Depending on the body style, the Audi A5/Cabriolet range can be had with a choice of engines, transmissions, and drivetrains. As a result, Edmunds says, it "takes on a different personality depending on engine choice."
The base Audi A5 Coupe is now a turbo four with all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is offered. The base A5 Cabriolet is a front-driver with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Add all-wheel drive to the four-cylinder Cabriolet and it gets a conventional six-speed automatic. All of these versions sport a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that lags a bit in delivering its power when coupled to the CVT, which TheCarConnection.com recommends you skip. The engine actually works very well with the automatic, executing quick, decisive downshifts; it's the clear preference with the smaller engine. With this powertrain, Car and Driver notes, "Audi claims that 0 to 60 will take just under seven seconds (we recently hustled the A5 coupe to 60 in 5.9, so that number may be a touch pessimistic)." They add, "all A5 Cabrios are limited to a top speed of 130 mph."
The larger engine is a 265-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6, and it moves the A5 with authority. It doesn't feel particularly responsive, but it's very quick and unruffled as it pushes the A5 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. It's offered only with all-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic. Edmunds says "the spirited V-6 provides likewise eager response," though elsewhere, they call it "a pretty relaxed piece of work," well-suited to the Cabriolet. In this configuration, the Washington Post applauds the Audi's "silky six-speed automatic transmission" that adds paddle shifting when teamed with the optional S-line package. Comparing the two powertrains, Motor Trend picks the turbo four with all-wheel drive as the "ultimate all-around option."
The 2010 Audi A5/Cabriolet can be expected to get reasonable fuel economy. It's certainly no fuel miser, but neither is it a guzzler. EPA estimates rate the automatic-equipped 2009 A5 at 17 mpg city, 26 highway. Premium fuel is required by Audi.
Hushed, capable engine performance pairs well with the A5's ride and handling. They're tuned more for serenity than taut feel. Steering is light and accurate, though a little slow and without much feedback. The composed ride absorbs most bumps easily, but tackles corners with less enthusiasm. TheCarConnection.com's test car had the base suspension and four-cylinder/CVT combination and still felt nimble enough for most casual drivers. Edmunds approves of the A5's "more relaxed gait," too, noting, "It's less eager to turn in than the coupe and it responds best to smooth, laid back inputs." ConsumerGuide reports, "Steering feel is responsive at higher speeds, but some testers complain that it's too light at low speeds." An S-line option package promises stiffer suspension settings and better handling, and the optional Drive Select feature allows the driver to tune the suspension, steering, and throttle response, which meets with mixed reviews in the 2010 Audi A4 also driven and studied by TheCarConnection.com. Braking is sure-footed and confidence-inspiring, according to various opinions researched for this review.