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Drop-top A5 cruises in

2009-08-06 11:21
It's large, but Audi's A5 is also exquisitely styled, and it's become a lot more desirable since losing its roof.

The A5 is not petite by any measure. It's more than four-and-a-half metres long (4.63 to be precise) and at 1.85 m it's rather wide too. However, with its 2.75 m wheelbase, all the space it occupies also implies its four occupants will be swishing about in ultimate comfort.

Yet its wide track, large wheels and sculpted styling lend this car an athleticism that belies its heavy tread tracks.

Styling is standard Audi fare, though, the oversized grille and standard daytime running lights again being employed.

But the biggest talking point on this car is undoubtedly its absence of a fixed roof.

Canvas top

In typical Audi fashion, engineers at Ingolstadt have eschewed the de rigueur folding hard top and opted for a canvas roof, arguing this construction is much lighter, reducing overall weight and lowering the centre of gravity.

Fair enough. At least the large glass rear screen should avoid most of the nasty blind spots kicked up by most canvas roofs.

However, the three-layered roof construction includes an acoustic layer which, Audi claims, practically reduces wind noise to levels found in sedans.

But it does do something that a sedan could not - the roof drops in 15 seconds, and pops back up again in 17. And both functions can be performed while driving at speeds up to 50 km/h, a very useful feature.

Another useful feature is the sizeable boot space this convertible allows. With the roof down, it swallows 320 l, which balloons to 380 l with the roof up. For those requiring a little more space, the rear bench splits 50/50.

Safety first

Of course, not having a roof and still being able to claim this drop-top has "precise, sporty handling, superior  ride comfort and high crash safety" implies the A5 cabriolet's body has been significantly reinforced. High-strength steels, additional struts, reinforced A pillars and a solid aluminium frame with roll-over protection all contribute to this cabriolet's safety credentials.

Further safety equipment includes front and side, and head and thorax airbags, and a head restraint system for all seats.

Firepower for the drop-top is provided by the familiar 3.2 V6 FSI, 3.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI engines with outputs of 195-, 176 and 155 kW respectively. The TFSI comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the V6s are fitted with the seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch transmission.

Quattro all-wheel drive with a sports differential is standard on the V6s. Two S-line packages are offered across the range. 

A5 Cabriolet 2.0 T FSI manual - R 468 000
A5 Cabriolet 2.0 T FSI multitronic - R 484 000
A5 Cabriolet 3.2 FSI quattro S tronic - R 573 000
A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI quattro S tronic - R 581 000

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