2013 Audi S5 Cabriolet Quattro Review
What’s more fun than a sports coupe? Well, a convertible version of a sports coupe with a supercharged V6 and all-wheel drive.
That’s what you get with Audi’s S5 Cabriolet Quattro. The S5 comes as either a coupe with solid top or cabriolet, meaning it has a soft convertible top. The price starts at $50,900 for the coupe, with manual transmission and the super quick 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that creates 333 horsepower.
The “ice silver” ($475 extra) convertible version I drove includes the same engine, and it’ll knock your socks off. The supercharged power plant feels and sounds strong with a throaty, but not overly showy, exhaust note. No lag upon acceleration either.
Audi perfectly matches the engine with a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode. But you really won’t need that, the automatic meshes so well with the engine. Shifts are quick but smooth, and coupled with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the S5 feels like it’s in harmony with any road.
The car weighs 4,310 lbs., but this engine and transmission are so strong you’ll never even think about the weight. The car corners well, with no body lean. Steering effort is fairly heavy, but the wheel gives you good road feedback via its electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering.
With a 108.3 inch wheelbase you’d think the ride would be pretty smooth too, but the four-wheel independent suspension is tightly sprung to reflect the car’s sporty nature. It feels great on smooth asphalt roads but can deliver a stiff ride on rough pavement. This also had 19-inch Pirelli P Zero tires on it, aiding grip but not smoothing the ride.
Brakes are large, vented discs with stability control and are quick to stop this speedster.
Moving up from the coupe to the cabriolet pushes the entry price to $59,300, and with options the test car topped $66,000. But I’ve got to admit a convertible is loads of fun when the weather is 60 degrees or warmer. I had this on some “mild” November days but only drove a few miles with the roof down. Wind in the cockpit was minor, but the car is decidedly warmer with those side windows up if the roof is down.
Luckily there’s one button on the console to raise all the windows, which lower automatically when you flip up another toggle on the console to drop the top, which takes about 15-20 seconds.
From a driving perspective and fun factor, the S5 is a delight. Inside – well, the interior is typical German black, all business. This one adds a small strip of carbon inlay in the doors for $500 extra, but it’s barely noticed.
Most of that black interior is leather. This one had white stitching, and the dash had gray plastic trim with silver gauge surrounds, metal knobs and brushed-metal door releases. The S5′s main gauges are good-looking, with gray faces and a digital readout between them for trip info, a clock and outside temperature readings.
Seating is sporty, meaning form-fitting, and power adjustable with a couple of driver’s seat memory buttons. Lumbar support is power adjustable, too. Best of all are the seat belt holders that power forward to help you reach them when you enter the car. They power back a few seconds later to stay out of the way.
Overall, I like the sporty cockpit. I appreciate the three-level heated seats and metal-faced brake and accelerator pedals. Plus everything here is easy to reach and see. Sadly, Audi continues its love of the mouse-like dial on the console to adjust the radio. But I loved the MMI (Multi-Media Interface) navigation system ($2,950 package) that looks like Google Earth so you see real streets and buildings, not an abstract map graphic. The package also includes a rearview camera and parking assist system, which can be helpful in parking lots.
While I know weight becomes a concern on sporty vehicles, the fact that the S5 continues with a cloth convertible top instead of a hardtop convertible is a bit surprising once you clear $60,000. There is some mild road noise that creeps in through the rear windows.
I’m not sure why the Audi remote key fob costs $550 extra, as it worked identically to the remote key I had from parent company Volkswagen the week before with a CC sedan costing half as much.
The car uses premium fuel, and I netted only 18.5 mpg in about 50/50 city and highway driving. The EPA rates this at 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Not a lot of cargo space in the trunk either, but then no convertible has much. This one is listed at 10 cubic feet. Two small bags may fit in the trunk.
S5 is fun to drive, but expensive to buy and run. You’d be hard-pressed to drive this convertible and not have a blast – especially in warm weather.