November 07, 2016 @ 04:12 PM

Audi complete the family with the A5 soft-top

The A5 cabriolet joins the recently launched revamped Audi A5 range and it's got more to boast than before.


Adapting Audi's futuristic approach we've seen of late, the new A5 Cabriolet gets all the goodies. This means the interior gets a major upgrade from its predecessor. Gone is the bland grey interior that plagued Audis of old. Now you get the immensely impressive high-resolution TFT monitor in replacement of traditional meters. The virtual cockpit and head-up display is on hand to relay all necessary information to the driver without the need to shift your vision off the road. 


More space is a luxury you get to enjoy as the all new model has a 14mm longer wheelbase, increasing interior space, with a further 26mm shoulder room for the front and 18mm extra knee room for the rear bench. Boot space is 380 litres with the hood closed which should be good enough for basic needs. Thanks to a mechanism that lowers the luggage compartment as you operate the soft top, you need not worry about robbing luggage space. Operating the tailgate can be done from the key fob or, if your hands are full, just swing your leg under the rear bumper and the sensors will pop the trunk. You could almost call it a practical family saloon. 


With prices probably into the premium section, you're sure to get a blend of high grade materials that create a classy open air motoring atmosphere. Accessing the functions on Audi's MMI infotainment can be done either by voice  or touch on the 8.3-inch monitor. Audi say they have significantly improved the voice recognition feature even with the roof down by integrating microphones into the seatbelts. 


Not only does the MMI system receive input from DVD, two card readers, AUX and USB, but it is also smartphone friendly and charges the phone wirelessly using the Qi standard. Music is supplied via a premium Bang & Olufsen Sound System that features 3D sound and two woofers. A grand total of 19 loudspeakers give you the music sensation similar to that of a concert. Definitely needed when you're cruising at over 200kph with the roof down. 


Latest driver aids you can find on the A5 are Adaptive Cruise Control that helps braking and accelerating the car up to speeds of 64kph. Collision avoidance assist uses feedback from sensors and cameras to help you avoid an accident. Among others are also Audi Active Lane Assist and Audi Side Assist.


As for the exterior, Audi has carried forward the styling they applied to the all new A5 Coupe which means onlookers are gifted with the in-your-face Singleframe grille, flared wheel arches, LED rear lights, and the optional LED or Matrix LED headlights with integrated indicators. 


It's nice to see the classic soft top still in action while most car makers nowadays are moving towards metal folding roofs. Audi has taken the chance to improve and innovate the soft top designs, lowering the well insulated soft top takes just 15 seconds with an added three to raise it back up. Both possible at speeds up to 50kph. Mighty helpful in the event of a sudden shower. 


Dynamically the A5 has been beefed up. Losing the roof on a car requires necessary upgrades and Audi has made sure to look into them. Both front and rear axles use five-link suspensions now. The front being an updated version while the rear is a complete change over the previous trapezoidal-link suspension. For the more enthusiastic drivers, you have the option for adaptive dampers that can alternate between performance driving or comfort driving depending on which drive select you have it in. 


Audi is sticking to electric steering systems but doing their best to provide good feedback with the newly developed electromechanical power steering. The steering has gears that adjust ratios depending on speed and angle. 


The best feat Audi has pulled off is maintaining the A5 Cabriolet as lightweight as possible while managing to improve the rigidity. The magic number here is 40 as torsional rigidity has increased by 40 per cent while weight has dropped by 40 kilograms compared to its predecessor. The lightest of the lot weighs in at 1690 kilograms. The extra rigidity helps to keep occupants safe in a crash together with the head-thorax side airbags and aluminium profiles that extend automatically. 


The Germans do love their cars to be quick. Under the hood of the S5 Cabriolet is the brand new 3.0TFSI engine. This newly developed 3.0-litre force-induction power plant puts out 349bhp which rockets you to 100kph in just 5.1 seconds. With that much power, the permanent all-wheel drive Quattro system keeps you planted as you go through the eight-speed tiptronic transmission right up to the 250kph electronic limiter. The S5 also comes with 19-inch alloys, specific styling, Fine Nappa leather Super Sports seats and unique chassis settings to keep it above the regular A5's. It is a performance sports car after all. 


The rest of the variants come with five different engine choices, all of which Audi say offer up to 17 per cent more power with 22 per cent better fuel consumption. For now you can choose between a 2.0 TFSI with 250bhp, a 2.0 TDI with 187bhp and a 3.0 TDI with 215bhp. 


A 2.0 TFSI with 187bhp and a 3.0 TDI with 285bhp isn't available yet, but will join the line-up soon. Audi is probably the only car maker out there that offer three different transmissions for just one model. A six-speed manual, seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch and a eight-speed tiptronic is available depending on the engine variant. Standard drive goes to the front wheels while quattro drive and permanent all-wheel drive versions are optional. 


Can't help wondering if or when would we see the full cheeseburger RS5. 

Y.Dharmeswaran

 

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