SALT LAKE CITY — In early January, Audi announced the 2013 S5 Cabriolet. It will come with a 4.2 liter engine putting out 450 horsepower. Audi also claims it’ll do zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, with the top speed limited to 174 mph. Audi will ask $68,900 of you before it hands one over.
We borrowed an A5 2.0T (turbo) coupe Quattro (all-wheel drive) tiptronic (automatic) — that’s a lot of parentheses and numbers — and took it for a test drive. This is not an exhaustive review of the 2013 A5 that Audi loaned us. Rather, it covers a couple of cool features, and a couple of mediocre ones. Here's what we found.
The A5 is not cheap; our tester, with smaller engine and a harder roof, was a bit cheaper and optioned up to $48,560. But its greatest asset is what it does when the road is a liability. With all-wheel drive and electronic stability, ice doesn’t keep it from stopping, or going. It has a 2 liter turbo that makes 211 horsepower. Cool.
The A5 has Google maps for its nav system. When you enter in a business, it’ll auto-complete. But this spinning text entry wheel’s going to cause an accident if you do it while driving. The navigation voice is a little bossy, but traffic updates are great.
According to Consumer Reports, 76 percent of Audi A5 owners would buy one again.
The backup camera is neat, but going into reverse cuts off the loud stereo, which might prevent an accident. If the rear window goes snow-blind, the backup camera fills in.
No complaints about the cargo space. It’s a coupe, not a wagon.
The A5 rocks in the snow. We never felt a problem with traction, but you know when the ABS is working.
The main potential problem is possible over-confidence. The Audi comes with what it calls all-season tires, but they’re pretty wide. We’re not saying you would go too fast for conditions because you weren’t driving this four-wheel drive, but the Audi’s good enough in bad weather to induce invincibility. Just so you’re aware.
External reviews are somewhat mixed, though favorable overall. According to Consumer Reports, 76 percent of Audi A5 owners would buy one again. CR itself recommends the A5, but it also recommends the Chrysler 300C, and then in another part of its annual car issue, it doesn't recommended it with a V8.
Brian Champagne has reported on cars for more than nine years. He holds a Masters Degree in Communications from the University of the Pacific, and teaches at Utah State University.