You don’t always need perfect weather to enjoy a convertible, says Hormazd Sorabjee who drives the new A5 Cabriolet in a not-so-sunny Spain.
Spain is a perfect country for convertibles thanks to its brilliant and predictable weather. But global warming and El Nino’s antics have riled up the weather gods who bowl a googly every now and then. It’s supposed to be dry and sunny with blue skies here in Jerez at the southern tip of Spain but instead, it’s cloudy, grey and a rather chilly 14deg C with an occasional drizzle. Not quite the perfect conditions to enjoy a convertible, but then again, the dismal weather couldn’t quite spoil the party as I feared.
Modern convertibles have come of age, an age of unpredictable weather and greater pampering demanded by their owners. They are no longer cars for cheery, sunny occasions but adept at all-weather, everyday use just like their hard-top counterparts. And that’s exactly what the all-new Audi A5 Cabriolet has been designed to be.
The A5 Cabriolet’s heated seats and unique neck warmer allowed me to enjoy top-down driving in everyday clothes. I’m further protected from the icy wind with the wind deflector in place and all four windows powered up. This neatly flicks the breeze just above my head but I still catch a small draught, which gives me that wonderful, tingling, wind-in-your-hair experience that makes convertibles so desirable. And in case a dark, heavy cloud does decide to take a dump on me, all I have to do is slow down to below 50kph and a one-touch button (you don’t even have to hold it down) folds the roof up in 18 seconds flat. This is particularly useful in unpredictable weather where sudden thundershowers catch you and there’s no place to stop. The days of stopping under a bridge or a tree to frantically fold the roof are long gone. Today’s convertible buyer will simply not accept such concessions.
Open and Shut case
The A5 Cabriolet is as modern as convertibles come, honed by 25 years of soft-top experience since the B3 Cabriolet, Audi’s first four-seat convertible to burst into the mainstream. Like the first-generation A5 (which never made it to India), the latest model is also available in coupé, five-door Sportback and Cabriolet body styles. There’s also the sporty S5 with an even more potent RS5 set to join the range later. Spun off the latest iteration of Audi’s MLB platform, the A5 is now 40kg lighter and stiffer than its predecessor, which should give it improved dynamics.
Coming back to the A5 Cabriolet we are testing, it’s a particularly handsome car with clean lines and superb proportions. No doubt, it’s an Audi through and through – which makes it similar to some of its brethren – but what makes it refreshingly modern is some of the detailing in the design. The finely contoured headlights, a more three-dimensional grille and the sharp, wave-shaped shoulder line (synonymous with the A5 family) give a truly contemporary look.
The A5 Cabriolet looks great even in side profile, with the soft-top up and down.
The stubby boot gets a distinctive spoiler lip and the slender rear lights get LEDs. Another nice bit of detailing are the reflectors tucked into the rear skirt, which breaks the bulky rear.