The introduction of the second generation two door A5 Cabriolet completes in quick time the new A5/S5 range which also includes the two door Coupe and the best selling five door Sportback models.
The new design has evolved from the first generation but the four seater Cabriolet is new from the ground up with improved ride comfort and sharper handling being the two major improvements say Audi. Those improvements are backed up by the latest design of Audi interiors and of course their premium quality including the latest in infotainment and connectivity function. There of course are a considerable number of options which will push the price up further, items such as Technology package at £1,100, the must have wind deflector at £300 and the Audi Virtual Cockpit displays will cost a further £1,150.
I managed a short test drive behind the wheel of the A5 Cabriolet 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol quattro with 252hp, S tronic auto transmission and the best selling S line specification. This version costs £45,360 which includes the new higher cost First Year VED road tax rate of £500 because it has CO2 emissions of 151g/km due to the larger optional 19-inch wheels. Stick with the standard 17 or 18-inch wheels and the CO2 emissions are lower at 144 or 149g/km and the First Year VED rate is £200 – definitely food-for-thought!
It is also worth giving considerable thought to exactly what version to buy. Prices start from £35,235 but the majority are close to, or over, the £40K on-the-road price cap which pushes up the cost of the second year and onwards standard rate VED tax of £140 with an extra £310 a year being added for five years. Buy with discretion.
Key features of the new A5 Cabriolet are new headlights with LED daytime running lights whilst S line versions gain LED headlights, LED tail lights and dynamic rear indicators. There are heated door mirrors with built-in LED side indicators, the windscreen has acoustic glazing and the multi-layered fabric roof is acoustic as well. The overall length is 47mm longer and 8mm narrower than its predecessor but the wheelbase is increased by 14mm so rear passenger legroom is marginally better. At the rear is a 380-litre boot and the two rear seats fold down to extend the carrying capacity.
The bodyshell is more rigid than before to improve handling but there is still a faint degree of ‘scuttle shake’ with the roof down but that goes completely with the roof in place. In all other respects the elegant A5 Cabriolet handled sharply, it felt more agile and the ride quality was much better even over poorer country roads. Inside the car with the roof up it was noticeable just how quiet it was with the acoustic glass and fabric roof performing well. With the roof down, side windows up and the extra cost wind deflector in place, but this does stop use of the rear seats, wind bluster into the cabin was very low.
The 2.0-litre TFSI 252hp petrol engine will not be the most popular in the range, that will be the 190hp TFSI unit, but it was the only one I could get my hands on at the very busy media launch. Mated with the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, plus quattro traction, with 370Nm of torque from just 1,600rpm this is a strong performing package. Top speed is 149mph and zero to 62mph takes just 6.3-seconds. Officially the Combined Cycle fuel economy is 42.8mpg and the winding country Warwickshire roads took its toll with a test drive figure of 30.7mpg. The CO2 emissions with the large 19-inch optional wheels are 151g/km so that more than doubles First Year VED road tax costs.
Despite our unpredictable weather the UK is the second largest market for soft-top sales in Europe behind Germany, and the latest A5 Cabriolet has great appeal but choose the right version carefully.
Mini Milestones: Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI quattro 252hp, S line, S tronic. Price: £45,360 including the new higher rate First Year VED cost. Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 252hp, 370Nm, 7-speed auto, quattro all wheel drive. Performance: 149mph, 0-62mph 6.3-seconds, Combined Cycle 42.8mpg (30.7mpg on test), CO2 151g/km, First Year VED £500, standard rate £140 + £310 each year for five years because the price is over £40k, BIK company car tax 29%. Insurance group: 39E tbc. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles. For: Lighter, stiffer body, improved handling, more compliant ride, higher specification. Against: Careful consideration needs to be given to which version to buy, bigger wheels and breaking the £40k on-the-road price cap will add considerably to the VED tax costs.Miles Better News Agency