Audizine reviews the 2010 A5 2.0T quattro Cabriolet
I'd like to open this article with a bit of personal information: I had never ever considered owning a convertible before. Even nowadays I figured they were still a bit noisy or at least somewhat less stiff or weather resistant than their hardtop counterparts - but then I had the great pleasure of using one of Audi's newest soft-tops for a week. In that time I often found myself forgetting that I was
driving a convertible at all, and this was all during one of the wettest weeks
we've had here in Northern California in quite awhile. There were only two days out of seven that I was able to put the top down and enjoy all of the perks that the 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet had to offer. It was during those other five days though that I discovered what makes the car worth the nearly 7-grand over its Coupe counterpart. I'd always thought you were simply paying extra for a car that was only fun on sunny days, and well, I was wrong.
The exact vehicle in my possession was a brand new A5 2.0 Turbo FSI quattro Tiptronic Cabriolet in Deep Sea Blue Pearl with Cinnamon Brown milano leather seats and Dark Walnut wood inlays. The A5 Cab has a base price of exactly 42 grand, but this quattro all-wheel-drive-equipped press tester (it's $2,100 more for the quattro) was loaded to the gills bringing it to $61,800. I believe the only extra option pack it didn't have was S line. I'm certainly not one to complain about fancy features and gee-whiz gizmos, but there were some extras I could personally live without, while a number of others that I feel are a must-have on a vehicle such as this.
Let's start out with the dislikes and do-withouts. While I suppose I can understand why the A5 Cab isn't available with a manual transmission (you can, however, get a stick shift in the A5 Coupe), a car of this price should by now come with the much nicer and more technologically advanced S tronic (AKA: DSG) and not the old Tiptronic slushbox. I mean, come on Audi, it's 2010! The engine too could also stand a boost in performance. We know the 2.0TFSI is capable of much more, and could be done even without sacrificing much in the way of gas mileage - which by the way is rated at 20 City and 26 Highway by the EPA. It'd be nice to see Audi's "entry level engine" making horsepower closer to the mid-200s and not the 211 at which it's currently rated.
The most expensive option on this car - that wasn't part of "Package" - is Audi's Drive Select System. In fact, this was the second most expensive extra on the car. It's a $2,950 option, coming in below the $8,300 Prestige Package and just above the $2,400 Comfort Package (more on those later). While I can absolutely see the merits of this system, I do not think it's something I'd opt for on my own personal car. I prefer to dial in the car's handling myself, and don't deviate much from that once it's to my liking. I do, however, feel that this is a very good option for families that share a vehicle. For instance, I like the car to feel a bit stiffer and more sporty, while my fiance prefers it to be a bit softer and smoother. With the Drive Select option, one can alter the dampening of the suspension, the response of the steering wheel, and the point at which shifts are made. It makes compromise as easy as the touch of a button.
I had also never opted for the Bang & Olufsen premium sound system on any of my previous Audis, but after a week with it I will more than likely give it a go on my next purchase. On this vehicle it was part of the Prestige Package (which also includes nifty and increasingly familiar items like Advanced Key, navigation, Bluetooth, auto dimming mirrors, rain sensing wipers, Xenon/LED headlights, and LED taillights). While the A5 Cabriolet is again surprisingly quiet and refined for a soft top, there is slightly more wind noise at highway speeds than its Coupe or Sedan siblings. To help compensate for that, and for the times when the top is down, it's great to have the extra amps and added speaker performance that the B&O system provides. The range of sound is definitely better than that on the standard sound system which my own personal 2009 A4 has. This becomes more apparent the higher the volume goes and the more that the numerous speakers are pushed. Needless to say, I was impressed.
Now for the definite must-haves. The biggest bargain option is the $900 Driver Assist Package. Due to the convertible's inherently large c-pillar, the addition of Audi's Side Assist blind spot warning, backup camera, and rear sensors are all welcome additions to the vehicle. For the price, I cannot imagine even equipping a Cabriolet without them. They make both driving and parking the car feel much safer, and you as a driver feel more confident, whether the top be up or down.
To complete the all-season versatility that the A5 Cabriolet is capable of, I'd say you should also opt for the Comfort Package. Coming in just below the price of the Drive Select System at $2,400, it's absolutely the option I'd want if having to choose between the two. It gives you the added luxury of cooled and heated front seats thanks to its perforated milano leather. On top of that you can get a nice breath of air on your neck from its Headroom Heating System which comes via a small row of vents found at the top of the seat-back just below the headrest. It's perfect for those days when the sun is setting and you're not quite ready to put the top up, or those amazing starry nighttime drives that are only possible in a convertible.
Just when I thought I knew all of what Audi did best, from their top-notch interiors to their industry leading quattro all wheel drive, I have experienced yet another specialty - the all-season drop-top. In my humble opinion, no other car company can combine such an amazing list of features, functions, fit and finish. It's definitely made me reconsider what's possible with a soft top and why it's a completely viable and practical year round option. This isn't your momma's convertible, or even your dads. Don't let either of them drive it though, because trust me, you're going to have to fight for the keys back!
Acknowledgments & Thanks: Thank you to the staff at the Rock Wall Wine Collective in Alameda, CA for allowing us to shoot inside their facilities.