- Four real seats in the Cabrio
- Striking and handsome lines
- Well-built, inside and out
- Multiple transmission options
- CVT in base car not very Audi
- Cabrio cuts down rear seat space
- Drop-top reduces trunk space too
- Safety features shouldn't be optional
Both the Audi A5 Coupe and its Cabriolet convertible sibling are striking designs that offer comfortable, easy-to-drive capacity for two people--and four in a pinch
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 meant for two people and some weekend luggage, though the back seat is useful for short trips, snug but not cruel for those passengers. The finely finished interior is laid out well, and Audi's controls always seem to feel lighter than those in its rivals.
The convertible is our choice here. The top lowers quickly and provides well-insulated interior space when it's up. It blurs the roofline and eats into rear-seat space, what there is of it, but when the weather is right it subdues all those complaints.
All A5 models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four, even the Cabrio with quattro all-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual can be replaced by an 8-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 is well-equipped, and should be at a base price of more than $40,000. 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.