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Driven: Audi opens up with A5 Cabriolet

High 5: The A5 Cabriolet range now starts from $2245 more than the old model but gains a lot more spec and tech.

Audi’s new-gen A5 Cabriolet range ushers in new tech, more standard gear

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Audi logo8 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

AUDI Australia says it expects to appeal to returning and new A5 buyers with the freshly launched A5 and S5 drop-top range that has just gone on sale priced from $83,400, excluding on-road costs.

The base front-wheel-drive 2.0 TFSI’s pricetag represents a $2245 increase over the outgoing 1.8-litre entry offering, while the mid-range 2.0 TFSI Quattro all-wheel drive is now $95,000, a $4045 increase over from the first-gen equivalent.

The flagship of the range – at least until the rumoured RS5 performance hero is confirmed – is the S5 that, like its Coupe sibling, has copped a significant price cut compared to its predecessor, this time dropping by $13,505 to $119,111.

While each A5 gains a significant boost in standard features over the equivalent previous-generation variants, Audi says the S5 features $14,000 worth of new gear adding up to a $27,000 improvement in value.

Audi has dropped the diesel-powered variants from the second-gen convertible in Australia, citing low uptake of just five per cent of overall A5 drop-top sales as the reason for its absence.

Audi Australia marketing and communications director Anna Burgdorf said the A5 would continue to appeal to design-focused buyers in its new-generation guise, adding that it would attract a “combination of both” returning and new buyers.

“You certainly do get your buyers that are very design led,” she said at the A5 Cabriolet launch in South Australia this week. “In general as a brand, it is about how you appeal to a customer. If you deliver on your customer promise, and the car itself speaks to your lifestyle, if you successfully negotiate all of those touch points, essentially you have got a customer for life, unless you disappoint them.

“A car like A4, similarly the A7, these are design cars that speak to people. And in general, cars speak to people. It’s that real beauty and that sense of excitement or pride when you go and unlock your car. A5 is great from that perspective because it is so striking.” Ms Burgdorf said the company was not expecting the A5 to experience the familiar dip in sales that hits many sportscars a year or so into their lifecycle, particularly given last week’s confirmation that the RS5 Coupe would sprint into Australian showrooms in December this year.

“I think it will be steady. We have had really strong success with S and RS models from the get go and when we are able to do such a strong job with value, which we have with new S4, new S5 and now S5 Cabriolet, if you are in the market for a performance convertible there is no reason not to buy it.” Audi says the A5 TFSI Quattro would be the best seller out of the three variants followed by the S5, and the company is already holding about 80 pre-orders for the Cabriolet, including customer and dealer orders.

The typical buyer for the A5 Cab is aged between 40 and 55 years old, with an even split of men and women who live in a city, have an average household income exceeding $200,000 a year and have an affinity for travel and design.

Based on the A5 Coupe that arrived in Australia earlier this year and built on the Volkswagen Group’s MLBevo platform that underpins the A4, Q7, Q5 and forthcoming new-gen A8, the convertible is 47mm longer (4673mm), 8mm narrower (1846mm), the same height (1383mm) but with a 14mm longer wheelbase (2765mm) compared with its predecessor.

The four-seater is more spacious than the original A5 Cabriolet, with 26mm more shoulder room in the front seats and 18mm more knee room in the rear.

Cargo space is 380 litres with the roof closed, dropping to 320L when the roof is lowered, which beats both the BMW 4 Series and the Mercedes-Benz Class Cabriolets at 220L and 285L respectively.

The fabric roof features a new electric one-touch opening function that takes 15 seconds to lower. To close the rag-top, the user still needs to lift the button until the roof is completely closed and that takes 18 seconds. Lowering or raising the roof can be done up to 50km/h.

The lightweight roof has several layers of acoustic protection to keep noise out of the cabin, while microphones fitted to the seatbelts ensure better voice quality even with the roof lowered, according to the German car-maker.

Audi is offering the roof with a choice of four colours – black, grey, brown and red – at no additional cost.

Front seats in the A5 have a neck-level heater to keep occupants warm with the top down and it operates differently depending on whether the roof is up or down, as does the air-conditioning. The S5 misses out on the neck heating because of its sports seats.

Overall the Cabriolet is 25kg lighter in A5 guise – the S5 is 40kg lighter – compared to the previous model, while torsional rigidity has increased by 40 per cent.

In base 2.0 TFSI guise, the A5 Cabriolet uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine delivering 140kW/320Nm driving the front wheels only via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission which replaces the old model’s continuously variable transmission.

It can complete the 0-100km/h dash in 7.9 seconds, has a fuel economy figure of 5.9 litres per 100km on the official combined cycle and emits 133g/km of CO2. The 2.0 TFSI Quattro ups the power and torque to 185kW/370Nm and adds the Quattro all-wheel-drive system that uses a centre differential and a standard front-to-rear torque split of 40:60.

This variant has a 0-100km/h time of 6.3s, fuel use of 6.7L/100km and CO2 emissions of 154g/km.

The S5 has a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine that is 14kg lighter than its predecessor and pumps out 260kW/500Nm – an increase of 15kW/60Nm.

It drives all four wheels thanks to an enhanced version of the Quattro AWD system via an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and the S5 can be optioned with a sport differential on the rear axle.

The S5 hits 100km/h in 5.1s, consumes 7.9L/100km and emits 179g/km of CO2.

Both A5 variants and the S5 use a five-link front and rear suspension set up and, while the latter performance flagship gets adaptive dampers as standard, they are optional on the A5.

The S5 has 350mm ventilated front disc brakes with six-piston callipers.

Standard gear on the base A5 Cabriolet includes a wind deflector, LED headlights, Audi Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, MMI Navigation plus, Audi connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, a convenience key, a 180W sound system and 18-inch alloy wheels.

It also has Audi drive select, front and rear cameras, cross traffic alert, four-way adjustable electric and heated sport front seats, leather trim, three-zone air-conditioning and a multifunction sports leather steering wheel with paddle shifters.

The 2.0 TFSI Quattro adds a flat bottomed steering wheel, a seat memory function, heated and folding exterior mirrors and 19-inch alloys.

The S5 gains heated rear seats, carbon inlays, chrome tailpipes, S sport front seats, diamond pattern Nappa leather seats, an S leather steering wheel and a different 19-inch alloy wheel design.

Five options packages are on offer depending on the variant including the Assistance package, Parking Assistance package, Technik package, S line style and S line sports packages.

Safety gear that is standard across the range includes an active bonnet, a driver fatigue detection system, Audi pre-sense city with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian detection, Audi pre sense rear, a tyre pressure monitor, an exit warning system, cruise control (adaptive in the S5) and Audi side assist.

2017 Audi A5 Cabriolet pricing*
2.0 TFSI (a) $83,400
2.0 TFSI quattro (a) $95,000
S5 3.0 TFSI quattro (a) $119,111
*Excludes on-road costs

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