Recently, I got the chance to drive the 2012 face-lifted version of the Audi A5 Cabriolet. It’s a testament to the beautiful design of the original that it took almost 5 years before for a refresh. A refresh that has only really brought the lights and the trim levels up to date.
As you can guess by the opening statement there, I have a soft spot for the A5. When it was teased by Audi in 2007, it came with a great advertising campaign and was the first real alternative to the ever present BMW 3 Series Coupe. The sports coupé has been a sector in the car market that has been sorely lacking. Hot hatches and changes to company car rules mostly killed them off, leaving just BMW and Mercedes to have the custom.
It came with a range of engines, spanning from the old faithful 1.8 TFSI petrol unit, the 2.7L and 3.0L diesels. It wasn’t until 2008/09 that the 2.0L TDI was introduced. The work horse of the VAG family. The version in the A5 comes as standard with 170BHP, be it front wheel drive or Quattro (Audi’s 4 wheel drive system).
So what do we have here? As the title says, The 2012 2.0L TDI A5 Cabriolet and it’s now time to start the reviewing!
I’ve given you the background above, what is it like? Well the one thing about the A5 is how much the inside resembles the A4 on which the car is based. The cabin is a very driver focused. That means that the same problems with the A4 persist. For example, the screen on the MMI. This has been a bit of a bug bear, as the space in the dash is so big, no matter the screen size spec’d, it’s too small. But it’s a very first world problem, ‘oh no, the colour screen computer in my car is too small’.
The fit and finish in modern Audis is second to non. They are wonderfully appointed and even thought the inside of the A5 is showing it’s age, the build quality help it stand out from the competition. Particularly impressive was the integrated Bluetooth for calls, it was very clear but disappointingly, did not support music streaming.
There’s two issues with the A5 Convertible though. Firstly, the back seats are very cramped, it’s the same thing with the coupé. The biggest issue is the boot. The roof system, takes up a huge amount of the boot. Rather than folding in behind the back seats, the storage system for the roof sits above the boot. This leaves space for things to be slid underneath it. It would be quite annoying to own this car and se how much boot is available, but you can’t use. I didn’t get a chance to try the car out with the roof down, but I can easily imagine that would shift the centre of gravity quite dramatically.
When behind the wheel, there really is only one thing you want to do in a new car. Drive!
The 2.0L TDI 170 BHP engine in the front of this particular A5 gives the car acceleration that is swift but not fast. With a 0-62 MPH time of 8.8 seconds, this is by no means a slow car but when you consider the 3.0L TDI unit will get to the same speed 3 seconds quicker, you start to understand that difference between swift and fast. In the 2.0L form though, the A5 Cabro assumes a different role. It’s a cruiser. It’s odd how much this car reminded me of the A6 than the A4. The suspension set up in the Cabro seems to be better suited to a softer ride than a sporty one. In the corners there’s a minimal amount of roll and there was a reassuring lack of under-stear.
Dynamically, the car is heavier than the coupé by 185Kg. That extra weight adds 0.6 seconds to the 0-62mph time and it lowers the miles per gallon by 4MPG. I have to ask a potential owner, is looking good and not having as sharp a drive as the coupé worth the sacrifices.
The A5 2.0L TDI Convertible is a very good car. It’s a comfortable cruiser and a perfect posing car. If you want more of a drivers car though, I’d suggest going for the 3.0L unit in a coupé rather than the convertible.
BUT! Let’s bear in mind that the A5 is at the end of its life and a replacement based on the MQB from the VAG family and most likely a version with the 3.0L Bi-Turbo TDI (the meaty thing that’s been shoved in the new A6 with 300+ BHP) will be not to far from showrooms. All of this happening while BMW’s 3 Series coupé is turning in to the very hansom 4 Series.
Here’s one like I tested: A5 2.0L TDI Convertible 2012
And he’s my choice: A5 3.0L TDI Coupe 2012