Vital Stats

Engine:
4.2L V8
Power:
444 HP / 317 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
4.6 Seconds (est.)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,461 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
11.3 CU-FT
MPG:
16 City / 23 HWY
Brash Bruiser Loses Top, Gains Weight, Still Makes Friends



Everything we said after driving the RS5 coupe still rings true, even after Audi has gone and ripped off its metal roof, replaced it with a big cloth version, and tossed us the keys. The 2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet is another bold, big-boned airmobile to make open-top lovers swoon. There is absolutely nothing revolutionary to speak of here versus its hardtop counterpart, frankly, but tear-assing through the southern French hills as the brilliant sun warmed us is plenty good reason to talk a lot about it anyway. And hey, it beats frigid January in Detroit, where the RS5 Convertible is shortly to receive its US introduction.

One issue that could corrupt things a bit is the convertible's added weight factor. It's one thing when an Audi TT removes its top and gains 176 pounds, or when a Porsche Cayman morphs into a Boxster and gains 66 pounds; the effect on dynamics will still be acceptable. But when it comes to a huge-roof coupe like the RS5, that gain in mass becomes 400-plus pounds in cabrio form, for a grand curb weight of 4,461 pounds. As a number attached to this size of a car that's also branded with an RS badge promising raciness, we admittedly fretted. Then we drove the Audi RS5 Cabriolet to cheer up.
Winter weather had moved in a touch at the highest points of our long loop through the Mediterranean Alps, necessitating some adjustments. For this, the optional low-profile Pirelli P Zero fair-weather treads on $1,000 20-inch wheels were wisely swapped out for optional 20-inch Dunlop Winter SP Sport 3D rubber, sized 275/30 R20 97W front and rear.

2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet side view2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet front view2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet rear view

Would the combination of the added mass under momentum (4.6 seconds or better for acceleration to 60 miles per hour) and the less dynamic winter tires lessen our enjoyment?

The naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8 must be kept high in the rev band for best effect.

Though it's possible to push around the seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission acceptably in more dynamic situations, the naturally aspirated 444-horsepower 4.2-liter V8 must be kept high in the rev band for best effect. The engine's torque peak of 317 pound-feet is up top, too, happening from 4,000 to 6,000 rpm, but at least the twist really doesn't lessen appreciably all the way to its generous 8,500-rpm redline.

It's no coincidence that this version of Audi's tried-and-true 4.2-liter V8 is known as HDZ for "high revving." Problems arise with timely downshifts, however, when the transmission's onboard brain tries to save the mechanical bits and fluid temperatures by ensuring the revs aren't too high. So the driver can either live with it and flap the paddle one, two, or three times before the downshift into the curve is allowed, or force the engine into lower revs by braking like a sledgehammer before entering and then downshifting. We stuck with the latter approach, which actually became entertaining, at least while driving solo. And neither was our test car gifted with the 15.0-inch $6,000 optional SGL ceramic front brake discs, though the standard compound lead-aluminum units worked fine all day.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet


Its attitude of "just grab on, squeeze the throttle, and go" has its delights.

The six-speed manual transmission isn't available in this convertible, which is a shame from the perspective of raw driver involvement. By the same token, its attitude of "just grab on, squeeze the throttle, and go" has its delights. If you can get out and about and hammer this thing, the S-tronic's paddle shifts not only feel fine with Audi Drive Select in Dynamic mode, but the latest iteration of Audi's electric power steering feels beefy, even though there is some numbness.

Oddly, though, this is a type of feel we can get used to in this car, and we were eventually able to milk some intense excitement from the platform, particularly when traction control was extinguished completely. On cars for the US and Canada, a swift-acting rear torque-vectoring sport differential is standard. The dampers and springs are more rigid no matter the mode, and ride height for the RS5 is set 0.8 of an inch lower than the standard A5 on which it's based.

2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet interior2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet front seats2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet paddle shifter2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet tachometer

Our chief challenge to Audi going forward is to strip the fat from this heifer.

Our chief challenge to Audi going forward is to strip the fat from this heifer. Especially in this cabriolet, this sort of rolling mass is the polar opposite of anything we would consider "race-inspired." Apparently "RS" is now meant to represent huge amounts of the latest onboard tech, with every personalization and comfort possible, along with great straight-line thrust. So why not develop a true RennSport-derived side brand for harder-core Audi aficionados? Knock off somewhere between 600 and 900 pounds, particularly from these larger RSes, then everything else on board should work in spectacular fashion. With the RS5 cars, why not go after – at least a little – the Nissan GT-R, for example? It would seem appropriate for all these German brands spending mega-bucks in the DTM racing series.

Alright, this is a pretty cabriolet, not a hardcore coupe, so we'll cut it some slack. There's even pretty good room in the trunk for our soapbox – a useful 11.3 cubic feet versus the stingy EPA rating on the RS5 coupe of 12.2 cubes. The exceptionally sturdy cloth roof is big, takes 15 seconds to open and 17 seconds to shut, and you can now finally actuate the roof at speeds of up to 31 mph. With the lid closed, we can say without exaggeration that this RS5 feels like driving a hardtop, albeit one that will cost about 13-percent more than the coupe, with a projected base price of $79,000 when it arrives Stateside in June.

2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet rear 3/4 view2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet headlight2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet wheel detail2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet rear spoiler

Two of the cars in our phalanx were equipped with the available $1,000 black-tipped sport exhaust shown here, and it's an option we'd require – this set of pipes made all of the compensating moot that we were doing for this cabrio. The sound is so good with the top down that we treated each and every corner and tunnel as a chance to cue the chorus with unnecessary downshifts. Happy days, here again. Check out the Short Cut video above to see what we mean.

Yes, the 2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet is a heavier RS5 with the naturally compromised dynamics to go with it, but it also possesses large cans of whupass to be opened in the presence of sun and wind, and that's it's own sort of grand reward.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 68 Comments
      Lachmund
      • 1 Year Ago
      drop dead gorgeous and makes an amazing sound, but damn it's expensive..and heavy
      RetoLift
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems like a nice car and not offering a manual seems the most logical considering it is a 4500lb convertible. I dont know who the target market is for this car though. So many other amazing choices at 80k+ this car would be well down on my list. But I would still love to get a chance to drive one and wouldnt scoff at anyone buying it either.
      Perplexed-Sausage
      • 1 Year Ago
      an audi r8 spyder weighs 3900 lbs and (almost) none complains about it's weight why are you complaining about 500 lbs when you are gaining a funcitoning backseat. a more luxury-oriented cabin and more safety features. sure audi could use a bit more of that high strength low-weight steel but at 80 grand it is already at the high end of the price specturm and the rs5 has to compete with the bmw 6 series and the mercedes new e convertable and SL also it has to compete with it's flagship R8. the rs5 is ment for the customer who needs this car for every day. for a sports car audi has the R8.
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Holy sh*t.. 4461 pounds? Thats heavier than my Pilot.. Wow.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd take the coupe given the choice between them.
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am not sure I understand it. I fear this is something the VW group keeps doing consistantly - putting things together, but the cohesion isn't quite there. What is the purpose? Too heavy to be an M3 fighter, not really a powerful GT either. The interior isn't half as nice as the A6 -A8, but the price is there. And AB, please, on the same token, when you're done reviewing all the parts, comment on the overall feel. Because no numbers, interiors or pictures answer the real question - how does it make you feel at the end of the day? Its something I appreciate about Top Gear. They'll drive a Bentley and tell you everything is really nice, but its missing something that "something" that Rolls Royce has. Or they'll tell you they love an old 9-5 even though its not the greatest car out there.
      Justin Campanale
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an RS5 coupe owner myself, I simply don't get how this car is so expensive compared to the coupe. The wright is also outrageous. Yes, I know the coupe isn't exactly a featherweight, but it seems odd how adding a soft-top adds 500 pounds. I think AB really should do another review(not a First Drive) of the RS5 coupe. If possible, they should do a comparo where this car faces off against the M3 and C63, maybe the IS-F as well, similar to how they did the GTI vs Focus ST comparo.
        robespierex
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        We've seen this movie before... the Audi wins on the street but can't compete with the BMW on the track.
          Zcd1
          • 1 Year Ago
          @robespierex
          I guess you missed the recent "Automobile" magazine test where the RS5 dusted both the M3 and the C63 (not to mention the new Boxster S) around Grattan Raceway in Michigan....
          Zcd1
          • 1 Year Ago
          @robespierex
          (From Automobile Magazine comparison test) Lap Times - Grattan Raceway | 2.2 miles Audi RS5 1:28.48 Porsche Boxster S 1:29.10 BMW M3 1:30.05 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG 1:30.06
          Justin Campanale
          • 1 Year Ago
          @robespierex
          What he said.
      GD
      • 1 Year Ago
      for all those people who are complaining about the price and the weight... get over it... audi doesnt design the car to satisfy everyone.. they are sending 1300 RS5s to the USA, most are sold out.. it will hold its value better then any other car on the market.
        telm12345
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GD
        Sold out doesn't equal great cars. Look at the 2012 Civic - terrible reviews, people still bought them. People still by Camrys by the droves. To each his own, but sales don't mean that a car is good.
          alistair.dillingham
          • 1 Year Ago
          @telm12345
          You are partially right. But when a car is the best seller in its CLASS (what the hell does the civic and the Camry have to do with the... RS5???), it does mean that they do many things right. But low sales sure don't mean that a car is good!
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Boring! If this was any more bland, it would be a Honda.
      rollie
      • 1 Year Ago
      FAT CHICKS GET NO RESPECT. FAT CARS ARE NO DIFFERENT. WALLOW BABY,....BARF.
      Jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unless backseat and AWD are requirements I'd much rather have a proper convertible like the Boxster S at this price point.
      Michael Sexton
      • 1 Year Ago
      comparing thus to the GT500 is a joke.The mustang has a good engine connected to a crap chassis and low rent interior.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Michael Sexton
        Awww. Look, someone hasn't read a single review in 10 years. Come out of your cave, welcome to 2013. Pick up a magazine sometime.
          Justin Campanale
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          Nightflight, it is true that the Mustang GT has improved dynamically, but it still handles much worse than any of its European competitors, although better than the GM and Chrysler offerings. The interior is also beyond pathetic for a car of its price
          Bernard
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          @Justin Campanale, It's kind of hard to handle worse than a front heavy Audi. The Mustang would run circles around it. Not that I would be seen in a Stang. I'll keep my G. Less power, but definitely more poise through the twisties.
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