Audi has an impressive history when it comes to convertible four-seaters. The very first B4 Cabriolet found a place in a certain Royal’s heart and established a classy reputation for understated solidity that has lasted through three decades. Admittedly, they looked better than they drove, but the Lady Di connection was enough for most.
This latest version of the A5 Cabriolet follows the usual Audi pattern of mild rejiggery without tampering overmuch with the basic proposition. It's a bit longer, a bit more efficient and a bit lighter, but none of it is so different that fans will have trouble recognising the stamped-in Audi cabrio identity.
The 188bhp front-wheel drive 2.0-litre TDI with the seven-speed S-tronic ‘box brings an official mpg figure of 62.8mpg and a tax-enhanced sub-£40,000 price ticket in entry-level SE trim. We tried the spanglier S line model, which does crack through that £40k ceiling.
As you’d expect, the construction values are skyscraper-high, the look diplomatic and the drive soothing. Diesel-despisers may not like it, but the TDI Cab owes much of its cultured nature to an engine whose suppressed chunnering at idle quickly gives way to the refined, concierge-style driving experience that’s expected in this market.
The car is no catwalk model in terms of weight, but its 1690kg figure is 55kg lighter than before. That, plus a well-trained dual-clutch automatic transmission and 295lb ft of torque from 1750rpm, helps to take most of the grief out of everyday mobility. You’d never call this car sporty, but nor would you deny the accessibility of its performance. An edge creeps into the engine note if you press it to deliver its 8.3sec 0-62mph time, but neither drivetrain nor chassis shows any degree of disapproval with this type of stuff, making you wonder about the worth of the extra driven axle as offered in the quattro option.
Lower suspension is the S line’s default setting. The optional, adaptive comfort suspension gives a firm low-speed ride, and for comfort’s sake we’d counsel against the the 19in wheels also fitted to our test car. With the top down and the plastic wind deflector undeployed (that’s a 20-second process), there’s inevitably going to be a breeze in such a large four-seat cabin.
Raising the roof is slightly quicker at 18sec and results in a tranquillity that fits well with the five-star quality of the interior. The addition of a little extra distance between the front and rear wheels hasn’t markedly enhanced rear leg room but there wasn’t much wrong with that or with the headroom in the first place. This is a proper four-seater with proper boot space.
You probably wouldn’t buy an A5 Cabriolet over a Porsche 718 Boxster, even though the prices are in the same low-forties ballpark, but if your requirements include a seductive mix of soft-top style, space and status, plus continent-crossing range from a decent diesel, your money will find a good home here.
Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI 190 S line S tronic:
Price £41,780; Engine 4 cyls inline, 1968cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 188bhp at 3800-4200rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1750-3000; Kerb weight 1690kg; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto; 0-62mph 8.3sec; Top speed 144mph; Economy 62.8mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 124g/km, 28%; Rivals BMW 430i Convertible M Sport auto, Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line auto