So you've decided you're having a four-seat convertible. Maybe you love the glamour, the looks, the attention - that's your own business. As we've established, the new Audi A5 Cabriolet is one of the best on the market in terms of refinement, luxury and technology, but if you really want to push the boat out there's the range-topping S5 Cabriolet variant at the top of the range.
In the metal
As we've become accustomed to with Audi S models, they get their own visual updates that differentiate them from the S line cars without going over the top. The S5 Cabriolet is no different. So you'll find a unique design of front grille, 19-inch alloy wheels, silver door mirrors and detailing and, of course, four exhaust outlets at the back. It all adds a welcome dose of aggression to the otherwise quite elegant A5 Cabriolet without ever overstepping the mark. The all-LED lights give it a high-tech edge, too, while the brake callipers are painted black with S5 logos up front. Finally, buyers get the choice of Navarra blue metallic and Misano red pearl effect unique to the S5, along with the rest of the palette of paint colours of course.
Inside, the S5 features a flat-bottomed S steering wheel with contrast stitching, leather upholstery and sports seats, plus other equipment upgrades, all enhancing the A5 Cabriolet's already impressive cabin.
In transformation to S5, the Audi A5 Cabriolet didn't lose much of its civility. Sure, the lower-profile tyres wrapped around the 19-inch wheels reduce bump absorption comfort a tad in comparison, but not drastically. In short, the S5 Cabriolet is no sports car; it is simply a very fast, very accomplished version of the standard model. The core S5 Cabriolet's talents were hidden somewhat at the international launch by the fitment of the sport differential for the back axle, Dynamic Steering for the front and Continuous Damper Control (CDC) all-round. These things have a large effect on the car's demeanour and I can confidently say that the steering is best left as standard and the sport differential is wasted on a car that will rarely be pushed hard enough for the driver to benefit from it.
CDC may be worth the extra cash, especially for Irish roads. We found it excellent in Spain on a wide variety of road surfaces from perfect motorway to urban alleyways you'd think twice about bringing a mountain bike down. Body movements are rapidly, smoothly kept in check, yet not at the expense of comfort and composure. The inherently stiff platform shines through in the form of exceptional refinement and solidity, and while it's very easy to drive very quickly in the S5 Cabriolet, it's not really a car that you'd get up early on a Sunday morning to drive just for the sake of it. Nonetheless, there's no arguing with the formidable thrust from that 3.0-litre V6 under the bonnet, and if you choose the Dynamic driving mode it makes all manner of amusing sounds from the quad exhaust system. The quattro four-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission make light work of that engine's output and there's never a wheel scrabbling for traction or any other sign that the chassis may be under duress, certainly not at sane public road speeds.
What you get for your money
Once Audi Ireland has announced pricing for the A5 Cabriolet we will update this section. We don't even have a price for the Audi S5 Coupe so it would be pure guesswork to suggest one for the open-topped model. Expect a decent level of equipment, though, such as heated leather seats, satnav, etc.
The S5 is the new Audi A5 Cabriolet at its best, but buyers need to temper that with the knowledge that it's no open-topped sports car. It's fast and surefooted, sounds great and more competent in the corners than anyone needs, though the real reason to buy it is because you want the ultimate version of an already pretty classy car.