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.