Does the sun really shine on the new Audi A5 convertible?
If you’d bought an Audi A5 then you probably did so with an appreciation of its Germanic build and quality. If you had to think of key words then ‘fun’ would probably not be one of them. But if you’re going to buy the Cabriolet version then you probably want a smiley face rather than a solemn nod of the head.
A grudging smile ought to be elicited by any prospective buyer when they see that this latest version is a whole 55kg lighter than its predecessor, with 22bhp and 15lb ft more power and torque to go with it.
In theory, some wind in your hair motoring sounds just right for a modern petrol engine but the TFSI 252 is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, and there’s only so much you can do with four pots, especially in the aural department. Yes, you can drive it into London if you wish, unlike the diesel variants, whose days may be numbered in the capital, but out on the open road it performs, but definitely not beyond expectation.
Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI 252 quattro S line S tronic
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Torque: 273lb ft
Gearbox: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Top speed: 149mph
Economy: 43.5mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 149g/km, 28%
There’s decent performance from the turbocharged engine, with solid low and midrange, but you’ll not bother chasing the needle to the top largely because it doesn’t sound that great if you do and it just doesn’t seem to have that top-end punch which can make good petrol engines so much fun.
It’s all a bit devoid of character, something of an Audi trait at times, but at least the chassis displays some excellent engineering – another Audi trait. In Comfort mode on a smooth Spanish road, the Cabriolet lollops along with a confidence that reminds you the torsional stiffness of this roofless car is up 40 per cent on its predecessor.
Handling and ride are first-class, particularly when you think of the problems inherent in taking off the roof. It’s relaxing more than exciting, with accurate if slightly dead steering, and a sense of being slightly detached from the world.
That feeling is exacerbated by the folding roof, which comes up in just 15 seconds. With it up the sound insulation is remarkably good, shielding you from noise and wind. Put the roof down and, with the windows up, you’re still remarkably shielded from the elements. Want to have a chat to your passenger? No need to shout until the veins in your temple stand out. Want to make a phone call? No problem, particularly with the microphones in the seatbelts.
This isn’t the last word in top-down motoring hedonism. It’s sensible, conservative and very efficient at what it does. We might consider why we’d go for this not particularly remarkable petrol engine over the remarkably good 3.0-litre V6 diesel, but if you prefer or require petrol then it makes a good case for itself. Just so long as you’re not expecting too much fun in return.