Generally, I find it frustrating to have a car that looks fast and isn’t. Such is the case with the 2012 Audi A5 S-Type Cabriolet. It is such a good-looking car, and it has many redeeming qualities. It is hard to find a prettier or better handling car anywhere. It is a rare car in my opinion, one that looks good, isn’t small, and gets great gas mileage.
I’ll start under the hood with the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with FSI, which means Fuel Stratified Injection. This is a very advanced engine. In contrast to conventional intake manifold injection on conventional spark-ignition engines, FSI engines inject fuel directly into the combustion chambers, dispensing with the throttle plate. That “unthrottles” the engine, reduces heat loss and thus increases output while reducing fuel consumption. The system uses two charge-air supply modes: stratified charge at partial load and homogeneous operation at full load. That is a lot of information but very interesting to me. With this technology, Audi is able to milk 211-horses out of a small engine.
The A5 turbo comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission that has shift paddles on the steering wheel. My test vehicle has the terrific Audi Quattro system. This is their permanent all-wheel drive system that has been such a hit with car enthusiasts. My experience over the years, and as an Audi owner myself, is nothing handles like an Audi Quattro.
The A5 comes nicely equipped, like you would expect from an Audi. The one I have has three packages on top of the base model:
-Prestige package costs $9200 retail, and includes xenon lights, climate controlled air conditioning, navigation system, Bang & Olufsen sound system, heated front seats and a few other items.
-S Line package comes at a cost of $1500 and comes with 19” Y-design wheels, cloth headliner, leather interior, a special exterior package, and aluminum inlays inside.
-Sport package is $1000 and includes sport seats, sport suspension, and a 3-spoke steering wheel with controls, and shift paddles.
The interior of the car is stunning in every way. It is extremely comfortable inside and the dash layout is terrific. The 8-way power seats are easy to adjust and get comfortable. The A5 has a blind-spot monitoring system. Audi has a system that runs virtually everything called MMI, Multi Media Interface. Even as an Audi owner myself, I find the system to be cumbersome with a steep learning curve. It is not as bad as the old BMW I-drive system and it’s not bad enough to keep me from loving my A8, but it is a bit of a whipping. By definition, the A5 ragtop has a back seat, but in a practical sense, it doesn’t. It is very cramped back there.
Speaking of ragtops, that is exactly what it has. Most of the newer convertibles have gone to retractable hardtops. I have had both types over the years, the plus of the Audi ragtop is it cuts down on the weight of the car, and when the top is down it doesn’t take up the entire trunk area. Operation of the top is smooth and as quick as I have ever seen, 15 seconds up and the same down. I also like the look of the soft top on a car.
I love the handling of this car, dearly love the look of the exterior, love the interior, and was shocked to get 30-miles per gallon in a car this size. My issue is for the price of this car, I want more than 211-horses under the hood.
What I liked most: The exterior and interior.
What I would change: Give me the S5 engine for the same money.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 21 city and 29 highway, but doing 30 consistently.
2012 A5 Cabriolet in a few words: I wish it performed as well as it looks.