TOPLESS IN TOPANGA
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Feb 7, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Harvey Schwartz Last year we tested the new Audi A5 cabriolet with the all-new 3.0 liter supercharged V6 Quattro and enjoyed every minute spent behind the wheel. Gorgeous looks, a powerful 333-horsepower SC V6 engine, all-wheel drive, a six-speed Tiptronic automatic, a superb suspension, and the refinement and comfort one expects from an Audi. Historically, we found that all the goodness of an Audi can be had in the most basic models without having to load up the options. With this in mind, we wanted to try the basic 2.0-liter turbocharged direct injected inline 4-cylinder engine to get a perspective on the powerplant that most Audi consumers opt for. While conservatively rated at only 211 horses, that power comes on at a fat 2,500-6,000 rpm range. Even more impressive is the torque, which maxes out at 258 pound-feet at an even fatter range of 1,500-4,200 rpm. This potent little engine is able to solidly plant our backs into the seat when pressing the pedal to the metal at launch. With 90 percent of the torque available at just 1,500 rpm on this turbo machine, the A5 is propelled to 60 mph from a standstill in a scant over 7 seconds.
Making this all possible is an engine that features a cast iron block, aluminum heads, Audi valvelift system (on exhaust valves), dual overhead camshafts, precision FSI direct fuel injection, and a exhaust turbo with an intercooler that you can see through the bottom of the front air-intake. The engine revs high quickly and is very smooth and quiet from inside the cabin. Also getting our juices flowing is the all-new, smooth-shifting, 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. While our basic A5 didn’t come with the paddle shifters, the sequential shifting Tiptronic system’s shifter enabled us to shift within milliseconds, just like with the paddles. As it turns out, the new 2011 A5 2.0T FSI Quattro Tiptronic is the only convertible on the market to have an eight-speed automatic. That equates to a more efficient running engine with EPA mileage specs of 21mpg/city and 29 mpg/highway—similar to a high-performing non-turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine. Like all Audi automobiles, the quattro all-wheel drive system is a big help in delivering all of the traction you need whether driving on dry or wet pavement, and the self-locking center differential doles out the torque front-to-rear, and side¬-to-side, utilizing the front differential and the electronically locking rear differential, all controlled by the electronic stability control program (ESP). You can, of course, shut the ESP system off when you want to drive the car to its limits and test your handling aptitude. Helping with the smooth ride and excellent handling is the unique, all independent suspension system underpinning the car. The front setup includes five links, upper and lower wishbones, gas-pressurized shocks, coil springs and a tubular anti-roll bar. The rear setup features trapezoidal links, a rigid subframe mount, coil springs, gas-pressurized shocks and a solid anti-roll bar. The suspension system really smoothes out the bumps when we drove over poorly paved, pothole strewn streets during five out of seven rainy days we tested the car, and it handles the steep curving roads with ease in the mountains during our photo shoot when the sun finally made an appearance. Pardon the cliche, but it is like riding on rails. Audi suspension engineers have dialed in the right amount of comfort and performance.
The standard Servotronic hydraulically operated speed-sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion steering system is a perfect fit for this car. It’s weighted just right, giving us a great feel for the road, and reacted to our steering inputs immediately, and with precision. Just a little movement right or left moved the front wheels in the direction that we want to go. When we drive in the city, we can feel the steering wheel tighten even when slowing down for a turn. Slowing the car down from speed are excellent, power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 13.2-inch vented discs with dual-piston calipers, and 12.2-inch solid discs with single-piston calipers are in the rear. Braking control is enhanced with standard ABS and EBD with the ESP stability program also handling the braking action. The pedal always feels linear and firm. The harder we push, the stronger the braking power. The system really comes in handy when driving on wet, slick road surfaces also enhanced with the Quattro system to keep you braking in the direction you choose. Further enhancing the traction and control of the car is the giant footprints from the optional 19X9 five-spoke, twin-fork, alloy wheels wrapped around 265/35ZR19 Dunlop Sport SP high-performance, low profile tires priced at $800.00. We are truly impressed with the power and handling capability of this A5 cabriolet—just as much as we were with the more powerful S5 cabriolet. But this model comes with the new 8-speed gearbox that sets it apart from all other mid-size convertibles.
Inside the cabin it is comfort, with ergonomic located controls and luxury touches found in many more expensive midsize convertibles on the market. The leather trimmed 8-way powered front seats are super comfortable and supportive with a power lumbar adjustment for the driver’s side. All controls are easy to reach and operate whether it is the instrument cluster, center stack, or the aluminum trimmed gearshift gate with leather topped shifter. The center console features the electronic parking brake control, all-windows up/down control, ESP on/off button, a cigar lighter and ash tray under the center stack, dual cupholders, a large storage bin with leather-topped lid and armrest. The first aluminum trimmed control button on the center console is to lower or raise the three-piece convertible top that takes just 17 seconds to cycle, and keeps the interior very quiet on the road, and climate secure in hot, cold or wet weather. More standard features inside include a wind blocker that attaches to the sides of the rear seating area, foglamps, power-remote/heated dual sideview mirrors, air-vents behind the center console with its own thermostat for three-zone automatic climate control that is part of the Premium Plus Package, aluminum ‘Hologram’ interior trim pieces on the dashboard and doors, driver information system with trip computer, concert radio with CD player, SD card slot, auxiliary audio input, AM-FM-SIRIUS stereo radio with 10-speakers, electronic cruise control, rain-sensing, vario-speed intermittent wipers/washers, split-folding rear seat with full pass-through to the trunk, aluminum trim around the dashboard and rear air vents, instrument panel, center console. The Premium Plus Package that was the only other option (besides the optional 19-inch wheel-tire package) also includes Xenon plus headlamps, LED taillamps, LED daytime running lamps, 18X8.5 aluminum wheels and 245/40R18 performance tires, Bluetooth hands free phone interface on the steering wheel, heated front seats, Audi music interface that replaces the auxiliary input, auto-dimming rearview mirror and rain/light sensor. The wider aluminum-tipped dual outlets were a $130.00 appearance option.
The styling of the new 2011 Audi A5 is stunning, with a long, lunging hood and short rear trunk. Up front is the powerful single frame grille with chrome surround and chrome slats, a lower air intake for the turbocharger’s intercooler, side wings for the foglamps, lower splitter to increase front downforce, and the uniquely formed headlamp clusters. The aluminum hood features two discreet scallops at the sides up to the unique, steeply raked full perimeter chrome A-pillars plus another chrome strip that runs from the lower A-pillars all away around to the other side giving the car an elegant yet sporty look. The side shows gracefully styled flanks with bold and muscular fender flares, a full-length crease just below the belt-line and another full-length crease above the lower side extensions. Pull-out door handles make it easy to open each door while the side mirrors are aerodynamically designed to help cut down wind noise and feature repeater signal lights. At the rear, a lip spoiler at the edge of the trunk enhances downforce, wraparound lamp clusters are clearly seen from behind, a bold rear bumper shows character, wide, round dual exhaust tips are nicely spaced at the sides that cut through the lower blacked-out diffuser. The A5 cabriolet is one of the sleekest styled of all mid-size convertibles. The new 2011 Audi A5 cabriolet is a stellar example of Audi’s outstanding styling, world-class handling with razor sharp response, luxury, comfort and safety abilities found in today’s modern and more expensive convertible automobiles.
SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2011 Audi A5 2.0 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic Cabriolet Price: $44,190.00 base/$49,605.00 as tested EPA mileage: 21mpg/city, 29mpg/highway Engine: 2.0 liter, cast iron block/aluminum heads, Audi Valvelift system on exhaust valves, DOHC, FSI Direct Injection, Inline 4-cylinder with exhaust turbo and intercooler Horsepower: 211 at 4,300-6,000 rpm Torque: 258 lb-ft at 1.500-4,200 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel drive Transmission: Eight-speed Tiptronic Transmission with Sequential Shifting Gearbox Front suspension: Independent-five links, upper & lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar, gas-pressurized shocks, coil springs Rear suspension: Independent-trapezoidal links, rigid subframe mount, coil springs, gas-pressurized shocks, solid anti-roll bar Wheels/tires: 19X9in. twin-fork five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels/255/35ZR19in. Dunlop Sport SP low profile high-performance tires Brakes: Front-13.2 in. vented discs with dual-piston calipers Rear-12.2 in. solid discs with single-piston calipers ABS, EBD, ESP Dimensions Total length: 182.1 in. Total width: 70.5 in. Total height: 54.4 in. Curb weight: 4,034 lbs.