By: IOL Motoring Staff
It's built on the Volkswagen group's MLB Evolution platform with extra struts in the body and reinforced sills to make up for the absence of a fixed roof. Audi says it's 40 percent stiffer than the previous A5 cabriolet, but up to 40kg lighter, with side airbags and automatically extending aluminium profiles to protect you if you manage to flip it.
It's still a hefty car, though; the lightest derivative, with front-wheel drive and 140kW two-litre TDI, weighs in at 1690kg.
The lines of the profile are derived from those of the coupé, making it 47mm longer than its predecessor at 4673mm overall on a 2675mm wheelbase, with a flatter rear window and shorter overhangs. The fabric roof, says Audi, can be lowered in 15 seconds or raised in 18, at up to 50km/h, with one pull on the switch, and the third brake light is set into the trim strip on the roof compartment cover.
With the roof up, boot capacity is 380 litres, which is however, significantly reduced by a retracting partition that moves down to make space for the folded fabric when you decide you want to drive topless. The bootlid is now power-operated, with the option of foot-wiggle operation.
The cabriolet has all the bells, whistles and driver aids of its two tin-top siblings, including xenon headlights, a drive select dynamic handling system and partial leather seats - with a couple of tweaks that improve life in the roadster lane, such as microphones built into the driver and front passenger's seatbelts for voice control and onboard telephony systems, and a 19 speaker, 755W Bang & Olufsen sound system that recreates concert-hall sound with a second woofer.
The options list starts with Audi's 'virtual cockpit' display in place of the elegant standard analogue instrumentation, and goes on via LED headlights, head-up display and 31cm TFT infotainment monitor until you run out of space on the order form.
Nuts and bolts
The A5 will be available at launch in Europe with a choice of three engines - a 185kW two-litre TFSI, a 140kW two-litre TDI and a 160kW three-litre V6 TDI at - which will later be expanded to match its A5 siblings with a 140kW version of the two-litre TFSI and a 210kW three-litre V6 TDI.
Front-wheel drive is the default option, via a mix of six-speed manual, seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch or eight-speed tiptronic transmissions and quattro all-wheel drive is an option for all variants except the 210kW three-litre TDI, where it's standard issue.
The S5 cabriolet gets the all-new 260kW three-litre V6 TFSI, with an eight-speed tiptronic cogset and quattro all-wheel drive as standard; Audi quotes a 0-100 blast-off in 5.1 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
The new Five Cabrios will be in Eurozone showrooms from March 2017, with prices starting at €49 350 (R740 000) and €67 800 (R1.02 million) for the A5 and S5 respectively. Audi SA has pencilled in the South African release for the third quarter of 2017, with the local line-up and pricing to be firmed up closer to the time.