AUDI RS5 CABRIOLET: ultimate rag top?

THERE are times when I regret saying goodbye to our Audi A4 cabriolet – the other day was one of them.

Not that I would be in the market for the car that started twanging the old nostalgia strings. At £68,985, the RS5 cabriolet is definitely a car for the well heeled (and not just the well coiffeured four inch heeled) as well as the well walleted.

It’s just that there’s something typically British about dropping the top at the first sign of sunshine. We’re mugs for it here and that’s why convertibles and cabriolets are so popular on the UK, where, let’s be honest, we don’t see a busting lot of sunshine in the course of what’s loosely termed summer.

So do you actually need a car with no roof that can do a mascara-ruining 174mph and get to the wrong side of 60 in less than five seconds? It’s one to ponder and you could argue that soft top satisfaction can be achieved at much lower – and much more environmentally friendly – speeds.

But that’s not what the RS5 is about. It’s about showing what you can achieve when you put the expertise behind Audi into building the ultimate rag top.

They’ve been loyal to the fabric top route because in their eyes (and mine too) it looks better than a tin top and they can make it just as cosy inside with its triple layer finish. For the record, it’ll open in 15 seconds, close in 17, and you can do it at speeds up to 31mph.

Not that it altogether drowns out the chorus, conducted by the exhausts, from the thunderous 4.2 litreV8 FSI engine which serves up 450ps and is best enjoyed with the top down.

Top down, there are few cars that come close in terms of sheer style, the trademark aluminium edge to the screen linking with the band that runs right round to meet up with both A pillars. It hints of quality, and that’s what you get.

The body is 20mm lower on its RS specific suspension than the standard A5 cab, giving it a bit more of a tarmac hugging appearance. There no doubting its ability as you grip the flat bottomed three spoke RS steering wheel that adds to the sporty ambiance of the cabin, crafted to Audi’s usual ridiculously high standard.

If money’s no object, and if you’re considering buying into this piece of motoring masterful ness it obviously isn’t, then you’ll want to know that you can specify ceramic brakes which they say are good for 183,000 miles before you eventually wear them out, as well as the usual tasty choice from the Audi options list like head level heating.

AT A GLANCE: Audi RS5 Cabriolet; £68,985 OTR; 4163cc V8 DOHC, 450ps, 430Nm; quattro permanent all wheel drive; seven speed S tronic gearbox; top speed 155mph (governed), 174mph (optional, governed), 0-62mph 4.9secs; Fuel (61 litres) – urban 19.3, extra urban 33.2, combined 26.4; CO2 249g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4649/1860/1380 (l/w/h); luggage capacity 320 cu ft (hood open) 380 cu ft (hood closed.

© wheelwrite 24/04/2013

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