Monday, December 14, 2009

Audi A5 Cabrio: What's Not to Love?

What's not to love about the all-new 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet?

Well, had the folks at Audi just let me have the car for another 18 months or so, as I requested, I could probably tell you.But no, instead I get some excuse about providing it to other journalists.

So inconsiderate.

Alright then, what I do know, after my weeklong stint, is it is an awesome doggone machine.The A5 Cabrio supplants the A4 in the lineup as Audi’s convertible four-seater.We were quite fond of that one, but this one is even better.
Some reasons are that it's a hoot to drive (after all, it's an Audi), it has a very swanky interior and it's got a great exterior style.Technically, it is very similar to the A4 sedan and wagon.Appearance-wise, it is quite like the A5 Coupe.
Well, if you're going to build a new model, those ain't bad prototypes to follow.This model is powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower.That engine, while delivering more than adequate power, is remarkably quiet.
Driving on the highway, with the top down, I was able to carry on a conversation with my passenger in which neither one of us had to raise our voices.
But even if I had to shout, I wouldn't begrudge that with this car because it is such a joy to drive.The body rigidity, especially noticeable when you aggressively take corners, is tremendous.
The 211 ponies put out by the engine feels more like 300, and the 258 pounds-feet of torque give you a nice sendoff when you hit the throttle.The continuosly variable transmission is one of the smoothest of its kind.
A six-speed automatic is also offered.Our tester had front-wheel drive, but the Quattro all-wheel drive is available as an option.The A5 Cabrio knows not to gorge itself at the pump.EPA figures are 23 mpg city, 30 highway, and my mileage, in combined driving, was about 25 mpg. The good news is that you can open or close the roof while you're moving (up to 30 mph).
The not quite as good news, for some folks, is that it comes only as a softtop. Some people prefer hardtop, but that adds extra weight to the car, which would have hurt gas mileage and probably driving performance.
Plus, this isn't one of those chintzy softtops that convertibles back in the day had. No, this one seals snuggly and seems tough enough to withstand at least some vandalism, if that's your concern.And it shouldn't be unless, you know, your woman found somebody's steamy text message on your phone and, well, I'll stop there.
The A5 comes in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus (our tester) and Prestige.Premium Plus included 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth interface and heated front seats.Being that this is a relatively compact car, if you expect lots of storage space, you'll be disappointed.In fact, you should note that this is a four-seater, so the rear is very confined.
The trunk might hold a golf bag, or might not, but should definitely hold a reasonably sized suitcase or two.But if you're in the market for something you can drop the top and have some fun with, and who among us isn't, the A5 Cabrio is a great choice.It starts at around $42,830 and ranges as high as $60,560.Our tester had a sticker price of $51,525.

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