New Car AUDI A5 2010
 
bottom line
9.6
OUT OF 10
  • Four-seat cabin
  • Flowing, handsome body
  • High-quality interior
  • Wide range of engines
  • No folding hardtop
  • Likely a pricey two-door
 

The 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet offers a pleasant, luxurious ride—but from TheCarConnection.com's experience in the S5 coupe, the S5 Cabriolet could be a life-changing, top-down ride. TCC's expert reviewers will report back early next year after the first drive of the new Cabriolets.
The 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet, and the high-performance S5 Cabriolet, will go on sale in 2009. TheCarConnection.com's team of car experts have previewed the new car and bring you this advance information before the first drives of the A5 Cabriolet and S5 Cabriolet take place early next year. The numeric ratings presented here are based on extensive driving experience with the similar Audi A5 Coupe and S5 Coupe.

Walter d'Silva, Audi's head designer, once called his A5 Coupe the most beautiful car he'd ever drawn. How to top it? Surgically, precisely remove the roof and transform the two-door coupe into the 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet.

TheCarConnection.com's experts have rated the A5 and S5 among the best two-doors on the market, and the new four-seat convertible shares much of the exciting two-door's shape, from the shoulders down. Aside from the convertible roof—fabric for compact size and to eliminate the tall, square tail that hardtop convertibles require for storage—the A5 Cabriolet and high-performance S5 Cabriolet stay in the A5 family with a strong, deep grille; a sideview like some sort of German Chevy Camaro; and a sexy rear end with just enough detail to accent its shape, not overwhelm it. The Cabriolets do get distinctive rear LED lighting, and S5 Cabriolets get optional aluminum trim for mirrors and the interior.

Elsewhere inside, the cabin is much the same as the coupe, with a slightly busy dash shape that cocoons drivers and occupants and maybe a touch less sophistication than Audis from the last generation.

Three engines charge the performance of the Cabriolet. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Front- and all-wheel-drive versions are available with this engine; front-drive versions use a continuously variable transmission, while quattro AWD versions get a six-speed automatic. Top speed is 130 mph. Audi's 3.2-liter V-6 is also offered with 265 horsepower, AWD and the six-speed automatic. The top-range version is the S5 Cabriolet; it sports a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, quattro all-wheel drive and a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission. Its top speed hits 155 mph, and it offers a rear differential that splits power between the rear wheels when traction is needed. Audi's Drive Select system allows drivers to change the feel of transmission shifts, power delivery, steering and suspension.

The A5 Cabriolet's cabin likely will be as snug and inviting as that in the A5 Coupe. For the convertible edition, Audi fits a 50/50 split-folding rear seat for access to the small trunk. The front seats on base versions are amply comfortable, but TheCarConnection.com's experts find the S5's seats exceptionally supportive and firm for all types of driving.

Safety features on the 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet and S5 Cabriolet include dual front and side airbags, as well as anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control.

The long list of features on the new A5 Cabriolet include a folding fabric top that Audi says saves weight and space compared to a folding hardtop, while also delivering a quiet cabin. The usual climate controls, power features and leather interior trim are fitted to all versions, as is a heating system at head level for top-down comfort. Audi's Intelligent Key system with pushbutton start is offered, as are the MMI system that uses a mouse-like controller to direct navigation, climate, and entertainment functions. Other features will include Bluetooth, bi-xenon headlamps, a rearview camera, side-lane assist (which warns drivers of vehicles in blind spots), and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.

The 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet and Audi S5 Cabriolet bows at the 2009 Geneva motor show; it goes on sale in the U.S. in the fall of 2009. Pricing hasn't been announced.

Four-seat convertibles can be split into two groups: soft-tops and folding hardtops. The Audi A5 Cabriolet's German kin include the Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabriolet, which chooses a slightly less practical soft top in exchange for a smooth, flowing shape. A hugely powerful AMG edition is offered. The remaining vehicles are offered as hardtop convertibles, and the BMW 3-Series Convertible has one of the more pleasing shapes, to go with its tenacious handling. Both Japanese convertibles are new for 2009; the Infiniti's top-down looks seem superior, while the Lexus' interior room may offer a bit more space.



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