The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

gen­er­a­tion and is com­mon to an en­tire seam of mid-size per­for­mance mod­els, in­clud­ing the S4 sedan and wagon, S5 Sport­back and Coupe, and SQ5 mid-size SUV. The Cabri­o­let is the most ex­pen­sive of the bunch and a $13,600 pre­mium over the Coupe.

The en­gine gets 15kW more power than its pre­de­ces­sor, for 260kW; it peaks high in its rev range and main­tains it to the 6400rpm red­line. There’s more torque than be­fore and, as usual in turbo en­gines, it comes on strong from just a tick over idle. That makes for a re­lax­ing drive around town, com­bined with strong, tractable force to ac­cel­er­ate when nec­es­sary. It’s a drama-free surge to 100km/h in 5.1 sec­onds – three-tenths quicker than be­fore – and in num­ber terms that’s am­ple, but a lit­tle more drama would be wel­come. Even with the top down, the en­gine sounds muf­fled and re­mote.

Also sur­pris­ingly, since tur­bocharg­ing is in­her­ently more ef­fi­cient than su­per­charg­ing and the car has shed 40kg, fuel econ­omy is un­changed. In­stead, you’ll find com­pen­sa­tion at the show­room as the start­ing price has dropped al­most $14k. That’s a lot of petrol.

It might be lighter, but there’s still sub­stan­tial mass here and the sus­pen­sion is tightly wound to keep body move­ments un­der con­trol. It does a good job, with ster­ling com­po­sure, lit­tle ev­i­dence of body shake and plenty of solid grip’n’go. How­ever, there’s a penalty in terms of ride qual­ity, which can be abruptly lumpy, and this is not a chas­sis that speaks to a driver. There’s dy­namic abil­ity, but lit­tle to sug­gest where it be­gins and ends. The steer­ing wheel is a sexy flat-bot­tomed piece of kit, but the steer­ing it­self is some­what numb.

Not for the first time in a mod­ern 3.0-litre tur­bocharged V6 petrol (260kW/500Nm) Av­er­age fuel 7.9 litres per 100km


Eight-speed au­to­matic, all-wheel drive


$119,111 Audi, it feels like some­thing is miss­ing. A bit of char­ac­ter, per­haps.

The car is a smidge longer than be­fore and the rear seats can ac­com­mo­date two av­er­age adults – not a given in this class. With the roof up, their legs will be a lit­tle splayed and head­room cramped, but they won’t no­tice when the roof is down. Even then, the cabin feels like a refuge from the el­e­ments as lit­tle wind in­trudes. If re­fine­ment was the goal, it’s a win.

Lug­gage space is un­changed at 380 litres and the com­part­ment set aside for the roof can’t be ac­cessed even when it’s up. How­ever, the rear seats fold, greatly ex­tend­ing prac­ti­cal­ity when re­quired.

No ques­tion, this is a well-made convertible that ticks all the boxes for its class. The roof folds quickly, on the move if re­quired. The win­dows drop com­pletely into the doors with a sin­gle but­ton-press. There are heated seats all round and – some­thing I don’t re­call see­ing be­fore – rear over­head map lights set into the gen­er­ously padded roof. The doors are not overly long or heavy, yet rear ac­cess is ac­cept­able.

The cabin has all the qual­ity ex­pected of an Audi with a cou­ple of caveats: the seat­belt ex­ten­ders are cheap plas­tic items and the same goes for the fid­dly wind de­flec­tor. Quilted seats look ter­rific but feel un­der­padded in the sit­ting bone de­part­ment.

From the out­side, the S5 is dis­tin­guished by quad ex­hausts and satin metal wind­screen sur­round. This one amps up the machismo a lit­tle on the usual el­e­gantly tai­lored shapes from Audi, with a more heav­ily con­toured bon­net. I thought the pre­vi­ous model was more el­e­gant to look at. But the choice – such as it is – is yours.

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