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Friday, November 4, 2016

Audi’s New 2018 A5 Cabriolet Is Predictably Familiar

The second generation of Audi’s A5 Cabriolet series will have its world premiere at the LA Auto Show on November 17, but the Germans are giving us an early look at their next soft-top that will take on the BMW 4-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class convertibles.

Completing Audi’s A5 lineup after the two-door Coupe, and the five-door Sportback, the 2017 (oe 2018MY in North America) Cabriolet adopts the elegant yet, oh-so familiar, lines from its other siblings, dropping the former’s fixed roof for a newly developed top with one-touch automatic operation that opens in 15 seconds and closes in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h (31mph).

At 4,673mm (183.9 in.) long, the new A5 Cabriolet is 47mm (1.9 in) longer than the predecessor model, while riding on a 14mm (0.6 in.) extended wheelbase at 2,765mm (108.9 in). Together with the more compact design of the seats, this leads to an increase of 18mm (0.7 in.) in rear knee room, with Audi stating that the new model also offers 26mm (1.0 in) additional shoulder room at the front, and an extra 60 liters of boot space at 380 liters (13.4 cu ft) total.

The rear seat has a 50:50 split, with all A5 Cabriolets now featuring an automatic boot lid as standard, with gesture control offered as an option. All the tech, comfort and safety features found on the other A5 models are available on the Convertible, including the optional 12.3 inch digital instrument display, but it does get new seat belt microphones for driver and front passenger that promise improve voice quality even with the hood open.

As with the rest of the A5s, the Cabriolet is built on the MLB Evolution platform, with Audi boasting that it has the stiffest body in its class, yet is also one of the lightest in the segment, dropping up to 40 kg (88.2 lb) over the outgoing model. The front-wheel-drive A5 Cabriolet with the 190 hp 2.0 TDI weighs 1,690 kg (3725.8 lb).

Speaking of engines, the Cabriolet will eventually employ the same range of powertrains as the other two A5s, with Europe getting a 252PS 2.0 TFSI, a 190PS 2.0 TDI and a 218PS 3.0 TDI at launch for the regular A5, and a 354PS 3.0 TFSI V6 for the S5 which can reach 100km/h (62mph) in 5.1 sec and top out at an electronically limited 250km/h (155mph). A 190PS 2.0 TFSI gasoline and a 286PS 3.0 TDI V6 diesel will join the lineup shortly after.

Audi says that compared with the previous model, the engines offer up to 17 percent more power while consuming as much as 22 percent less fuel.

Transmission choices depend on the model, and  include a six-speed manual, a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto or eight-speed tiptronic auto. Aside from the S5 and the 286PS 3.0 TDI that come from the factory with Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive, all other models are sold with front-wheel drive as standard and optionally with AWD.

We expect the North American model to get the 254PS 2.0-liter TSI on the A5 and the 354PS 3.0 TSI on the S5 variant, but we’ll know for sure in LA.

2018MY Audi A5 Cabriolet

2018MY Audi S5 Cabriolet

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