Just as spring, or what passes for it, takes effect (we had a weekend of summer temperatures in some parts of the UK), Audi dealers are preparing to deliver the first of the new A5 cabriolets which join the coupe and Sportback (five-door liftback) in the redesigned range. Drop-top orders opened last February.

A regular A5 range starts at GBP35,235 but there is also an S5 Cabriolet with a new 3.0 V6 TFSI engine producing 354PS and 500Nm of torque from 1,370rpm priced at GBP51,835.

A fabric hood that is fully automatic and acoustically optimised is fitted as standard and offered in red, black, dark grey and brown. One exterior paint finish – crystal effect Tofana white – is reserved for the Cabriolet.

A new one-touch opening function makes operation much easier as a flick of the switch opens the top fully automatically in 15 seconds or closes it in 18 seconds. Both can be done at speeds of up to 31mph. It is stowed in a fully automatic hood tray that moves down when opening the soft top and up again when the roof is closed, providing easy access to the 380-litre luggage capacity.

A wind deflector and head-level heating system for front seat occupants are both available and heated front seats are standard across the board.

In conjunction with the standard smartphone interface, seat belt microphones are fitted to amplify call quality with the roof down. Entry-level SE specification also gains twin leather upholstery, drive select, parking system plus front and rear sensors, pre sense city and 17-inch alloy wheels sporting a fifteen-spoke design.

Sport models have MMI Navigation and a three-month trial of Audi connect. Front sport seats that are electrically adjustable also include four-way electric lumbar support. An LED interior lighting package is also included.

In top S line guise, wheel size increases from 17 to 18 inches with a five-spoke Twin star design, and LED headlights with LED rear lights and dynamic (sequential) rear indicators are complemented by sport seats upholstered in leather/Alcantara with S embossing.

Lowered and stiffened sport suspension is the automatic factory fit but Audi offers the option to deselect to a ‘comfort dynamic’ suspension set-up biased more heavily in favour of ride suppleness at no extra charge.

All models can be specified with adaptive comfort suspension with damping control. The electronically regulated system works in tandem with drive select to provide a choice between a firmer setup or maximum ride comfort based on the driver’s preference.

TFSI and TDI engines with differing outputs are offered for the A5 Cabriolet. Two versions of the popular 2.0 TFSI petrol are available. The first develops 190PS and is available in conjunction with front-wheel-drive and manual or S tronic transmission. The standard 62mph sprint time takes 7.9 seconds regardless of which transmission is fitted. Top speed is 147mph (148mph for manual models) and combined MPG peaks at 50.4 (manual: 47.9mpg). CO2 output is 127g/km for S tronic and 136g/km for manual models.

The second version offers 252PS and is paired with S tronic transmission and quattro drive exclusively. It enables the A5 Cabriolet to touch 62mph from rest in 6.3 seconds and to reach a 149mph top speed. Up to 44.8mpg combined is possible, with a CO2 output of 144g/km on 17-inch wheels.

In the TDI diesel camp, a four-cylinder 2.0-litre with 190PS is the current lead-in unit, and is available with front-wheel drive or quattro drive, both combined with S tronic transmission. Emissions are 118g/km with a consumption high of 62.8mpg in the front-drive version and 60.1mpg and 122g/km in the quattro.

There is also a 3.0-litre, 218PS V6 TDI mated exclusively to quattro drive and S tronic transmission. Weighing only around 190 kilograms, this engine gives the cabriolet an impressive 0-62mph sprint time of 6.8 seconds, ahead of a 149mph top speed. It also enables it to return up to 57.6mpg combined, in conjunction with a low of 128g/km.

The new petrol 3.0 TFSI develops 354PS of power – 21PS more than the engine in the previous model. Combined fuel consumption is up to 36.2mpg with 177g/km of CO2 emissions. The top model accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 5.1 seconds, and on up to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph. It features quattro permanent all-wheel drive and the eight-speed tiptronic transmission as standard.

19-inch wheels and S sport suspension are factory fitted and suspension with damping control that is specifically tuned for the S model can be specified as an option. This can also be supplemented by a sport differential capable of finely metering torque between the rear wheels to complement the quattro all-wheel drive and maximise cornering adjustability. The operating characteristics of both systems can be fine-tuned via the standard drive select adaptive dynamics system.

ADAS

With up to 30 driver assistance systems, the latest A5 Cabriolet offers a broad range of support. An intelligent combination of different technologies enhances safety, comfort and efficiency. A next step toward piloted driving includes adaptive cruise control (ACC) Stop&Go system including traffic jam assist. It relieves drivers in slow-moving traffic up to speeds of 40mph by assuming the tasks of braking and accelerating the car, and it also temporarily takes charge of steering on better roads. The predictive efficiency assistant evaluates GPS information from the car’s immediate surroundings and helps to save fuel by giving specific driving advice – a unique feature in this segment.

Collision avoidance assist intervenes if the car needs to drive around an obstacle to avoid an accident. Based on data from the front camera, ACC and radar sensors, it computes a recommended driving line within a fraction of a second. The line-up is rounded out by other assistance systems such as turn assist, park assist, rear cross traffic assist, exit warning, camera-based recognition of traffic signs, active lane assist and side assist.

Other technology includes the virtual cockpit, head-up display, phone box with wireless charging, Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System and Matrix LED headlights.

At an Audi range review day, just-auto sampled a GBP50,460 2.0 TFSI quattro 252PS S line S tronic (GBP44,745.00 plus a stack of options) and was very impressed with the performance and rigidity of the car, with almost no scuttle shake evident on quite poor B roads. The hood retracts and refits very quickly at urban speeds and all functions including window opening and closing are taken care of with just the one switch. As a bonus, there is also an ‘all four’ windows switch as well as individual controls for each side pane.

Audio cabriolets have long been very popular here in England (remember Princess Diana drove one?) and this new one seems sure to find favour – it really is a lovely car.