Cabriolet 3.0 TFSI quattro S tronic
said that the
in life are free was having a laugh;
about the only free
thing you get
with a car is the wind ruffling your
hair in a convertible and they
never come cheap...
BUT IF THAT CONVERTIBLE happens to be an Audi S5 Cabriolet you definitely
won't mind paying because this latest generation of the S5 has a svelte convertible
body and comes with a new petrol-drinking 3.0-litre V6 that punches out 349bhp.
There's nothing quite like driving a convertible topless just feels so
right. Press the button to neatly fold away the S5's beautifully tailored soft-top
and 15 seconds later you'll be on your way, wearing a smile of deep satisfaction.
Actually you could pull away even as the top is opening because it can be raised
or lowered at speeds of up to 31mph.
While you'll get the same quality fresh-air sensations from the only other new
A5 Cabriolet currently available the £44K 144mph 187bhp 2.0-litre that,
thanks to its TDI diesel engine can return as much as 61.4mpg (officially)
the range-topping cabrio's £52,510 price tag is fully justified by what's under
its sharply profiled bonnet.
new engine makes its presence known the second you thumb the Start button; the
sound of its tuneful six-cylinder heartbeat resonating out of its four tailpipes.
Audi have mounted the turbo in the 'vee' of the 3.0-litre block to allow short
inlet ducts to each bank of cylinders to fast-track the turbo's spool-up response.
works: underpinning the eager 349bhp is 368lb ft of gutsy torque, on call from
a low 1,370rpm; together they deliver enough seamless urge to send the S5 spearing
forwards from standstill to clock 62mph in 5.1 seconds. Top speed is restricted
new 349bhp V6
makes its presence
known the second you
thumb the Start button;
the sound of its tuneful
resonating out of its four
It's a pleasing powerplant, clean-revving and muscular all the way though the
autobox's eight ratios and it's not afraid to slap the redline. Shifts,
incidentally, are über-smooth whether going up or down. Along with a Sport mode,
wheel paddle-shifters are to hand for fleeting or full-time manual gear changes.
Fitted with sports suspension, this new-generation S5 Cabriolet comes ready
to rumble. It handles more sharply and with better control than any previous
'5' Cabrio. Audi's Drive Select is also part of the deal so its button-pressing
easy to modify the S5's handling and dynamic reactions (altering parameters
like throttle response, the autobox's gearshift mapping, and steering feel)
by selecting the most appropriate drive setting choices are Comfort,
Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual.
Should you be looking to maximise efficiency (probably not, otherwise you'd
buy the 60mpg diesel version), Efficiency sets the engine, automatic transmission,
climate and cruise control systems to more fuel-efficient settings. For additional
dynamic and comfort-oriented characteristics tick the box for the £900 electronic
Drop-tops are historically notorious for scuttle-shake but the S5 is well inoculated
against it thanks to a more rigid chassis a 40% improvement over its
predecessor; and it feels it! Our test route took us over some pretty rough
country lanes and back roads but we didn't detect the least hint of any flexing.
are reassuringly powerful and inspire confidence, effortlessly slowing the S5
whatever the speed. While you're ticking boxes don't miss the one for the optional
£1,200 Sports differential. This torque-vectoring diff apportions the drive
between the rear wheels as needed to enable faster cornering speeds (and exits!)
and injects a sense of fun into the driving experience when you plant your right
foot through the twisties.
to the strong grip from the quattro permanent four-wheel drive, this new S5
also benefits from modifications to the front and rear suspension and more feelsome
steering with quick turn-in that sees the fat 255/35 lo-pro front tyres bite
with purpose, and it goes about its business confidently and with as much poise
as you'd expect from a fast Audi, its single-frame grille going precisely where
you aim it.
boxes dont miss the one
for the optional £1,200
This torque-vectoring diff
apportions the drive
between the rear wheels
as needed to enable
faster cornering speeds
(and exits!) and injects a
sense of fun into the S5
driving experience when
you plant your right foot
through the twisties...
The new V6 comes mated to an eight-speed S tronic autobox and, officially, it
will return 35.3mpg in the combined cycle (urban 26.9; touring 43.5mpg). A hard
week in the hands of MotorBar's road-test team saw an overall average
of 29.8mpg recorded.
For some, all of this performance and ability is somewhat secondary to the satisfaction
that comes from sitting behind the wheel in such a smart cabin. Audi really
are the 'cabin-masters' and the S5's cockpit is tastefully fitted out.
The power-adjustable smooth Nappa leather sports seats with quilted diamond-pattern
centre panels are as comfortable and supportive as they look and along
with powered lumbar there's also power adjustment for the backrest's side bolstering,
a manually- extending under-thigh cushion, and a massage function offering three
intensities of 'wave', 'stretch' or 'knead' massage patterns. Three-stage seat
heating is a given and will keep you as warm as toast, topless on the coldest
High-end finishing and quality trim materials make an extra impact because of
the first-class fit and finish, but it's Audi's Virtual Cockpit that provides
the wow factor. Seen clearly through the top sector of the flat-bottomed multifunction
steering wheel, and replacing the traditional instrument strip, is a 12.3-inch
full-colour digital instrument panel that's fully customisable by the driver
to show exactly what they want from a comprehensive menu of information including
telephone, car settings, driver assistance systems, radio/media, and Audi Connect
Plus, with a quick finger-tap on the steering wheel you can switch between large
dials or small ones with the active 3D navigation mapping or the onboard computer
and MMI contents as a full display area background; or you can go for a streamlined
Sport display with selected core information clustered around a large central
is far more than just a clever party trick; it's a brilliant aid to safe and
relaxed driving and it is complemented by a large pop-up (powered, naturally)
central MMI infotainment touchscreen that sits proud on the upper fascia. The
hifi (10-speakers including a centre speaker, subwoofer and amp with 180 watts
output) delivers a decent sound experience but audiophiles can go one
better by checking the box for the Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System with 20 speakers
including two subwoofers and a 755-watt output.
it needs to be on a drop-top, heating and ventilation is brilliant. The S5's
is also rather clever, its 3-zone electronic climate control will roast or chill
you as you prefer while those in the back can set their own temperature and
distribution. Drop the top and the system automatically adjusts itself, compensating
for all the extra fresh air.
it needs to be on
a drop-top, heating and
ventilation is brilliant
the S5s 3-zone
electronic climate control
system will roast or chill
you as you prefer and
those in the back can set
their own temperature
Audi's Smartphone Interface uses Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to facilitate
hassle-free mobile linkage for easy control of navigation, telephone, music
and selected third-party apps via the MMI controller or voice control system.
Audi Connect links you to the Internet via an integrated data module with LTE/UMTS
connection for access to entertainment, information and search functions via
scrolling, tapping or verbal commands.
Services include navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View, destination
input via myAudi or Google Maps, access to Google and Twitter, a WiFi hotspot,
point-of-interest search with voice control as well as parking, weather, news
and travel information. The system will automatically, in the event of a severe
accident, place an SOS call for you. Finally there's wireless smartphone charging
(or you can use the USB port); the same charging tray also provides improved
reception via the car's built-in aerial.
All the 'bare necessities' come as standard; things like a 'belt butler' that
hands you your belt once you're seated in either front seat, a seriously good
navigation system, keyless start, a chilled glovebox, electric parking brake
with hill hold, heated powerfolding door mirrors with auto-dimming, Bluetooth,
ambient cabin lighting (including for the cupholders), courtesy lighting on
the outer door handles for easy entry and exit in the dark, auto lights and
wipes, heat-insulating glass (side and rear), one-shot electric windows, frameless
auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED headlights and LED daytime-running lights
(Matrix LED headlights with LED rear lights and those cool dynamic indicators
are a £650 option), and 19-inch alloy wheels.
also plenty of high-tech driver assistance systems including Adaptive Cruise
Control with Stop & Go and Traffic-jam assist (at up to 40mph in Traffic-jam
mode it detects vehicles ahead, and moving in adjacent lanes, and assists with
braking, acceleration and also steering to keep the S5 in its own lane).
Front provides collision warning and automatic braking functions to cover the
entire speed range (up to 155mph) and can also increase braking initiated by
the driver if this is inadequate.
S5 Cabriolet is not afraid
to slap the redline;
and its not afraid to
it handles more sharply
and with better
control than any previous
The system uses a camera located to detect vehicles and pedestrians in front
in order to reduce the severity of any collision, or if possible prevent an
accident; the driver is first given a visual and acoustic warning followed by
partial braking and then full brake application.
The camera-based traffic sign recognition system (detects and displays speed
limit, overtaking restrictions, and no-entry signs) is a great help. Hopefully
you won't need to call on Collision Avoidance which provides additional steering
torque and uses vehicle sensors to calculate the optimum path of avoidance during
an evasive manoeuvre to reduce the likelihood of a collision or of swerving
off the road.
Turn Assist (from the moment the turn indicators are activated when turning
at junctions the turn assist system detects approaching vehicles and applies
braking to help avoid a collision. Finally, the optional colour head-up display
minimises distraction while keeping you fully aware of warning messages and
driving-related information from assistance systems as well as the SatNav, all
projected on to the windscreen in the driver's direct field of vision.
A convertible lives or dies by its roof the fully-automatic fabric hood
on the S5 is a superb piece of kit; not only can you have it in any one of four
colours (brown, grey, red, or black) but it's optimised to keep out wind and
other noise along with the rain. As already mentioned, it can be operated while
moving at speeds up to 31mph and closes in not much longer than it takes to
read this paragraph plus you don't have to keep your finger on the button so
even driving solo you can open and close it on the go perfect when, as
is not unusual in the UK, the skies suddenly open…
it keeps the cabin virtually as quiet as its sibling, the fixed-roof S5 Coupe,
which enhances the Cabrio's tireless mile-eating abilities. Rear-three-quarter
vision is also pretty good, helped by the biggish side windows (and when parking
you get a lot of help from the multi-view parking camera and front and acoustic
with it stacked out of sight in the boot, you're well protected from the wind
rush and can enjoy the theatre of the V6 soundtrack, livened up by the charismatic
crackles from the exhaust on the overrun when giving it some wellie.
or dies by its roof the
hood on the S5 is
a superb piece of kit
that can be operated
at speeds of up to
31mph; with it stacked
under the rear deck,
youre well protected
from the wind rush and
can enjoy the theatre of
the V6 soundtrack...
The S5 Cabrio makes a good fist of being a well balanced, pacey yet not too
hardcore high-speed machine it's also a proper four-seater convertible.
Climbing into the back seats is easy even with the roof up courtesy of the long
doors and electrically-sliding front seats. Once in, two adults of average build
will be unexpectedly comfortable plus there's a fist of space between the roof
and their heads.
When you're intending to travel 1+3 you'll need to stow the quick-to-fit flip-up
wind deflector in the boot; at all other times it can be left in place either
folded down or upright raised, its fine mesh doesn't spoil the driver's
view through the rearview mirror and adds privacy as well as creating a discreet
'cave' where you can leave items out of sight on the back seats.
Below the flat deck there's more boot space than you might guess 380
litres of it. Also unexpected, the 50:50-split rear seatbacks fold down totally
flat to create a seamless load floor which adds quite a bit of versatility.
Not that you'd expect to use such a glam car for towing, but if you do you can
haul a braked 2,000kg.
With its torquey 349bhp V6 this new S5 Cabriolet is satisfyingly sharp off the
line, good to drive quickly and a refined and competent fast cruiser. And it
makes a brilliant four-seater convertible 365 days of the year. ~ MotorBar
Audi S5 Cabriolet 3.0 TFSI quattro S tronic
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 5.1 seconds | Test Average: 29.8mpg
Power: 349bhp | Torque: 368lb ft | CO2: 181g/km