Audi RS 5 Cabriolet review: Hands-on

Indulge this petrol heads: introducing the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet

What is a hands on review?
Image 1 of 4 Audi RS5 front1
Audi RS 5 Cabriolet review
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Audi RS 5 Cabriolet review
Image 3 of 4 Audi RS5 interior
Audi RS 5 Cabriolet review
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Audi RS 5 Cabriolet review

Audi’s been strutting its green stuff of late, showing off everything from low-carbon, battery-powered supercars to city tours in A3 hatchbacks run on synthetic, “carbonneutral” gas. Get your head round that one.

Well, the RS 5 Cabriolet is nothing like that. It is instead an indulgent, two-fingered salute to sustainable living that's competing with its convertible rival the BMW M3 as well the Jaguar F-type from a different, more practical angle. Thinking of buying one? Why not just chuck polar bears into a bark chipper while you’re at it? This wagon is a monument to engineering

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet: Features

This wagon is a monument to engineering excess. We’re talking 4.2 litres and 444bhp’s worth of V8, zero to 62mph in less than five seconds and a choice of 155mph or 174mph top speeds, electronically limited. What the stats can’t capture is the character of the thing, dominated by that soaring, naturally-aspirated V8.

Turbocharged engines have their place, but if you want a car that hardwires excitement directly into your adrenals, there’s no substitute for kissing 8,000rpm with a high-revving, atmospheric set of cogs. Then there’s the seven-speed, S-tronic gearbox. It’s a dual-clutch item, so the shifts are as crisp and clean as the Alpine passes this soft-top RS 5 was designed to devour.

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet: Tech

Audi’s speed demon has been fitted with enough tech to more-than-satisfy the average tech troll. Traction is nigh perfect thanks to Audi’s four-wheel drive system and the latest dual-clutch gearbox, electromechanical tomfoolery.

Its excellent, Google-connected MMI system allows you to tweak drive parameters and control multimedia with ease and simplicity that will have your friends competing for the passenger set.

A precision choreographed ballet of folding metal is becoming the norm for premium cabriolets. Audi stays old-school with a multilayered fabric roof that works just as well as its adversaries.

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet: Specs


Audi RS 5 Cabriolet: Performance

Granted, the steering is more about accuracy and contrived weighting than feel and involvement, and chopping the roof off a big, heavy coupé like this is never going to improve the dynamics – this cabriolet weighs 205 kilos more than the fixed-head option.

Its fun factor and ability to mould itself to your mood remain undeniable. The latter’s thanks to Drive Select, which gives the RS 5 a mood swing at a flick of your finger. Toggle Dynamic mode and the exhaust note goes a bit ASBO, the throttle pedal all flighty, the steering weights up and the suspension’s sinews stiffen. You can even fine-tune the driving mode to suit you. Want the shouty exhaust but not the suspension thump? Not a problem, sir.

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet: Interior

Then there’s the typical Audi luxury inside and the granite-like density of the materials. It’s not an especially stylish cabin but its Teutonic disdain for flimsier alternatives shines through.

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet: Verdict

The no-frills, reliable sturdiness of the car's interior build sums up the RS 5 nicely: it’s hardly perfect. But it pretty much nails what it’s set itself to do. And to be honest, despite what we said earlier, carbon emissions of 249g/km aren't that bad for polar bears…

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet release date: Out now

Audi RS 5 Cabriolet price: From £67, 500, Car-on-test: £76, 420

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.