The Audi S5 is the high performance version of Audi’s A5 coupe, although the chassis is different. S5 has been in production since 2007, while production of the S5 Cabriolet began in 2009, with the all-wheel-drive version introduced in late 2016.
Redesigned for 2018, the S5 Cabriolet features an acoustic folding roof to help absorb unwanted noise, which also reduces the convertible’s weight by 88 pounds over the coupe. The convertible top opens with one touch in 15 seconds and closes in 18 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph.
S5 is available in Premium Plus ($62,300) and Prestige ($66,700) trims, both powered by a 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged V-6 engine with 354 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque. It’s connected to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, and the Quattro all-wheel drive system is standard.
The exterior is eye-catching, with a sharp, precise wave-design shoulder line, and pronounced wheel arches highlighting the all-wheel drive feature. Signature aluminum accents on the windshield frame hint at top-down fun, while horizontal lines across the rear with integrated brake lights emphasize the width of the vehicle.
Three-dimensional LED rear lights include a third brake light integrated into the aluminum strip framing the convertible top compartment cover.
A sporty front end features a wide, 3-D Platinum Gray six-bar single-frame grille – flatter and wider than before -- and a long wraparound hood with a power dome. Finely contoured full LED headlights (with LED daytime running lights) stretch from the top of the grille to the hood/fender junction.
There is a silver trim strip with angled ends anchoring the large black faux air vents in the lower front fascia, while a smaller strip outlines the top of a black cladding with integrated round S model quad exhaust outlets. S model fascia and side sills are chiseled and sharply creased.
Dynamic turn signals in the front and rear, LED turn signals integrated into the side mirrors (with aluminum-optic housing), short overhangs and a flat rear window emphasize the sporty appearance.
My S5 Cabriolet was the Premium Plus model, Ibis White with a black roof, riding on 19-inch, five-spoke wheels (they look like daisy petals) wearing summer performance tires ($800 package).
The Magma Red Nappa Leather/Alcantara seating surfaces with Granite Gray diamond stitching and S embossing on the front seatbacks, along with a black cloth headliner, and black leatherette-covered center console and door armrests with Magma stitching presented a striking contrast.
Eight more exterior colors are available for the Premium Plus – standard Brilliant Black, six metallic colors and one pearl color for $575 each – Florett Silver Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, blue tinged Glacier White Metallic, deep Navarra Blue Metallic, medium Gotland Green Metallic, deep Tango Red Metallic and medium Daytona Gray Pearl.
Standard S sport-contoured seats in the front featured 12-way power adjustment, including four-way power lumbar, pneumatic side bolsters and a multi-function massage function. Massage combined with heat, along with the top down (yes, even in March) made for a supremely pleasant ride.
Two adults could ride comfortably in the rear, with 0.7-inches more knee room than the previous model. Entry to the rear was easy – the tug of a strap folded the front seatback and slid the seat forward approximately three inches. Three automatic climate control areas, with a digital readout in the rear, kept everyone comfortable.
Interior choices include Nappa leather in black with Rock Gray stitching, Rotor Gray with anthrocite stitching, and in a Luxury Package for $1,350, Milano leather in black with Rock Gray Stitching.
Signature aluminum accents trimmed the inside door handles/upper door panels, air vents, instrument panel, controls/control panels, upper dash, shifter and surround, and steering wheel. The multi-function manual, tilt/telescopic three-spoke, flat-bottom sport steering wheel had S badging and shift paddles for sporty manual shifting.
My S5 had Carbon Atlas inlays ($500) on the upper door panels (which had Alcantara inserts above the armrests), across the dash, on the passenger side of the center console, and the upper wall panels in the rear.
A Navigation package ($2,600) brought Audi MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, Audi connect PRIME & PLUS, and Audi virtual cockpit. The virtual cockpit has a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, which the driver can customize for navigiation and audio, with two different modes – classic and infotainment – as well as Google Earth, with the touch of a button.
New for 2018, MMI controls now include free text search and natural language voice control. Free text searches, in very simple terms, can pinpoint pages that match one or more words, in groups divided by commas or in phrases, or words containing wildcard symbols (*, #, &, etc.).
Audi Connect Safety & Service with online roadside assistance, emergency call, service request and remote functions via Audi MMI connect app is standard.
Audi Connect allows access to compatible smartphone features such as navigation, telephone, music, and select third-party apps via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, controlled through the MMI interface, voice control or steering wheel controls.
An S Sport package ($2,500) featured red brake calipers, a sport adaptive damping suspension and sport rear differential.
For $950, a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3-D sound, 20 speakers and 755 watts of power filled the cabin with exceptional sound, even with the top down. The standard audio system features HD radio technology, SiriusXM satellite radio (90-day trial), dual SDXC card slots with 64gb capacity, two USB ports for data and charging (inside the console armrest, not very convenient), and Bluetooth wireless technology for compatible devices with streaming audio.
Audi Side Assist and Pre-sense Rear with Rear Cross Traffic Assist, and Vehicle Exit Assist are standard. Vehicle Exit Assist alerts the driver and passengers if vehicles are approaching from the rear as doors are opened, to help prevent stepping into traffic.
Audi Pre-sense Basic is preventive occupant protection, and Pre-sense City is low-speed collision-avoidance assistance.
The driver can select one of three modes for Audi drive select – Comfort, Auto, or Dynamic – for a ride and drive ranging from extremely comfortable to intensely sporty.
Parking System Plus helps the operator find a parking space (parallel or perpendicular) using front and rear acoustic sensors, and then automatically parks the car with minimal input from the driver. The system also automatically exits the parking space.
A vehicle-immobilization system prevents the engine from running unless the correct key is present, and an intrusion alarm alerts the driver if someone enters the vehicle after the doors have been locked.
My Audi S5 Cabriolet had cruise control with coast, resume, and distance control features; a garage/gate opener; power open/close trunk; rain/light sensor for automatic windshield wipers and headlights; 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks; trunk storage package with side nets, four cargo tie-downs, and grocery hooks; power windows with power retention until front door is opened; ambient interior lighting; illuminated stainless steel door sills with S badging inlays; stainless steel pedal caps; heated windshield washer nozzles; power central locking with safety unlock if air bags deploy; antilock braking with electronic brake-pressure distribution and brake assist; and electronic stability control with secondary collision brake assist and traction control.
Capable of holding 13.4 cubic feet of cargo with the top up and 11.3 cubic feet with the top down, the S5 Cabriolet was versatile as well as fun to drive and easy on the eyes.
Options added $7,350 to the base price; along with $975 destination charges, total delivered price was $70,625.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com