As the A5 Convertible's more sport-oriented brother, the S5 Convertible is designed to straddle the line between sensuous style and track-tuned performance. This shapely ragtop is based on the same platform that underpins the more plebeian A4 sedan and wagon, as well as the marginally more butch Q5, but the S5 Convertible serves as the hedonist's flagship of the lineup.
Essentially an open-top version of the S5 Coupe that, the S5 Convertible shares most of the hardtop's styling and also uses the same engine. Both models recently received a mid-cycle update that includes sleeker headlights, a new "singleframe" grille and a more aggressive front fascia.
Motivation comes from a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. Unlike the Coupe, which is available with a six-speed manual, the Convertible comes exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that sends power to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The 0-to-60 mph sprint comes in a claimed 5.3 seconds, and fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
The S5 Convertible's engine is mounted further back in the engine bay -- behind the front wheels -- than is normally seen in Audis. The placement is designed to help aid weight distribution and provide a more neutral handling feel.
As with all of Audi's "S" models, the S5 features a full complement of suspension and styling modifications designed to impart a more sporting look and feel. Larger brakes and a tightened and lowered suspension help the Z-rated tires deliver the uprated power to the street. The coddling interior features carbon fiber trim, special seats and a unique steering wheel.
Upgrades for the latest model year include the newest form of Audi'a MMI infotainment interface and Audi Connect, which brings in-car internet connectivity and industry-first Google Earth integration - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
Unlike many competitors, the S5 Convertible features a light-weight, insulated cloth folding top rather than a heavier, but more coupe-like, folding metal hardtop. The top can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 31 mph, and an head-level heating system enables passengers to drive with the top down in less-than-ideal weather.
Standard and Optional Features
The S5 Convertible can be had in two trim levels - Premium and Premium Plus.
The Premium models comes standard with Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with iPod integration, Bluetooth connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, xenon headlights and LED taillights.
The Premium Plus trim adds a navigation system with Audi Connect, a 12-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with HD ratio technology, Audi side assist and a rear parking Camera.
Notable options include ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control and a performance-oriented Sport Differential package with torque vectoring. Also available is Audi Drive Select, which offers a variety of different suspension, steering, transmission and engine calibrations.
All S5 Convertible models come standard with dual front, front side and front knee airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. Also included is a pop-up rollbar systems that provides extra protection in rollover situations.
Car shoppers looking for alternatives to the S5 should consider the BMW 335i Convertible, the Lexus IS 350C and the Infiniti G37 Convertible.