Convertible season is here! And leave it to Audi to be ready with a new droptop, the A5 Cabriolet. Visually, it’s just as stunning as the coupe, but now for the real test. Let’s put on our Ray-Bans and head out on the highway. Cars don’t always make the transition from tin-top to convertible gracefully, but Audi has managed to keep their four-seat 2010 A5 Cabriolet beautifully proportioned.
Audi’s now familiar front end formula-big, rectangular LED-rimmed bi-Xenon headlights and a deep, drop jaw Nuvolari grille-is indistinguishable from the A5 hardtop. In profile, though, the power softtop makes for a longer, flatter trunklid. Whether you’re basking in the sun or keeping the rain at bay, the A5’s lines are pleasing from every angle.
Audi chose fabric over a metal droptop to save weight and bulk. It includes a glass rear window with defroster, and uses Audi’s new Acoustic Roof insulation to keep the cabin remarkably quiet. Top operation takes less than 20 seconds, even when driving up to 30 miles-per-gallon hour. Our tester’s burnt orange leather interior was trimmed tastefully in aluminum and wood. It proved comfortable for four adults, and as user-friendly as it was attractive.
The dash caters to driver ergonomics. Gauges are clear and easy to read, and the thick-rimmed, multi-function, tilt-and-telescoping wheel is leather-wrapped. An array of airbags includes knee airbags for front-row occupants.
Audi’s Drive Select integrates operation of throttle, steering, and suspension, offering four distinct driver selected settings- Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, plus Individual. Feedback from Audi’s latest MMI hard-drive disc infotainment system is via the seven-inch screen mounted high in the center stack.
Our A5’s curvy, heavily-bolstered power front bucket seats featured neck-level heat vents. With the top up, there is of course sizable C-pillar blind spot. Luckily, our tester came equipped with Audi Side Assist, a useful blind-spot monitoring system in the side mirrors.
Thanks to the less bulky softtop, second-row occupants get a surprising amount of legroom, plus a wind diffuser, and rollover protection. Unusual for its class is a split folding rear seat that gives this Cabrio functional versatility. Filling all the seats still allows for a practical 10.2 cubic foot trunk, top up or top down. Most hardtop rivals have a fraction of that with the top down.
Like the Coupe, standard power is a direct-injected, turbocharged 2-liter I4. In the Cabrio it’s good for 211 horsepower and a stout 258 pound-feet of torque. For more power you’ll have to move up to the S5 Cabriolet with its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet.
The 2.0, with standard front drive, transfers power through a CVT automatic. Our all-wheel drive Quattro uses a six-speed Tiptronic automatic with paddle shifters. There is no pure manual. With Quattro, this is a year-round convertible. Torque splits 40 percent front, 60 percent rear in routine driving.
At the track, traction was in no short supply: zero to 60 took just 6.6 seconds. Turbo lag was almost non-existent, and shifts were well-spaced, if a little soft. The droptop A5’s relaxed demeanor didn’t hurt its quarter mile time: 15 seconds flat, at 90 miles-per-gallon hour.
Through the low-speed slalom, the car’s heavily front-biased weight was apparent, but it still proved to be a nimble handler. Turn-ins were quick, and the car felt unusually solid for a convertible. We detected little cowl twist and shake. Body roll was present, but manageable.
Switchable ESP stability control, as well as ABS, are standard-issue. Four-wheel disc brakes stopped the A5 from 60 in a short average of 122 feet. Mild fade increased the distances slightly over six runs, and the pedal was soft, but stops remained smooth and straight.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our Quattro A5 Cabrio are 20 city, 26 highway. The front-drive droptop is rated at 23 city, 30 highway. On our test loop, the Quattro delivered an unsurprising 23.2 mpg on premium gas. Plus, with an Energy Impact Score of 14.9 yearly barrels of oil, and a Carbon Footprint of 8 tons of CO2, our A5 Cabriolet is relatively eco-friendly.
More so than prices, which start at $42,825 for the front-drive A5 Cabrio, and $44,925 for the all-wheel drive variant. But, go easy on options, the 60 grand mark is not hard to breach. Indeed, at that level it makes sense to upgrade to the S5 Cabriolet.
Still, even with the base 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet, you’re getting a droptop that is easy on the eyes, with a sumptuous interior, and nearly impeccable road manners. Oh, and it will turn a few heads too. And, that test, like all the rest, this ragtop passes with ease.
Engine: Direct-injected, Turbocharged 2-Liter I4
Torque: 258 Lb Feet
0-60 MPH: 6.6 Seconds
1/4 Mile: 15.0 Seconds @ 90 MPH
60-0 MPH: 122 Feet
EPA: 20 MPG City/ 26 MPG Highway
Mixed Loop: 23.2 MPG
Energy Impact: 14.9 Barrels Oil/Yr
CO2 Emissions: 8.0 Tons/Yr