The 2017 Audi A5 and S5 models are offered in coupe or cabriolet body styles. A5 models all come with a 2.0L TFSI 4-cylinder engine, with turbocharging and direct injection, which produces 220 hp, while S5 models get a 333-hp, 3.0L supercharged TFSI V6 engine. Quattro all-wheel drive the only drivetrain.
Transmission options are quite different between the two models. Both the A5 coupe and the S5 coupe offer a 6-speed manual gearbox, but the front-wheel-drive cabriolet comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission. A5 models can be optioned with an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, while the S5 is offered with a 7-speed S-tronic automatic.
The entire A5 lineup gets Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system, which sends 60 percent of power to the rear wheels under normal driving, to give these models more of a performance character and a more balanced feel in tight corners. S5 models get a sports differential that helps distribute power to further aid performance.
Cabriolets feature a power-folding acoustic soft top that can be operated at speeds of up to 31 mph; it also has enough thermal insulation for winter use, and special attention has been paid to trunk space. Even when folded, the top allows enough trunk space (10.2 cubic feet) for a couple of small weekend bags. The rear seatbacks can still be folded forward to access more space. The setup also includes LED reading lamps and a heated rear window.
Depending on how much luxury is desired, there are three different trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. S5 models are available only in Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
Premium models of the A5 include a panorama sunroof, heated power mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield nozzles, leather upholstery, a power driver's seat, cruise control, 3-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, HomeLink universal remote, iPod adapter and a 10-speaker, 180-watt sound system with auxiliary input and SD card slot. Premium Plus trim adds a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers, xenon headlamps, LED tail lamps, heated front seats and driver's seat memory settings, among other items.
Key options include the Audi adaptive cruise control, which applies the brakes as necessary to keep a safe following distance, and is packaged together with Audi Side Assist. Heated and ventilated seats are also available. The comfort front seats in the cabriolet circulate warm air at neck level to allow you, perhaps, to have the top down in cooler weather.
The Audi Connect system is also available, utilizing a dedicated Internet connection for the vehicle to form its own Wi-Fi network. The system also works with Audi's hard-disc-based navigation system to allow easy streaming Google Earth imagery for maps, live Google Search and live news, traffic and weather. The navigation system includes music-storage capability, while the MMI controller is simple and straightforward.
The 2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet feels light and balanced as its Quattro all-wheel-drive system digs into the pavement on a twisty mountain road. I glance down at the Virtual Cockpit display and see an upcoming hairpin turn on the map.
I can't figure out what I like better, the S5 Cabriolet's easy handling or its impressive technology.
Then I discover that the seats also include a massage function, perfect for long highway cruises, especially when accompanied by music playing over the 20-speaker Bang and Olufsen stereo.
The Good The 2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet's Virtual Cockpit puts crucial information right in front of the driver, and the navigation system nicely leverages connected data. Power and handling make driving a pleasure.
The Bad Only slight issues: Minor turbo lag on acceleration and an extra screen to navigate when switching between Apple CarPlay and the car's onboard systems.
The Bottom Line Despite the fact that the 2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet faces little competition in the premium four-seat convertible segment, the car still shows exceptional performance and in-cabin electronics, enhancing driving in city and country. Plus, massage seats come standard.
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