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2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet review, test drive
May 19, 2017 by Hormazd Sorabjee



The cabin is again typically Audi with a logical and functional layout and similar to the A4 sedan. The straightforward design may not be as imaginative as some of its rivals but where the A5 Cabriolet takes the game forward is with the quality of materials used. The mix of plastics, switchgear brushed with metal finishes and leather upholstery (Alcantara on the S-line) of an exceptionally high standard give the cabin a truly special ambience.

A 7.0-inch dashboard-mounted display with the latest high-res graphics interfaces with Audi’s MMI infotainment system. It’s not a touchscreen, but is controlled by the usual rotary dial on the centre console. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – a 12.3-inch multifunctional instrument screen – which replaces the standard analogue dials, is a big hit amongst Audi owners but comes as an extra, which I am sure most buyers will happily pay for. Other bits of kit that will call for a costly tick on the options list are xenon lights and a Bang & Olufsen speaker system boosted by a 16-channel amplifier.

A5 Cabriolet’s dash similar to A4. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit a big hit with buyers.

Space and practicality aren’t reasons to buy the A5 Cabriolet, but for a convertible it scores surprisingly well on both these fronts. With the front seats carefully adjusted, it’s easy to squeeze four adults inside, the rear two even get dedicated air vents. But it’s with the top down that rear passengers will feel most comfortable as they won’t have to slouch under the fabric roof. Speaking of which, the roof neatly folds into the boot without eating too much luggage space – a generous 320 litres that expands to 380 litres with the roof up.

Easy does it

The engine line-up for the A5 Cabriolet comprises three options at launch. You get a base 2.0 TFSI (252hp) petrol and a 2.0 TDI (190hp) diesel, whilst a 3.0 TDI (218hp) sits at the top. After its global market introduction this year, an additional pair of engines – a lower powered 190hp 2.0 TFSI and a stonking 286hp 3.0 TDI – will bookend the range. 

It’s the A5 with the 2.0 TDI engine that I spend most of the day in. Incidentally, this 190hp, four-cylinder (EA288) diesel will also be locally assembled in India and is set to become the de facto diesel engine for all VW Group cars in India. Besides, when Audi finally decides to bring the A5 to India, it will zero in on the 2.0 TDI for its mix of practicality and affordability.

But it’s the refinement of the 2.0 TDI that is truly outstanding, even with the hood down. Audi has worked hard to suppress noise levels with a thicker windscreen and front windows, thicker insulation in the firewall and new engine mounts. Yes, there’s a touch of that four-cylinder diesel rattle when you fire up but on the move the A5 Cabriolet is astonishingly hushed. Cruising at the motorway limit of 120kph, there’s the windblast that obviously overpowers everything else, but you never have to raise your voice to chat with your passengers. And if you’re talking on the phone via Bluetooth, you don’t have to shout either; Audi has stitched a microphone into the seatbelt for better clarity – a really neat touch.

With the roof up, the A5 Cabriolet feels as refined as a hard-top with minimal wind and tyre noise. Though it’s a traditional soft-top, the fabric roof is beefed up with sound deadening insulation and, as a result, noise levels with the roof closed are remarkably low.

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Technical Specifications

Price range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom price (Delhi): Rs 65 lakh (estimated)

Engine

Type: 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbo-diesel/ 6 cyls, 2967cc, turbo-diesel
 
Power: 190hp at 3800-4200rpm/ 218hp at 4000-5000rpm
 
Torque: 400Nm at 1750-3000rpm/ 400Nm at 1250-3750rpm

Transmission

Gearbox: 7-speed automatic


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