It’s difficult to find a good ragtop these days, what with all the new retractable hardtop technology available. But, if you are in the market for a soft-top convertible, check out the Audi A5 Cabriolet and sister sport model S5 Cabriolet.
The 2011 Audi A5/S5 Cabriolets are really quite special automobiles because they continue the tradition of carefree driving with the joy of a soft top. And, with an overall length of 182.1 inches, they have an exceptionally roomy interior, even in the back seats, and with the same sophistication as their hardtop counterparts.
However, they incorporate a power folding multi-layer acoustic soft top capable of retracting in 17 seconds, even while the car is moving at speeds up to 31 mph.
The A5 (our test vehicle) has a refined suspension developed from Audi’s extensive racing experience and it delivers a ride that is both comfortable and capable, with superb handling and razor-sharp response. It has a low and muscular look, with a high shoulder line and a steeply raked windshield. The Audi singleframe grille dominates the front, while available LED taillights distinguish the rear. With the soft top raised, the A5 Cabriolet maintains its coupe look, while lowering it turns it into another vehicle altogether.
The A5 has an ergonomic interior designed around driver and passenger comfort, with high-quality leather and rich materials assembled to yield a luxurious cabin environment. Comfortable sport seats provide ample support and a driver-oriented center console holds a beautifully designed interface, as well as Audi’s third-generation MMI system.
The optional seven-inch MMI screen is positioned high on the dash for easy reading and to minimize the amount of time spent looking away from the road. A leatherwrapped steering wheel is standard and the gauges are well designed and easy-to-read.
Like the A5 Coupe, the Cabriolet is powered by a potent 2.0 TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With a sturdy cast-iron block and efficient aluminum cylinder head, the engine delivers 211 hp and 258 pounds-feet of torque. Direct-injection technology increases engine efficiency and the result is 30 mpg on the highway a 0-60 mph clocking in 6.5 seconds.
The S5 Cabriolet comes with a powerful and efficient 3.0 liter TFSI V-6 all-aluminum engine. It’s supercharged to create 333 hp and 325 pounds-feet of torque. The powerplant incorporates many Audi innovations, including the Audi valvelift system, FSI direct injection, a two-stage intake, dual intercoolers and a drive-by-wire throttle, all helping to deliver 17/26 mpg (city/hwy).
Base price on the 2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet with a manual transmission is $36,500. Add another $1,290 for an automatic transmission with Tiptronic.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.