With changes to its Motorsport division including withdrawal from WEC racing, and the diesel gate scandal from earlier this year, we have some good news from Audi. They have released the new A5 and S5 cabriolets. The usual recipe for a convertible is keep it simple; RWD, two seats and a sensible amount of power, rather like the MX5. But Audi hasn’t done this all the time whilst there has been a convertible TT the A5 breaks a lot of the rules.
One of the obvious ways in which the rules are broken is the addition of back seats. Usually without rear doors and strengthening struts to hold a car together it leaves little room for rear seats and passengers. But Audi has been successfully using this formula for a long time so in theory rear leg room will not be an issue. This means that you are able to take more than one person for a drive with the roof down. Whilst not a hard and fast rule, the looks of the A5 cabriolet are really good, it is really well balanced even with the roof up it still looks good. This has of course been helped by the new front end which has a much more charming front face than before, but it still gives the Audi look of sporty aggression.
Engines and performance
Initially the car is going to be offered with mostly diesel engines, which for Audi is hardly surprising with their history of reliable Diesel engines (we will ignore the emissions scandal of VW for the moment). Engine options available are as follows; 2.0 litre TDI (diesel with 187 BHP), 3.0 litre TDI (Diesel 215bhp), 2.0 litre TFSI (petrol 249BHP) and 3.0 litre TDI (diesel 282BHP). The S5 will come with a 354 BHP V6 and Quattro drive with a 0-62 time of 5.1 seconds which is not too shabby at all. The car will either be in front wheel drive or Quattro depending on version selected. Audi claim to have made a 40% increase in torsional rigidity meaning it’s best in its class, as well as a 40 kg weight reduction. These factors should mean an enhanced driving experience and better MPG for the owners the entry level model claiming a mpg of 62.3 combined whilst the S5 claims 36.6 combined which isn’t too bad being its 0-60 time and that it is aimed towards performance.
Under the bonnet
Ok, so under the bonnet usually refers to the engine, but here I’m referring to those changes made to size and suspension stuff you wouldn’t necessarily spot. As already mentioned the A5 has been lightened but another area to enhance the driving experience is the chassis with the four wheels more spread out than previously allowing for the power to be spread more as well as the weight. The front has an updated five link suspension and the rear has been updated as well. Audi has also ensured along with the weight loss that stiffness has been maintained, with extra struts making up for the loss of the roof.
Seat belt microphones as standard, the idea of this is that the driver can now operate the in car systems without having to shout at the on board tech, this is meant to also work with the roof down. Compared to other cars this one comes with a 12.3 inch screen in high resolution. Also you have the option to have driving information projected onto the windscreen, so it becomes rather like a video game setup more than a car. You can also connect your phone to the car with apple and android devices using Audi smartphone interface. Also included is an in car Antenna system to boost your phones signal, and built in WI-FI. The sound system comes with £d sound (whatever that means) and boasts 755 watts and 19 speakers, at this point I think a windy Alps road, the roof down and some Boston is called for.
The boring useful bits.
The car features a 380 litre boot capacity with roof up. Additionally if you require it the rear seats will fold on a 50:50 split.
The roof will fold with the push of one button, if you are not moving it will take 15 seconds or if you don’t want to wait you can put it up at speeds of up to 31mph, to fold down takes 15 seconds.
The boot can be opened at a push of the button from the key fob.
The car has 30 driver aid systems that are designed to enhance safety comfort and efficiency, this includes adaptive cruise control, stop and go, collision avoidance based on cameras and radar information, turn park rear and traffic assistant (beeps to warn you of impending doom), that just names a few of the safety features additionally it has airbags deployed in the case of a roll over along with support struts to protect passengers heads.
With the car being made available in December Audi have picked a strange time to launch a cabriolet update, however with everything else that has been going on with their Motorsport division and Diesel gate it’s a good time to push a new model and take some good press. The car itself looks to be a good package. However with no official guides on prices how it will stack up to rivals waits to be seen. All things considered it looks like a good car. Whilst an R8 and TT may be more sporty this looks to offer sportiness with some of the necessities of a car such as space and passengers.