What better way to make the most of the British sunshine than by driving a cabriolet? The issue with such cars is that they tend to offer limited space, but Audi says its A5 Cabriolet is different, being a full four-seater with a boot to match that of a family hatchback.
It is based on the A5 coupe and serves as a rival to the Mercedes E-class Cabriolet, which like the Audi uses a folding soft-top, and the BMW 4-series Convertible with its folding hard-top.
Sitting in the back seats of most convertibles is an experience that sounds better than it actually is. In the A5 Cabriolet there is at least enough room for two adults, even with the roof in place, although there’s still no escaping the wind buffeting when it’s lowered.
The front feels spacious, even if in-car storage could be better, and the boot offers enough room for a couple of large cases when the roof is in place, or a few soft bags when it is lowered.
It’s also worth noting that in many convertibles the boot divider needed to house the roof needs to be manually adjusted, whereas in the Audi this happens automatically.
In the event you are buying an A5 Cabriolet with the intention of carrying longer loads, it is possible to fold the rear seatbacks to extend the boot space. As with the A5 coupe, the seatbelts of the Cabriolet glide out to meet you when you climb in, while other thoughtful touches include the one-touch roof operation, and how the temperature of the climate control adjusts automatically depending on whether the roof is open or closed.
The driving position is fundamentally good, with plenty of adjustment, and if you opt for a model with the optional adaptive suspension the ride quality is perfectly acceptable (better than the A5 coupe, in fact). We did, however, note some vibration in the steering wheel when 19-inch wheels were matched with the standard suspension, so if you aren’t going for the adaptive setup we’d advise opting for a smaller wheel size.
The diesel and petrol engines are pleasantly refined, with the former making a quieter companion for motorway work, and the latter being smoother in towns and cities. Road and wind noise are also well suppressed with the roof in place, assuming you avoid the larger wheel and tyre options.
We’d also recommend the optional clip-in wind deflector, which drastically improves comfort with the roof down at the cost of blocking the rear seats.
Climb into an A5 Cabriolet and there’s little doubt it is the product of a premium car brand. In both its appearance and feel it is a cut above most other cars, although it should be noted that Mercedes and BMW are far from lacking in this area.
Audi backs up this sense of quality with controls that are responsive and sensibly placed. The infotainment system is also quick to respond and slick to operate and the optional Virtual Cockpit digital dial display is both hi-tech and great to use (if an expensive addition).
With the roof in place you need to rely on the sensors and optional reversing camera when maneuvering, but that’s to be expected of a car of this type. The fact the wing mirrors are mounted quite low on the doors helps improve the view out at junctions, however, and the controls are sensibly weighted, whether you go for a manual or the very slick automatic model.
The petrol and diesel engines (both 2.0 litres in capacity) have easily enough power for easy overtaking. In fact, the latter produces a genuinely impressive turn of speed.