Dream Machine: The 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0T quattro S tronic

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet
The 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet.
I was raised to believe that flashy and quality simply did not go together.  Things must have changed, because the 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet is flashy personified and the quality is tremendous.

Side view of 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet
2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet.
The aesthetic, emotional impact of this car is huge.  It is lithe and sleek and awe-and-envy inspiring.

It is art, and yet it is machinery.  And the machinery works so very well. 

The name in the headline of this review is long---A5 Cabriolet 2.0T quattro S tronic---but it tells a lot.  It's the midsize Audi, a cousin to the A4 sedan, it has Audi's two-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine (252 horsepower), it is all-wheel drive and it has Audi's S tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, a dual-clutch transmission that allows for fully manual shifting through the steering wheel-mounted paddles and which shifts from one gear to the next in two-tenths of a second with no interruption to power flow.  One clutch controls the odd-numbered gears, the other clutch controls the even-numbered gears.

In standard, no-option form, the 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0T quattro S tronic costs $49,600.  That price is a bargain, your brain says as you continue to stare at the beauty of the car itself.  And your brain continues to say that as you peruse the list of standard equipment at that price:

  • 18-inch, ten-spoke wheels
  • All-season tires
  • Energy recuperation system with start/stop
  • Space-saving spare tire
  • Audi Drive Select
  • Audi sound system
  • Xenon Plus headlamps
  • Acoustic convertible top
  • Auto-dimming interior mirror with compass
  • Driver information system with seven-inch color display
  • HomeLink garage door opener
  • Heated power exterior mirrors
  • Leather seating surfaces
  • LED interior lighting
  • Bluetooth mobile phone prep with audio streaming
  • Rain and light sensor
  • Split-folding rear seatback
  • Three-zone automatic climate control with digital rear display
  • USB Audi music interface with smartphone interface
  • Voice control with seatbelt microphones
  • Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles
  • Ten-way power adjustable front seats with four-way driver lumbar adjustment
  • Six airbags
  • Anti-lock braking with Brake Assist
  • Audi Pre-Sense Basic and City
  • Electronic Stabilization Control with Sport Mode
  • Electronic vehicle immobilization
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED taillights with dynamic turn signals
  • Rearview camera
  • Tire pressure monitoring
Interior view of 2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet
2018 Audi A5 Cabriolet interior.
And while the optional equipment on our test vehicle altered the pricing by close to $15,000, there's not much we would want to live without, having experienced it:

  • Florett Silver Metallic paint with a black soft top ($575)
  • The Prestige Package, featuring heated, auto-dimming, power-folding exterior mirrors with memory, an alarm system with motion sensors, SiriusXM All Access, Audi Enhanced Key, full LED headlights, Audi Side Assist with pre-sense rear,  Leatherette-covered center console and door armrests, a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D Sound, Parking System Plus with top-view camera system, a full-color head-up display, LED interior lighting plus package, Audi Virtual Cockpit, Audi MMI Navigation with MMI Touch, Audi Connect CARE Prime and Plus ($7,600)
  • The Luxury Package, featuring ventilated front sport seats with four-way power lumbar, a heated steering wheel and neck-level heating ($2,100)
  • The Driver Assistance Package, with adaptive cruise control and Audi Active Lane Assist, high-beam assistant and traffic sign recognition ($1,800)
  • 19-inch Design line wheel package and sport suspension ($1,050)
  • Adaptive damping suspension ($1,000)
  • High-gloss dark brown walnut wood inlays ($350)
With $975 destination charge, the as-tested price came to $65,050.   EPA fuel economy estimate 24 city/34 highway.

At a time when excellent cars abound and said excellence is said to have made things boring, it is a joy to drive a car that is excellent and quickens the pulse.  And that is the Audi A5 Cabriolet.