Several things can be stated without fear of being proved wrong, Graham Norton will always be irritating and a bad stereotype, British summertime will be a total disappointment and last no more than three weeks, I will continue wasting money playing the lottery and will almost definitely not win the jackpot and Audi Cabriolets will always be a touch of brilliance and massively popular with the general public.
So the A4 Cabriolet has driven off into the sunset and that eternal summer in the sky, yes it will be hugely missed, it's been a market leader for more than a decade and was almost unfaultable. But here's the good news, the A4 Cabriolet will be replaced by a car that defies belief when it comes to build quality, styling and just out-and-out gorgeousness - the all new A5 Cabriolet (oh come on, like you couldn't have seen that coming!). The A5 is a stunning 4 seater motor, whatever angle it happens to catch your eye, you aren't disappointed. Compared to the A4 is of equal size, but its road presence slaps the outgoing A4 Cab to the kerb. It's imposing, its just beautiful to look at, with super-sexy curves in all the right places and a waistline that would make a catwalk model put down her lettuce leaf lunch and run to the toilet, finger at the ready. As a replacement I can't help but feel, styling wise, it's in a different league to that of the A4.
It also remains a soft fabric top in a world of hard top coupe-convertibles, which actually is really nice as with the roof closed it looks much sportier than most of the hard top coupe convertibles with the roof up. Due to the fabric roof, the rear end profile is more Vanessa Williams that the Vanessa Feltz profile of many of the hard top drop tops. Boot space is another area is class leading thanks to that fabric hood, even with the hood down there's plenty of space for a weekend break's luggage for two. That hood is also lightening quick, dropping in 15secs and closing back up in a just as quick 17secs, which means that should the rain start (like it did in Spain on the launch) you wont get soaked. The other seriously great feature of the hood is that it can be dropped or raised at speeds of up to 31mph, meaning no more pulling over to let the sun in or shut the rain out.
Now I got to attend the Audi launch of the all new car, yes it was in Granada, yes the roads were great, the weather however turned out to be more British than Spanish. I did however get to test the A5 on some of the best road routes to highlight just how good the A5 is. I tested both the 3.0L TDI Quattro S Line Diesel and the 2.0L TFSI Petrol models. Neither engine disappointed, both performing outstanding and proving that Audi will keep fighting for the crown of King of the Cabriolets, but let's start with the 2.0L model: The front wheel drive 2L models has the superb 210bhp 2.0L TFSI engine mated with a 6sp gearbox, which gives a lively fun drive, it's definitely a cruiser more than a performance motor. The ESP stability program and all new suspension and chassis ensure that even the base model can be thrown around and be a lot of fun to drive. It's comfortable on long journeys, although I thought rear legroom was adequate but not outstanding. 0-62mph takes 7.5secs so its not exactly slow, top speed is 150mph and the economical soft top will do 42mpg on the combined cycle, so it shouldn't cost a fortune in fuel.
The entry level model comes with plenty of kit and toys to keep you happy and is well worth the base price of £29,800 OTR
Moving on to the top end of the range, the Quattro 3L Turbocharged TDI Diesel we tested, WOW is all I will say. The engine mated with Audi's outstanding Quattro 4 wheel drive system really brings the A5 Cab to life, totally changing it from a cruiser to an high performance sports cab. The extra bhp from the bigger engine unit cut the 0-62mph time down to 6.4secs and still returns almost the same fuel economy figures. It's more fun, and just as exciting, as a dirty weekend with Ryan Reynolds (to be fair you're more likely to spend a weekend with the car than you are Mr Reynolds, dirty or not). With the S line kit added the A5 also gets a bigger beefier body and is slightly more buff than the aforementioned hunk (in a towel).
Thanks to the Quattro system this is another Audi with more attitude than Gwyneth Paltrow. The handling is second to none, whether your toddling along or aggressively tanking down country lanes, its true driver entertainment to the absolute maximum. I just smiled from ear to ear when pushing it into tight corners and down the twisting Spanish mountain roads. Audi and performance that just makes you want to drive for hours go hand in hand like Big Brother 10 and boredom, without a shadow of a doubt the new A5 especially in Quattro 3L TDI S Line guise is definitely the Cabriolet for 2009, the Quattro 3L S Line starts at £40,390 OTR, if you can wait another 6 months the S5 Cabriolet will be on the roads starting at £42,000 for more seriously performance car drivers.