Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
You don’t have to drive the A5 Cabriolet very far to realise that it’s much happier cruising than charging along a winding road. That’s not to say it handles poorly; body roll is well contained, the steering is nicely weighted and there’s lots of grip.
But, as is the case with the BMW 4 Series Convertible, it falls behind its fixed-roof sibling’s ability to provide genuine driving enjoyment on a twisting roads; you won’t find lots of information filtering up from the front tyres to the steering wheel or a real sense of excitement. However, it makes up for this with a more comfortable ride yet less body lean in corners than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet.
When you do relax and drive more sedately, the A5 Cabriolet is a comfortable companion when the optional adaptive suspension is set to Comfort. As with the A5 Coupe, we’d avoid S line suspension because this makes the ride firmer than necessary. We’d stick to the 17in wheels for the same reason.
With that in mind, we’d be tempted to avoid the more powerful 45 TFSI four-cylinder petrol engine because it doesn’t feel an awful lot quicker in the real world than the 40 TDi diesel, despite being more powerful. It’s the mid-range 187bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol in the 40 TFSI, though, that’s the pick of the bunch; it offers a solid compromise between performance and costs.
Whichever engine you go for, it’s hard not to be impressed by the A5’s quietness. Even the diesel is remarkably hushed for this type of engine, with only a little bit of grittiness when accelerating and some vibration at low engine speeds slightly spoiling the experience. The petrol engines are even smoother, with a sporty edge when you rev them.
Buffeting is kept to a minimum with the roof down, too; you can still chat with your passenger at 70mph, although the BMW 4 Series Convertible shelters its four passengers even better. An optional wind deflector is available, which obstructs the rear seats but keeps those in the front exceptionally well protected on the move.
Where noise is concerned, our only complaint is that some versions we’ve tried generated an awful lot of road roar. Stick with the smaller wheels and tyres, and things should be more than bearable.