S5 Teaches a Masterclass

By Derek Price

My kids tease me about loving convertibles because I can feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my bald spot.

OK, so I’m clearly not the Hollywood-leading-man demographic that I imagine driving a stylish car like this, the 2022 Audi S5 Cabriolet. When I drop the top and cruise around in the sunshine, though, I feel every bit like Leonardo DiCaprio raising his glass in “The Great Gatsby.”

This is a car that has a gorgeous starting point, the A5 Coupe, and takes full advantage of Audi’s famously forward-looking, museum-quality styling to turn heads.

The S5 makes it look even better with some subtle styling changes — some would say too subtle, because it looks darn similar to the cheaper A5 unless you’re an aficionado — along with a host of performance upgrades. It makes gobs of power, stops with organ-shifting brutality and flies through high-speed turns like its tires are made of Super Glue.

The Audi S5 Cabriolet adds drop-top fun to the powerful and stylish S5 Coupe. It also adds about $8,000 and 320 pounds.

The S5 Cabriolet, the version I drove, takes it a step farther by adding a power-retractible cloth roof, letting you expose the whole cabin in full Californian splendor. It’s absolutely glorious on a sunny day.

Unlike a lot of convertibles, though, it doesn’t make you sacrifice much when the roof is up. It’s whisper quiet, even at freeway speeds, and offers decent visibility thanks to a generous greenhouse of glass, including a huge back window.

It’s a perfect car for its mission: looking good, having fun and pampering yourself.

It’s not a hard-edged sports car, although it comes close when you dial in sport mode. It also weighs 320 pounds more than the S5 Coupe, which makes it three-tenths of a second slower to reach 60 mph.

The S5 teaches a masterclass on how to mix sporty pleasure with sumptuous comfort, though.

Its turbocharged six-cylinder engine makes 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and it sounds spectacular in the process. Under heavy throttle, it lets out the noticeable burble of a classic sports car but never sounds grating or juvenile.

The S5 Cabriolet’s cabin matches its sleek, modern exterior styling. Simple controls keep its tech features within easy reach.

The S5 feels exceptionally solid, something true of all German cars at this price. It also has a simplicity to its cabin layout that makes it look like a minimalist work of art while being easy to use at the same time.

Its interior is a comfortable and gorgeous place to spend time, including deliciously supple materials and a lot of comfort-focused tech features, such as massaging seats on my Prestige-package tester.

The only bothersome things about it are rooted in a misunderstanding of what a car like this is supposed to do.

The back seat isn’t all that spacious or easy to access, but that’s true of any sleek-looking, two-door car. If you’re worried about that, you’re looking at the wrong vehicle.

Also, because it’s a German luxury car, it’s going to be pricey to buy, own and operate. That keeps it sadly out of reach for many of us non-movie-stars.

Pricing for the S5 Cabriolet starts at $63,000, about $8,000 more than the faster and almost as cool-looking S5 Coupe.

You can add another $8,100 if you want the Prestige package with upscale features such as a premium sound system, LED headlights, top-view camera, Audi Virtual Cockpit and adaptive cruise control.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2022 Audi S5 Cabriolet ($63,000). Options: District Green metallic paint ($595), Prestige package ($8,100), 20-inch wheels with summer tires ($800).  Price as tested (including $1,045 destination charge): $73,540
Wheelbase: 108.8 in.
Length: 184.9 in.
Width: 79.9 in.
Height: 54.5 in.
Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged six cylinder (349 hp, 369 lbs. ft.)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 21 city, 28 highway

Style: 9
Performance: 9
Price: 7
Handling: 8
Ride: 7
Comfort: 8
Quality: 9
Overall: 9

Why buy it?
It blends stunningly beautiful looks with a powerful engine, sparkling handling and a sumptuous cabin. The convertible top adds appeal for sunny days.

Posted in Audi