Audi S5 Cabri­o­let

Sun-seek­ing S model ush­ers in a new per­son­al­ity

Motor (Australia) - - FIRST FANG -

EN­GINE 2995cc V6, DOHC, 24v, turbo / POWER 260kW @ 5400rpm / TORQUE 500Nm @ 1370rpm / WEIGHT 1840kg / 0-100KM/H 5.1sec (claimed) / PRICE $119,111

AS THE earth tilts to a more favourable axis Aussies will start warm­ing to the idea of an Audi S5 with­out a roof. After all, Igol­stadt’s white coats worked magic on the S5 Cabri­o­let’s donor ve­hi­cle, in­fus­ing a medium lux­ury coupe with daz­zling dy­nam­ics and siz­zling straight-line stonk.

We’re told the wheel­base has been ex­tended, slightly, for more legroom.

It’s 47mm longer. There’s high-strength steel pad­ding the chas­sis, and the end re­sult is a car 40kg lighter and 40 per cent stiffer than the old car, al­beit 225kg heav­ier than its hard-top sib­ling.

In the metal its sleek and mus­cu­lar, like if Heidi Klum was on Ninja War­rior, thanks to that ‘Tor­nado’ char­ac­ter line and bulging bon­net. Stow­ing away the roof, in 15 sec­onds, makes it twice as pretty, while neck heaters and wind block­ers make it less chilly.

At its core is the same 3.0-litre V6 quat­tro driv­e­train as the coupe, mated to an eight-speed torque-con­verter auto. The sin­gle-turbo hot-vee en­gine makes 260kW and 500Nm, but on the run it doesn’t feel in the same league as its hard-hat sib­lings. The driv­e­train’s a big step up from the 185kW/370Nm 2.0litre unit – with 500Nm at 1370rpm it is ef­fort­less when cruis­ing – but flat-chat to 100km/h it’s 0.4sec slower than the S5 Coupe, which is ob­vi­ous at the helm.

The sus­pen­sion also works hard to check the ex­tra mass: the pri­mary ride feels a touch stiffer over high fre­quency bumps, but it lopes slightly over rises and doesn’t turn-in as crisply.

Con­versely, the roof adds proper grand-tour­ing ap­peal to the S5.

The stan­dard sport seats are more com­fort­able than a Sealy mat­tress, and it’s eas­ier to have a con­ver­sa­tion at 100km/h with the roof down than in some closed-in sportscars. Then there’s that en­gine note. The twin-scroll turbo en­gine’s high-tech blare is like­able, de­liv­er­ing up­shift burps and spool hisses that some might find zestier than the old blown six.

In­side it has enough safety giz­mos to ba­si­cally drive it­self. Com­fort lev­els are high, even if you can’t have neck heaters on the S Sport seats, and tech lev­els are high. Vir­tual cock­pit re­mains a class stand­out and the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is highly ca­pa­ble, even if nav­i­gat­ing the lay­ered menus is some­times over­whelm­ing. Come op­tions time we’d skip the sports-dif­fer­en­tial and try and stretch to the Tech­nik pack­age with a high-end B&O sound sys­tem and head-up dis­play.

It won’t make you gig­gle like a Boxster, which makes us pon­der the sedan-cum-cab con­cept. But if you must have a swift lux­ury con­vert­ible, any­one look­ing at BMW’s 440i or Mercedes’ C43 ought to drive this.

With their on-pa­per price and per­for­mance al­most equal, it’s the Audi’s over­all pack­age we’d be lean­ing to­wards in an on-road punch-up. Audi hasn’t built an S5 with­out a roof here – it’s just not dy­namic or fast enough – but you won’t be at all dis­ap­pointed with the end re­sult.

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