Ask most car enthusiasts if they’d choose a convertible over a coupe and they’d likely laugh at you. The idea of a sporty convertible seems a bit counter-intuitive to most enthusiasts. If you’re adding power, stiffer suspension and lighter weight to a car, making it a convertible sort of ruins the point, as ‘verts add weight and lose structural rigidity. So it’s like two steps forward, one step back. But traditional car enthusiasts aren’t the ones buying sporty convertibles. Typically, buyers of cars like the Audi S5 Cabriolet are people who live in warm climates who want a comfortable and stylish convertible that also has the power they desire. They aren’t looking to tear up a canyon road.
Top Gear recently tested the new S5 Cabriolet and have similar feelings about it. There’s no doubt that the Audi S5 Cabriolet is a good looking car, has a great cabin and is decently quick, but it’s just not a sports car and it’s a bit disappointing, given the “S” badge on the back .
Under the hood is the same 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 engine that’s in the Audi S5 Coupe. That means it makes the same 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. When paired with its eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive, it can get from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds. That’s a bit slower than the Coupe, about half a second, thanks to the extra weight. That extra weight also hurts its handling over the Coupe. Thanks to its extra weight and lower torsional rigidity, it feels a bit more sloppy through corners and isn’t as accurate to steer. Which is a bit of a let down, as the S5 Coupe is a good sports car. It’s not that the Cabrio turns the Coupe from a spectacular canyon carver to a wet noodle, but its extra weight can be felt and it just doesn’t respond as well.
This would all be fine if it was a great convertible, though. According to Top Gear, it actually struggles to do all the drop-top stuff right. The cabin gets blustery with the roof down and its wind-deflector is manually operated and has to be stored in the trunk. Compared to the power deflector in a Mercedes C-Class Cabrio, this is frustrating. Mercedes also gives its convertibles something called Air Scarf, which blows warm air on the back of the front passengers’ necks. So it’s not even the best convertible in its class.
Don’t mistake this, though, the Audi S5 Cabriolet isn’t a bad car. Its better looking than most, its interior is a fantastic and its a great top-down cruiser. So if you just want a stylish and comfortable convertible, the S5 Cabrio seems to be a good choice. But if you want something a bit more dynamic and a bit more of a performance, the BMW 440i Convertible and Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet are probably better options.