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The 2012 Audi A5 is widely acknowledged to be one of the handsomest Audis sold, and many reviewers just give it the superlative without qualification. Certainly its designer, Walter d'Silva, said it was the most beautiful car he'd ever drawn.
The A5 Coupe is elegant and striking, especially in Audi's characteristic white color. Then, when you lop off the roof, the open-air A5 Cabriolet adds a dash of decadence to the design. If we were spending more than $40,000 on a two-door luxury car from Audi, we'd want it to be the convertible.
In either guise, the Audi A5 is a boulevard cruiser--what we used to call a grand touring car--at its heart. It's a car for a couple and their luggage to travel in, though one or two additional riders can fit in the rear. It's close-coupled but not cruel. The cabin is well laid out as well as finely built, and the controls are lighter than those of other German coupes.
But again the convertible shines brighter: its well-insulated top can be dropped in a matter of seconds, and it'll raise itself quickly enough that you won't get drenched when you stop in a sudden shower. Sure, the cloth top blurs some of the coupe's crisp roofline--not to mention eating further into the rear seat space--but the sensation of sun in the face and (a little bit of) wind in the hair makes those quibbles fade into insignificance.
All A5 models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four, even the Cabrio with quattro all-wheel drive. Transmissions are a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. The Audi A5 range produces EPA gas-mileage ratings in the mid 20s--adequate if hardly at economy car levels. No hybrid or clean-diesel variants are offered in the States, sadly,
In base trim, the A5 comes well-equipped--as it should with a starting price north of $40,000--and the options list is long. In fact, the only real option missing is the box to tick that will guarantee sunshine, balmy breezes, and clear roads ahead when you drop the top. More's the pity.