After seven consecutive years of record new car sales in the UK Audi has started 2017 with a record three months of sales and a record new ‘17’ registration plate month of March.
Having grown their model lines from 17 to 52 across 18 ranges in the last 16 years more new and revised models keep arriving. The latest arrivals are the A5/S5 Cabriolets which are now in dealerships.
The new ‘Fives’ appeared at Audi’s Range Review event for the motoring media which featured the latest versions from most of their ranges, from the A1 supermini to the flagship supercar R8 Coupe and Spyder.
Introducing the new ‘Fives’ Jon Zammett, Head of Press and PR for Audi UK said the A5 and S5 Cabriolets complete the all-new A5 range which includes Coupe and Sportback models as well. “Their introduction has been completed in a short time not seen before by Audi” he said.
He added “although the new A5 range has evolved its new from the ground up with improvements in ride comfort and handling. They have an all-new interior with the latest infotainment systems. With regard to the four seater A5/S5 Cabriolets the acoustic fabric roof opens in 15 seconds at speeds up to 31mph and closes in 18 seconds”.
On-the-road A5 Cabriolet prices, which include the new VED road tax costs introduced from the 1 April, start from £35,235 for the 2.0 TFSI petrol 190hp SE manual and rise through 16 variants to £51,835 for the 3.0 V6 TFSI petrol 354hp quattro S5 version. Turbocharged petrol TFSI engine choices are 2.0-litre 190 and 252hp units plus the 3.0-litre TFSI 354hp S5 engine. Turbodiesel engine options are the TDI 2.0-litre 190hp and 3.0-litre 218hp units. Specification options, depending on the engine chosen are SE, Sport and S line plus the one S5 model.
The most popular Cabriolet version is expected to be the A5 2.0-litre, 190hp TFSI petrol with S line specification costing £38,785 in manual gearbox form. The automatic transmission variant of the same version costs £40,315 and will still be popular despite the fact that it breeches the new £40k on-the-road VED road tax cap. This adds a further £310 per year cost for five years to the new road tax bill for the £140 standard rate which applies for the second year onwards.
The introduction of the second generation two door A5 Cabriolet completes in quick time the new A5/S5 range which also includes the two door Coupe and the best selling five door Sportback models.
The new design has evolved from the first generation but the four seater Cabriolet is new from the ground up with improved ride comfort and sharper handling being the two major improvements say Audi.
Those improvements are backed up by the latest design of Audi interiors and of course their premium quality including the latest in infotainment and connectivity function while options which such as Technology package £1,100, the wind deflector at £300 and the Audi Virtual Cockpit will cost a further £1,150.
I managed a short test drive behind the wheel of the A5 Cabriolet 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol quattro with 252hp, S tronic auto transmission and the best selling S line specification. This version costs £45,360 which includes the new higher cost First Year VED road tax rate of £500 because it has CO2 emissions of 151g/km due to the larger optional 19-inch wheels. Stick with the standard 17 or 18-inch wheels and the CO2 emissions are lower at 144 or 149g/km and the First Year VED rate is £200 – definitely food-for-thought!
It is also worth giving considerable thought to exactly what version to buy. Prices start from £35,235 but the majority are close to, or over, the £40K on-the-road price cap which pushes up the cost of the second year and onwards standard rate VED tax of £140 with an extra £310 a year being added for five years. Buy with discretion.
Key features of the new A5 Cabriolet are new headlights with LED daytime running lights whilst S line versions gain LED headlights, LED tail lights and dynamic rear indicators. There are heated door mirrors with built-in LED side indicators, the windscreen has acoustic glazing and the multi-layered fabric roof is acoustic as well.
The overall length is 47mm longer and 8mm narrower than its predecessor but the wheelbase is increased by 14mm so rear passenger legroom is marginally better. At the rear is a 380-litre boot and the two rear seats fold down to extend the carrying capacity. The bodyshell is more rigid than before to improve handling but there is still a faint degree of ‘scuttle shake’ with the roof down but that goes completely with the roof in place.
In all other respects the elegant A5 Cabriolet handled sharply, it felt more agile and the ride quality was much better even over poorer country roads.
Inside the car with the roof up it was noticeable just how quiet it was with the acoustic glass and fabric roof performing well. With the roof down, side windows up and the extra cost wind deflector in place, but this does stop use of the rear seats, wind bluster into the cabin was very low.
The 2.0-litre TFSI 252hp petrol engine was the only one I could get my hands on at the very busy media launch. Mated with the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, plus quattro traction, with 370Nm of torque from just 1,600rpm this is a strong performing package.
Despite our unpredictable weather the UK is the second largest market for soft-top sales in Europe behind Germany, and the latest A5 Cabriolet has great appeal but choose the right version carefully.
Mini Milestones: Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI quattro 252hp, S line, S tronic £45,360 including the new higher rate First Year VED cost
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 252hp, 370Nm, 7-speed auto, quattro all wheel drive
Performance: 149mph, 0-62mph 6.3-seconds, Combined Cycle 42.8mpg (30.7mpg on test)
CO2 151g/km, First Year VED £500, standard rate £140 + £310 each year for five years because the price is over £40k, BIK company car tax 29%
Insurance group: 39E tbc Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles.
For: Lighter, stiffer body, improved handling, more compliant ride, higher specification.
Against: Careful consideration needs to be given to which version to buy, bigger wheels and breaking the £40k on-the-road price cap will add considerably to the VED tax costs.