I'm in Jerez de la Frontera in Spain to drive the brand new Audi A5 Cabriolet. The car makes its debut alongside its S5 alter ego, and so it is available in a slew of engines like its coupé twin. But I will get to that in a bit. First lets take in the new car shall we? It is quite nice to look at - beautiful topless models usually are. Okay I got that out of the way! The new second generation A5 makes the earlier car (also lauded for its looks when it first came out 9 years ago) look tame.
The new A5 Cabriolet is a stunner. The Cabrio uses the same face as the coupé, but naturally has different flanks and rear. It has a bold and wide face, accentuated by the new grille and a very sculpted and menacing new hood. The sharp, rising creases on that hood imply performance, and it along with the matrix LED headlights (and LED taillights) show off Audi's new design language. The car's profile sees a wave-shaped shoulder line define its character - and this is shared with the Coupé and Sportback too.
However, it is the classic soft-top that gives the car its true character. It is available in black, grey, brown and red fabric options and can open in 15 seconds and close in 18 seconds. It can also be operated with a one-touch button now, which means you no longer have to hold it down. It can be operated when the car is on the move too, between 6 and 50 kmph. The acoustic top has been specifically designed to provide a really quiet cabin - and yes I have to say it is nearly like driving the coupé when you have the roof up - with barely any road or exterior noise creeping in to the cabin. The car comes in 16 possible exterior colours and 30 trim options on the inside.
The car's plush cabin is loaded with great materials and a lot of tech. Audi's virtual instrument cluster is becoming standard across its range, and is very welcome! The A5 also packs in the updated MMI infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and navigation of course. Everything is easily accessed through intuitive buttons or voice commands. In fact there's a neat new feature to ensure that your voice commands and speech during a phone call, are clearly audible even when the top is down. Audi has added built-in microphones in the seatbelts for both front passengers. They catch your voice cleanly even if you are driving with the roof open as I said. Pretty neat! And having tried it out I can tell it's also very effective!
Engine options now, and there are two petrols, and two diesels. The choices are a 2.0 or 3.0 TFSI petrol and a 2.0 or 3.0 TDI diesel. And yes of course it is the 3.0 TFSI V6 that powers the S5 Cabriolet. I focussed my attention on the diesel twosome since Audi has indicated that unlike the first generation, India will get the A5 Cabrio too (In the last gen, we'd got just the S5 coupé). So now India will get the coupé/sportback and the Cabrio - and we will likely have the 2.0 diesel and 3.0 TFSI versions. But for what it's worth I am partial to the 3.0 TDI!
Even though it is still springtime in Spain, I still had to deal with fairly nippy conditions! But I simply had to keep the top down - I was testing a convertible after all! What helps is the air curtain design that sees barely any wind whipping into the cabin. The AC vents do a fine job of sending warm air towards you, and the seats and steering are heated. But another trick is the little vent inbuilt into the seat that lightly throws warm/cold air at your neck. That I have to say was very welcome and smartly done! The interior trim can be configured 30 different ways, and you can go from fabric to the leather of your choice.
This new generation of the A5 is a lot more dynamic and performance oriented than its predecessor. The same holds true for the Cabriolet too. The car's sport differential always sends power to the outer wheel, giving you a lot more confidence as you push the car a bit. The roads around the coastline were smooth and winding - giving me ample opportunity to test the car's dynamics and speed. The beauty of the 2 and 3 litre diesels now is just how refined and silent they are.
Hats off to Audi engineers for bringing us just extremely responsive, silent and dynamic diesels really. And yes yes they meet legitimate emission requirements too! The 2.0 TDI in fact is an all-new engine, making its first appearance on any new Audi model. It will make its way to stablemates from the A3 to the Q5, and I reckon the second gen Q5 that we are getting in the second half of this year will have it too. The engine is simply a delight, though the 3.0 TDI is naturally a way more powerful and fun - a sheer pleasure to drive.
The new A5 Cabrio has shed 40 kgs over the previous car, and yet its body is 40% stiffer - making it the stiffest in its class by the way. The new active damper controls and Quattro all-wheel-drive gives you excellent stability and control even at higher speeds. What I particularly liked was the extremely sharp, precise and very direct steering - a huge improvement over the last car for sure.
So I can confirm to you that the A5 will come to India, and we will get more than one variant. Naturally it will remain a fairly niche offering as it will be a direct import. But I am pleased that we will get at least 2 body styles and at least 2 engines too. The launch is expected around the middle of the year.