2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 turbo petrol from Australia and New Zealand
Likeable but not loveable...
Complete engine rebuild after 27000km due to faulty piston rings and oil consumption problems. All handled very well by the dealer, but hardly gives me confidence over long term reliability.
This is hard to explain, but no car has ever had me quite so lost for words when people ask me the simple question "are you pleased with it?".
On a 25C day, on a smooth road with the roof down, it is a fine place to be. I have to say that cabin quality and overall fit and finish is near faultless. I think the equipment levels are good for the price; and, undeniably it looks great - classy and slightly understated, a "true" soft top still looks so much better than foldable hard tops. Performance is not bad from the 2.0T FWD set up, and I really like the flexibility of the CVT gearbox. As convertibles go, it is pretty practical; my kids can fit in the back no problem.
This is where it gets difficult. Whilst I never expected sports car handling, the dynamics of this car are very disappointing. Anything other than gentle acceleration from rest results in unbelievable wheel "scrabble" and furious blinking of the traction control light. If it is slightly wet, then it can be downright embarrassing! Driving the car hard in "sports" mode does feel like a rodeo ride sometimes - hanging on for dear life!
It's hard to explain, but I can also say that I never owned a car that is so completely lacking "character" in any way. It feels coldly executed, with the engineers at the centre of everything, rather than the owner. One of the things that really annoys me every day is the heating and ventilation. In my opinion, it's just trying to be too "clever" and is very frustrating to use - regularly changing settings in response to my perceived needs!
The ownership experience has been overall OK. I had one instance when I first got the car where I was left seething by the arrogance of the service personnel, but that seems to have been a one off. They handled the requirement to rebuild the engine at 27000km (a well documented problem with 2.0T petrol engines) very efficiently. Service pricing is close to "outrageous" - $800 for what is basically an oil change is very steep.
So would I buy another? I'm really not sure - I would think very hard before buying a FWD Audi again. Having also driven a FWD A4 for a few weeks when my car was being repaired, the chassis didn't seem much better. I would be interested to try a quattro model of the same car to see how it compares.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 22nd November, 2013
8th Jan 2015, 09:56
Owner update - after 2.5 years, I have sold this car. The ordinary dynamics just became a bit too annoying. I think the compromises required for top-down motoring and the slightly "safe" approach to everything made this something of a vanilla car for me. I wasn't desperate to see it go, but certainly wasn't disappointed either. I haven't stayed with Audi - moving into a BMW, so I'll be interested to see how they compare. With the benefit of hindsight, my advice would be that if you value the 'roof down' experience more than anything, then the A5 is a very good choice. If you enjoy driving, then I'd look elsewhere... at the very least, steer clear of the non Quattro versions!