Audi A5 Cabrio

Audi A5 CabrioI’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t like Audi. I’ve tested a number of them now and the A6 was the only one that has really impressed me. Yes the S3 and 4 were immaculate in every way and are as good to drive as I imagine Charlize Theron is to kiss, but they lack all the excitement that may come with the latter.

You see of all the German manufacturers Audi are the most German (actually VW are but for the purpose of this article we’ll ignore that fact). And this isn’t a good thing. Have you ever heard a funny German joke? Didn’t think so. Has anyone ever come home from Munich bursting at the seams with exciting news from the trip? No? I’m not surprised.

Everyone at Audi takes life too seriously. Long service awards include a carbon fibre plated protractor handed out at an awards ceremony where the guest speaker waffles on about how he managed to improve the efficiency of fuel injectors by 0.000001%. And this excites the most German of Germans.

Head south across the border to France (they should know their way) and you find mad companies like Citroen and Renault. The former of which produces the C4 which has a steering wheel that appears to be stationary at all times and a couple years back their luxury models had buttons for indicators, found not on the steering column, but on the centre console. While the latter squeezed a V6 into the back of a Clio. There’s some lunacy for you.

Now head east across the Mediterranean to Italy. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani, Maserati, Alfa, Lancia. See all I had to do was list some names and I tickled every single one of your fancies. The Italians really know how to charm the senses with a whirlwind of fiery emotions.

Say, “Audi” and all I think of is some sleek looking running lights and unrivalled attention to detail. Hardly gets the blood flowing anywhere exciting does it?

And initially I thought the same of the A5 Convertible. Step inside and you’re met with unblemished perfection – business as usual then. Based on the amount, and quality, of leather I can safely assume 100 cows sacrificed their lives for each car. And if you ask President Zuma, that’s about 5 wives worth. From there everything else follows suit. I mean if Range Rover’s suddenly became “too obvious” for fraudster politicians I’d recommend they have a look at the A5.

The ride hardly disappoints either. While it’s not a hard-and-fast racer I didn’t have many complaints about the power from the turbocharged 2.0 litre powerplant, nor the seven speed automatic box. The suspension could be a bit softer though – the mix of reducing rigidity through losing the roof and what feels like solid shock absorbers is like sitting on a pile of rocks, during an earthquake.

But there’s a big “but” in here – and I’m not referring to any of Zuma’s wives either. The A5 Convertible doesn’t have that lacklustre German-ness about it. It’s not something I can put my finger on though. With the roof cut off the A5 is transformed from a typically mind-numbing Deutsche sports car into a tickle-my-fancy-drop-top. And as much as I hate the phrase, it seems to have an “X” factor – a little something that made me feel excited about going for a sunny Sunday afternoon cruise.

Price: R 493,500 (standard – there’s a massively long, and expensive, extras list)
Engine: 2.0T FSI – Turbocharged DOHC inline four-cylinder with intercooler
Power: 155 kW
Torque: 350 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.9
Top speed: 210
Fuel consumption (l/100km): 7.4 (claimed)

Verdict – breaks the Audi mould to deliver something special

Miles Downard

Photo Credit: Motorpics

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