What is it?
Audi has a particularly sturdy reputation when it comes to open-top four-seaters. The original B4-generation Audi Cabriolet, a roll-top bath of class and stocky heft, cemented the brand’s reputation in a life cycle which lasted for practically the entire duration of the 1990s, before being replaced by Peter Schreyer’s B6-generation A4 in 2000.
Certainly, by the time Audi hived off the convertible into its current A5 format nearly ten years later, the model’s identity was well understood: reputable, elegantly understated, rock solid and a safe place for sunbed money. That each and every variant was somewhat staid to drive hardly registered as a problem for its buyers. Princess Diana drove a B4, and that, frankly, was enough.
The latest version of the Cabriolet, as with the wider A5 range, moves through its standard life cycle rejuvenation without seeking to alter the essential recipe. It's marginally longer and significantly lighter than before – as well as being more efficient across the board – thanks to the migration to Audi’s MLB Evo platform, but the look and calibre of the car is instantly recognisable.
Likely the greatest difference is the advent of the diesel engine not just as a vaguely acceptable method of driving a cabriolet, but the potentially preferable way. The 188bhp 2.0-litre TDI with the seven-speed S-tronic ‘box you can now have with front-wheel drive (meaning you can officially get 62.8mpg) has that vibe about it – especially as it starts at a tax-pleasing sub £40,000 in entry-level SE trim. We tried the sparklier S line version.