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First look: Audi A5 loses its head

Top-drop drop-top: Newest Audi convertible continues with a fabric roof.

Audi reveals first images of its A4 convertible replacement, the A5 and S5 Cabriolet

3 Dec 2008

GOODBYE A4 soft-top, hello A5 Cabriolet. Yes, Audi has come clean on its plan to replace the popular A4 Cabriolet with an all-new rag-top convertible based on the cracking new A5/S5 Coupe.

Yesterday’s release of full details, European pricing and images of both a white A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI quattro and a blue S5 Cabriolet follows the leak in October of official sketches of Audi’s new topless flagship, as well images of the 2010 A5 Sportback, 2010 A7 four-door coupe and next-generation 2011 A8 limousine.

In terms of here and now, however, Audi has announced the A4 Cabrio’s successor will go on sale in Europe in the second quarter of next year, followed by an Australian launch in the second half of 2009.

Apart from confirming the four-seater A5 Cabriolet will continue with its predecessor’s trademark folding soft-top, eschewing the move by its most direct rival in BMW’s 3 Series Convertible to adopt a folding steel roof, the biggest surprise is the fitment of the S4 sedan and wagon’s piping-hot new supercharged V6.

First seen in 213kW/420Nm tune in the facelifted A6 model range that’s due on sale here in the first quarter of next year, the S5 Cabriolet’s force-fed 3.0-litre petrol six will pump out the same 245kW/440Nm outputs as the S4 sedan and wagon, which debuted at October’s Paris motor show and are also due here in the latter half of 2009.

7 center imageHeralded by a “V6T” front quarter badge, which is as misleading as its “3.0 TFSI” engine designation, the S5 Cabriolet’s blown V6 replaces the outgoing S4 Cabriolet’s 253kW/410Nm naturally-aspirated 4.2-litre V8, and headlines a list of no fewer than three petrol engines and two diesels, for a total of five direct-injection powerplants and seven engine/transmission options for the A5/S5 Cabrio range.

Opening the range will be the front-wheel drive 1.8 TFSI, with a turbocharged 118kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Next step up is the 2.0 TFSI, which in base guise packs a 132kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with variable exhaust valve lift control. The multitronic front-drive version is said to be able to complete the 0-100km/h dash in 8.9 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 219km/h, as well as being capable of returning combined average fuel consumption of 7.4 litres per 100km.

A more powerful version of the 2.0 TFSI will offer 155kW/350Nm and will be available in both front-drive manual and CVT, as well as quattro S tronic forms. All three should qualify for the sub-$75,000 luxury car tax exemption by undercutting the federal government’s magical 7.0L/100km fuel consumption mark, with the 2.0 TFSI manual returning 6.8L/100km while being able to sprint to 100km/h in a claimed 7.5 seconds and offering a 241km/h top speed.

Similarly, both turbo-diesel V6 versions of the A5 Cabriolet also break the 7.0L/100km barrier, potentially making at least one of them likely to become Audi Australia’s first diesel convertible.

The A5 3.0 TDI quattro, to be available exclusively with the S tronic transmission, delivers a bruising 176W/500Nm, hits 100km/h in a claimed 6.4 seconds, has a claimed top speed of 247km/h and returns 6.8L/100km.

Its even more frugal sibling is powered by a 140kW/400Nm 2.7-litre oil-burning V6 which, in front-drive manual guise, propels it to 100km/h in a claimed 8.6 seconds and a stated top speed of 230km/h, while returning 6.3L/100km.

Echoing the current A4 Cabriolet range, at the top of the A5 Cabrio range is the 3.2 FSI, powered by a 195kW/330Nm 3.2-litre petrol V6 with Audi’s two-stage inlet valve lift system.

Coupled to a multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) in front-drive form, it sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 6.9 seconds and to a top speed of 246km/h, it can also return 8.6L/100km.

The A5 Cabriolet 3.2 FSI will also be available in quattro all-wheel drive specification, with Audi’s new seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

As with the S4 sedan and Avant, quattro versions of the A5 direct 60 per cent of engine torque to their rear wheels, and also feature a new “sport” rear differential that’s alleged to better distribute torque across the rear axle.

Following in the tradition of the original Audi 80-based cabriolet and the first A4 Cabriolet that replaced it here in June 2003 (as well as the new A3 Cabrio), the new open-top A5 features a fabric soft-top, which in this case is said to open and close fully automatically in 15 and 17 seconds respectively.

To be also available with an optional acoustic top that’s claimed to reduce wind noise to hard-top levels, Audi says the topless A5 retains a useful 320 litres of boot space with the roof stowed, and features a folding rear seatback to liberate up to 750 litres of space.

Automatic seatbelt extenders will be standard, while European options will include neck-level heating and leather trim with a solar heat-reducing coating.

Read more:

First look: Audi blows S4's cover

Blown V6 for next S4

First look: Riotous RS6 sedan heads A6 overhaul

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