Guaranteed to raise a smile
The latest Audi RS5 Cabriolet might be a controversial choice for an RS model but it certainly doesn't want for power. There's a massive 450PS on tap from its 4.2-litre V8 powerplant. It's fitted with a fabric roof and will get to 62mph in just 4.9 seconds.
The RS5 coupe surprised some observers by sticking with Audi's older 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 rather than moving to cleaner, more efficiently V6 3.0-litre supercharged power, as has the lesser S5 model.
Audi's justification then was that nothing else sounds quite like a V8, an attitude with some validity.
As you would expect, the RS5 in this Cabriolet guise also uses the 4.2-litre V8 powerplant – and thank goodness it does for with the roof down, there's all the aural enjoyment on offer that Ingolstadt promised.
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As in the Coupe, the high-revving, hand-built 450PS V8 makes peak power at a heady 8,250 rpm and peak torque of 430Nm at between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. It punts this all-wheel drive Cabriolet from rest to 62mph in 4.9 seconds and where possible, can take it to an electronically-limited 155mph top speed, which at extra cost can be elevated to 174mph. A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission is fitted as standard with its lightning-fast shifts and steering wheel paddle control.
Permanent quattro all-wheel-drive promises outstanding traction in all weather conditions and is backed up here by torque vectoring.
Up to 70 per cent of the available torque can flow to the front or as much as 85 per cent to the rear, as necessary. The default 40:60 ratio of the rear-biased configuration ensures sporty handling should give great step-off when accelerating from a standstill.
The body rides 20mm lower than that of an ordinary Audi A5 Cabriolet; its mounts are stiffer, and its anti-roll bars are beefier. Most of the suspension parts are aluminium for light weight and you also get big, internally-ventilated wave brake discs with eight-piston calipers.
The RS 5 Cabriolet looks slightly less aggressive than the Coupe but there's still quite a degree of purpose to its styling. Big air intakes and a matt aluminium splitter define the front end, there are muscular wheel arch blisters and two rather large oval exhaust pipes, mounted either side of a large diffuser. The car looks good with the lightweight acoustic hood up or down.
This opens and closes fully automatically in 15 seconds and 17 seconds respectively and can be deployed at speeds of up to 31mph.
The Audi RS5 Cabriolet is a car that butts up against bigger and more prestigious tackle like the BMW 6 Series and the Mercedes SL in terms of price. What it has up its sleeve is one of the finest engines available at any price. You'd need a BMW M6 or a Mercedes SL63 AMG to rival it and then we're talking very serious money indeed. So is it worth the cash?
That's a tougher question to answer. If you want an extremely rapid drop-top that's beautifully built and has an exhaust note to die for, there aren't many that can touch the RS5.
The shortcomings in terms of ultimate handling that niggled at the RS5 Coupe are not so much of an issue if you're shopping for an open car, so this one might well be the best of the RS5s currently for sale. Give it a try. It might be a hard car to lose your heart to, but its exhaust and engine note will never fail to raise a huge smile.