2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet

PHOENIX — The A5 is an attractive version of Audi’s A4 sedan and is available as a coupe, four-door Sportback, and a Cabriolet, tested here. The A5 Cabriolet is available in a choice of two trim levels: base ($49,600) and the performance-oriented S5 version ($62,300). Both trim levels are luxury drop tops with an attractive exterior and a formal interior. Both are well tailored with superb build quality, top rate materials — leathers, wood veneers and brushed aluminum or stainless steel trim — comprehensively engineered with impeccable attention to detail.

Most cars in this class offer a retractable hardtop, however Audi has chosen to continue with fabric roof. But contrary to what you might expect, it’s impressively quiet inside and actually quieter than many hardtop vehicles I’ve tested, thanks to several layers of fabric top. Wind and engine noise are all superbly suppressed.

The power top retracts and folds with just one button – no latches to release – and windows power down automatically. I loved that the top could be powered down (15 seconds) or up (18 seconds) at speeds up to 31 mph.

Another benefit of a fabric top is the additional passenger and cargo space it affords when compared to a hardtop retractable roof. We also like the Cabriolet’s new neck heater, located under the headrests in the front seats, which blows warm air to keep you comfortable on chilly nights or days. It’s very similar to Mercedes’ AirScarf, which we think works much better.

On the road, our Cabrio felt confident, composed and quite satisfying to drive. Curves and corners were negotiated with surprising ease, agility, and responsiveness with little noticeable body roll. Our test Cabrio came with optional all-wheel drive – rare for convertible.

The A5 Cabriolet is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 252 horsepower connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the S5 is powered by a 354-horsepower 3.0L turbocharged V-6 and an eight-speed automatic. Our 2.0-liter provided ample power and fuel economy, especially when considering the added weight of the Quattro all-wheel drive system.

The A5 is packed with technology for most operating controls. But, using them is overly complex. For example, to turn on or adjust the heated seats, you first have to push a button then turn the knob to select intensity. But, it’s the same knob that adjusts the cabin temperature. Also, there aren’t any preset buttons for the audio system, requiring you to manually dial up the station you want to listen to. These are much more complicated than they need be.

Available features include the 20-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, 4GLTE navigation, seatbelt-mounted microphones for better voice recognition (especially with the top down), seat belt presenters, driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control and Audi active lane assist, high-beam assist and traffic sign recognition, and more.

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, Pre Sense Basic, and Pre Sense City. Available features include a head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system, and Pre Sense Rear. The Pre Sense system helps protect occupants in the event of an impending collision by automatically rolling up the windows and tightening seat belts.

Overall, the A5 Cabriolet is an excellent vehicle with a classy interior, impeccable materials and build quality, comfortable front seats, a strong engine with dynamic handling that rewards the driver and front passenger with comfort and convenience for longer journeys, and top-down driving enjoyment.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $49,600 - $62,300
Price as Tested: $65,050
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl
Horsepower: 252
Transmission: 7-Speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 24-MPG City – 34-MPG Highway
Seating: 4

Crash Test Results: The 2018 A5 earns a perfect five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It has not yet been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Competes With:
BMW 4-Series Retractable Hardtop
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

Fab Features:

Supremely quiet convertible
Impressive, classy interior
Strong engine

— Jim Prueter