of its styling cues and interior features are sourced from its smaller sibling. Audi’s trademarked single frame grille, sharp headlamps, a long hood, shorter overhangs and LED tail lamps are carried over from the A5, thereby giving it a classy look.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

However, it’s the hard fabric roof that turns heads when it is retracted in at the touch of a button. It is stretched over a lightweight kinematic mechanism made of magnesium steel, which can open or close electro-hydraulically in less than 18 seconds, and at speeds of up to 50kmph. The roof gets neatly tucked into some space in the boot giving the vehicle a completely new avatar.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

How is it on the inside?

Audi A5 Cabriolet

This cabriolet’s cabin is, in a way, a good rendition of the one in the Q7. It’s got high quality interiors, MMI plus screen, scratchpad and a sleek dashboard with horizontal architecture, overall. For example, the single long air-con vent and wide instrument panel create a sense of spaciousness in the wide cabin with good shoulder room. There’s a good view of the road ahead and even of the surroundings from inside. Generous use of soft-touch materials adds to the luxury quotient and good ergonomics are paired up with user-friendly controls.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

That said, the electrically adjustable front seats are comfortably wide with appropriate under-thigh support and adequate knee-room. It’s the same story at the rear too, and the seats are supportive with acceptable under thigh and back support. This, coupled with the effectively reclined backrest and the firm seat foam, makes for comfortable long journeys too. The independent rear ac-vents with climate control further make sure that an appropriate temperature is maintained at the rear as well. There is sufficient knee room for all passengers, but tall people might find the headroom in the second row somewhat limited. Also ingress/egress isn’t great with just two doors, especially when the roof is up. Conversely, things change drastically once the top is down and rear occupants can easily walk out of the car without much effort. Nonetheless, it’s perfect for a couple with kids or a pet. Storage isn’t much of a hassle if you carry large soft bags instead of big suitcases. A golf kit can also be easily accommodated as the rear seat folds at the touch of a button in the boot. 

Audi A5 Cabriolet

It’s surprising that this car doesn't get keyless entry, but thankfully it gets electrically adjustable seats, button start, cruise control etc. All of these features add to the convenience like the Parking Aid Plus system with a rear view camera, which makes parking the long car an easy task. Infotainment needs are taken care of by the Bang & Olufsen system that delivers a crisp output clearly audible even with the roof down. On the safety front too, the car is loaded to the brim with four airbags, ABS, EBD and traction control, a tyre pressure monitoring system etc. There are provisions for ISOFIX child seat mounting and the car also gets anti-theft wheel bolts to add to the safety net.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

How does it drive?

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Like the A5 Sportback, this Cabriolet version also uses the 2.0-litre TDI turbocharged diesel engine. Diesel for a convertible, you may ask? But why not, when it's silent and refined. And of course, more economical too. The 188bhp power is delivered quite nicely without really making you realise the cabriolet’s additional 205kg weight as compared to the A5. This powerful motor puts down the 400Nm of torque via the Quattro AWD very adequately from low revs. Sure, it might take some time in its initial sprint, but then there's no torque steer and the mid-range performance is substantial. Thus it gathers speed quickly and remains silent till the redline (4,500rpm).

Audi A5 Cabriolet

As for the transmission, the smooth seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox is tuned well to respond to throttle responses, whether in comfort or dynamic mode. Also, one can alter the steering and engine characteristics further via the individual mode, or just leave this to Audi's Drive Select mode in auto. The Dynamic mode makes the throttle response sharper and adds some more weight to the steering, but it didn't feel so relaxed in the comfort mode, which we stuck to. The latter mode ensured a smoother power delivery with seamless gear shifts and a light steering - the perfect recipe for an unruffled drive. This convertible easily manages to cruise at higher speeds, but that said, laidback driving with the roof down is something we eventually preferred. And this is what most owners will certainly do. Traditionally, we’ve come to expect a petrol power plant to complement this snazzy style of driving, but the refined diesel motor here surprisingly does a good job.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

The suspension settings do not change in any mode and the A5 convertible doesn't get adaptive dampers. But then, the suspension is well-calibrated to absorb bumps without crashing at low speeds. Unless it’s the sharp edged potholes where the suspension can get audible, it’s usually smooth sailing even on bumpy surfaces. As speeds increase, the well-judged dampers absorb the imperfections of the road even better. While there is some up and down movement, it never gets uncomfortable for the occupants.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

This convertible proves to be a good cruiser with an excellent straight-line stability. But did it feel planted around corners, especially with the lack of structural rigidity as against its hard-top version? Well, not that an owner would intend to do hard cornering in this one, but yes, the A5 cab with little body roll was very stable around bends. The Quattro with a smart self-locking center differential kept the understeer on tap. Also, the steering offers sufficient feedback and although not sharp, it took the car in the pointed direction. Besides, the 18-inch 245/40 section tyres are wide enough to stick to the road and provide good grip. They complement the confidence-inspiring brakes that cut down on speeds very well with a good feedback from the pedal. Even when braking under panic situations, the car showed rock-solid composure and remained unperturbed.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Should I buy one?

If you are looking for a diesel convertible this is the only option you currently have in India. Additionally, unless you are going to ferry around six-footers in the second row, you still have a spacious four-seater open-top car that will ensure joy and style while driving with the roof down. It’s lavishly equipped with features and has many stowage options to make it a practical every day car. Moreover, it is also more fuel efficient than any petrol guzzler in this segment. So this means lesser trips to the fuel stations while driving in the city and longer distances to cover out on the highway. This is the most rounded soft-top package available for a family!

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Where does it fit in?

The A5 cabriolet will face competition from the Mercedes-Benz C Cabriolet, provided that the brand introduces a diesel version! As of now, it is only available as a petrol C300, so the A5 convertible enjoys a free run in the Indian market at Rs 67.51 lakhs (ex-showroom).

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Pictures by Kapil Angane

Click here to read about our first drive review of the Audi A3 Cabriolet

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Audi A5 Cabriolet Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 88.69 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 87 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 81.86 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 84.28 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 83.55 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 76.97 Lakhs onwards
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