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First Drive: 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet

Set for the storm.

by on Mar.12, 2009

The new A5 Cabriolet's roof can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds -- and at speeds up to 30 mph.

The new A5 Cabriolet's roof can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds -- and at speeds up to 30 mph.

We think of them as sunshine cars, but when you’ve spend most of your life in the Midwest, with its fast-changing weather, you learn to appreciate every opportunity to drive a convertible.  Even now, as menacing gray clouds roll in over the French Cote d’Azur.

Pulling out from our waterfront hotel, we head for the Corniche, that gives a commanding view of the coastline, all the better without glass between us and the sea, the briny scent filling the breeze.

But within moments, the occasional spot of a drizzle turns into a torrent, something that would be a serious problem in most convertibles, considering there’s no place to pull over, at the moment, and raise the top.  But not to worry.  We slow down to 30, tap a button and our new Audi A5 Cabriolet goes into action.  Within 15 seconds, the top is fully up and locked down, dryly sealing us into our A5 cocoon.

That’s just one of the many appealing features of Audi’s latest offering, which otherwise has all its basics in common with the striking A5 Coupe and its more sporty sibling, the S5.

For this particular package, Audi has opted for a soft-top, which might surprise those who’ve expected to see the industry steadily migrate to hardtops, such as the latest-generation BMW 3-Series Convertible.  The debate is likely to continue, but Audi felt a cloth top permitted its designers and engineers to more accurately maintain the striking side profile of the original A5/S5.  And compared to most hard-top cabriolets, the new Audi maintains a positively cavernous cargo compartment, whether the roof is up or down.