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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 1 April, 2020
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'If I had the kahunas to drive a €70k convertible, the Audi A5 Cabriolet would be top of my list'

Want a four-seat convertible? The Audi A5 Cabriolet may just be the car for you.

Image: Aidan Tarbett Aidantarbett.com

FIRST OFF, I must apologise for the awful weather we had last week. That was totally my fault. I was testing a convertible. But even though it was literally raining on my parade I looked at this as an opportunity to test drive the Audi A5 Cabriolet under real-world Irish weather conditions.

I mean, if you are going to spend upwards of €64,530 on a convertible, you’re not just going to drive it when the sun decides to make an appearance, are you?

Let’s assume not. Let’s assume that you are buying a four-seat convertible as your main car. Should the Audi A5 Cabrio be on your shopping list? Well, to cut to the chase, yes. Yes, it should but there are some things that you need to consider.

I love the idea of convertibles. I think they are glamorous and sexy and carefree. And maybe they are when being driven by someone else. When I get behind the wheel and drop the top it’s anything but glamorous. It’s more of a hot mess. Last time I was in a convertible in Ireland my head and face got badly sunburnt, then a seagull pooped all over the back seats and it splattered on to the windows. Cleaning bird poop off the back seats is not something you have to worry about when you have a roof over your head.

Source: Dave Humphreys

Then there’s the self-consciousness I felt driving sans-roof. I was paranoid when stopped at traffic lights that someone would just reach in and snatch my bag or phone. I also felt like everyone was looking at me and thinking I was a bit of a plonker in my flash convertible in Ireland. I mean, this isn’t California or the South of France, this is Ireland, where the weather is on the wet side and where people generally don’t like flash gits, especially those in premium German automobiles.

Luckily for me then, the roof of the A5 takes just the flick of a switch and 18 seconds to come back in place to hide me and my awkwardness.

Source: Dave Humphreys

Once that roof is back on though I totally relax behind the wheel and really enjoy the A5 Cabrio. The interior is beautiful and the quality is top notch. It just looks so classy. The seats are comfortable and the whole cabin feels elegant and refined.

If you are going to buy a four-seat convertible then I’m assuming you need those two rear seats and in the A5 those seats offer OK leg and head room for adults under six-foot. However, there are no storage areas at all back there so that’s a little inconvenient.

If you do need storage space you are limited to the boot area which holds a decent 380 litres with the rear seats in place. However, if you are driving with the roof down, you lose some of this space as it is used to store the roof.

Source: Dave Humphreys

When driving with the roof up, as you will be doing most of the time in this country, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is remarkably refined. More so than some non-convertibles that I have tested.

The triple layer acoustic fabric roof does an excellent job of insulating the cabin from noise and wind roar. Adding to the quiet ride is the excellent damping of the engine noise and vibrations and the overall refinement of the 190hp 2.0-litre diesel. It is actually hard to believe it’s a diesel under the bonnet.

Source: Aidan Tarbett Aidantarbett.com

When you do want to drop the top, it takes just 15 seconds for the roof to retract and it can be done when driving up to a speed of 50km/h. When I first tried to put the roof down I thought it was jammed and kept pressing the buttons but it’s just that the whole operation happens so quietly that I didn’t notice it was working.

Even with the overhead protection gone that engine is still whisper quiet and it really adds to the open-top motoring experience. As does the smooth operation of the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox. There is a little bit of shake through the structure over more rough road surfaces but otherwise, it’s very composed with mature road manners. It’s easy to drive too with nicely weighted steering and it offers more of a comfortable ride than anything sporty, dynamic or engaging.

Source: Aidan Tarbett Aidantarbett.com

But this isn’t really a car to be thrown into corners at speed, it is a car to be enjoyed in a civilized manner as you cruise along feeling the wind and the sun on your face – probably a bit of rain too – and listening to the world whizz by, because although the engine is quiet, when the roof is down you can hear everything else.

To make driving with the roof in Ireland a little cosier you can fit the car with optional head level heating (€664) but I didn’t actually use this as the heated seats were more than enough. You can also buy a wind deflector (€504) which covers the rear seats.

During my blustery September test drive I didn’t feel this was necessary, but maybe come one dry but chilly December morning when I want to drop the top I would be grateful for these two options.

Source: Dave Humphreys

Overall, if I had the kahunas to drive a €70k convertible in Ireland, the Audi A5 Cabriolet would be top of my list due to how refined and civilised it is with the roof up and most importantly with the roof down.

It has a wonderful interior and as far as four-seat convertibles go it is more practical than most. It really is a very desirable car with plenty of kerb appeal just make sure you keep the sun cream and bird poop remover handy.

READ: New emissions and fuel economy tests are a step forward but how do they affect you?

READ: Review: The Volkswagen Golf R is the grown-up way of going very, very fast >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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