2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet review: 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet

We like the idea of a small, turbocharged engine, but this one doesn't give the A5 enough push.

The turbocharged 2-liter engine is perfectly fine for everyday use, but you can save a few thousand dollars by not opting for Drive Select, especially considering that the only transmission available for the Quattro-equipped A5 Cabriolet is a six-speed automatic. We found this transmission performed well enough, with quick shifts in manual mode, but to really take advantage of the car's sporting characteristics you would want the manual transmission, only available on the non-Quattro A5 Cabriolet.

If you are looking for serious sporting performance, Audi offers the S5 Cabriolet, which includes many advantages over the A5 Cabriolet. The engine in the S5 is a supercharged 3-liter six-cylinder, the transmission is a seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox, and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system includes torque vectoring across the rear wheels, something not present in the A5's Quattro system.

Pump up the volume
The premium Bang and Olufsen audio system available in the A5 Cabriolet comports more with the luxury side of the car, using 14 speakers to throw 505 watts around the cabin. While not stunning, the audio quality is very good, the system producing distinct highs and palpable bass. As a 5.1-channel system, it really shines when playing DVD audio, but most of the available audio sources, and there are plenty, only offer two-channel input.

Audio sources in the A5 Cabriolet include iPod, CD and DVD, onboard hard drive, and even SD card.

Those audio sources include Audi's Music Interface, a port in the glove box with cables that let you plug in an iPod, USB drive, mini-USB device, or 1/8th-inch audio jack. You can also copy MP3 files to the car's navigation hard drive, which reserves space for music. As an odd legacy from Audi's first MMI system, there are two SD card slots behind a panel in the faceplate as an additional audio source. With iPods and the onboard hard drive, you can select music by artist, album, genre, and playlist. Other MP3 sources in the car only let you view music libraries by folder and file name.

The MMI includes a very good Bluetooth phone system, as we've seen on previous models from Audi. This system imports your phone's contact list to the car, making it available on the LCD. But, unlike a growing number of automakers, there's no voice command system that recognizes the names of people in the contact list.

Rounding out the cabin tech in the A5 Cabriolet are a blind-spot detection system and a rear-view camera with trajectory lines. Audi has long had one of the more advanced rear-view cameras on the market. It not only shows lines indicating the distance between objects and the rear bumper, it also has lines that show where the car will go depending on how the wheels are turned.

Blind-spot detection turns on a light in the side mirror casing.

The blind-spot detection system turns on an amber warning light on the inside of the side mirror casing when a car is traveling in the A5 Cabriolet's blind spot. It's a useful indicator to let you know when it is safe to change lanes.

In sum
The direct-injected turbocharged engine in the 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet sets a high-water mark for engine tech in today's market, yet it isn't entirely effective in this car. The Quattro and advanced suspension technology is also impressive, but the car's limited power doesn't let you fully exploit it. The cabin tech in the A5 Cabriolet is very good, but not quite cutting-edge, compared to other systems out there. Sure, the A5 Cabriolet has the best-looking maps amongst competitive models, and we really like the route guidance, but the navigation system is lacking in some useful features, such as external data sources other than traffic. Driver-aid features, such as the blind-spot detection system, help push up the level of cabin tech. As for the exterior, the soft top takes away some of the beauty from the coupe design.

Spec box
Model 2010 Audi A5
Trim Quattro 2.0 TFSI Cabriolet
Powertrain Turbocharged direct injection 2-liter four cylinder
EPA fuel economy 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Observed fuel economy 20.6 mpg
Navigation Optional hard drive-based system with live traffic
Bluetooth phone support Optional
Disc player MP3 compatible single CD/DVD player
MP3 player support iPod integration
Other digital audio Satellite radio, USB drive, mini-USB devices, onboard hard drive, auxiliary input
Audio system Optional Bang and Olufsen 5.1 channel 505 watt 14 speaker system
Driver aids Rear view camera with trajectory lines, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control
Base price $44,100
Price as tested $61,800

What you'll pay

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