Friday, December 4, 2009

Got hot? Audi A5 droptop has a plentiful supply

Sacramento, California – Audi has this thing about making its cars look racetrack-ready.

Seriously, the automaker could take a crate of oranges and make it look like it’s ready to take the green flag at Daytona. My latest test model is a case in point.

Technically, the model is a (big breath now) 2010 Audi A5 2.0T Quattro Tiptronic Cabriolet. Translation: It’s a hot-looking Audi convertible with a kickin’ turbo power source and a state-of-the-art transmission system.

My Deep Sea Blue-colored tester looked ready to rip just sitting in its parking space. ”You’ll like this car,” said the man who delivered it. Turns out he was a wise prophet indeed.

On the roll, the A5 made me feel as secure as a toddler’s favorite blanket. Rock-solid on the road and agile when asked, the A5 cruised smoothly through crowded interstate traffic and on tight city streets. Climbs were a breeze and twisty roads seemed to straighten out with slight flicks on the steering wheel.

The turbo four-cylinder power plant was rated at 211 horsepower, and yet it did not dish up its juice like a brute. Accelerations were firm, steady and righteous, still delivering the desired result of quickly moving the A5 out of harm’s way when my right foot pressed the accelerator. The six-speed Tiptronic transmission was the smoothest performer in recent memory.

The A5 posted straight-A grades in all rolling conditions.

One minor gripe: I couldn’t see around even medium-size sport-utility vehicles riding in front of me. But I wouldn’t change the A5’s sleek, low-slung look just to solve that problem. A big-mouthed grille gives way to wind-slicing bodywork, with a nice wide stance in the back. Paint a number on it, and let’s go racing.

Interior comforts on the tester were numerous, even at the $44,100 starting price. My tester was dressed up with nearly obscene extras to bring the bottom line to $61,800. Suffice it to say that the interior cabin provided luxury accommodations as I blazed along the local roadways.

The A5’s security factor goes beyond its excellent handling. Safety and security systems ran the gamut, from knee airbags to energy-absorbing zones to active rollover protection. I’m pretty sure you’d have to really try to hurt yourself in this droptop.

By the way, the ultra-light, cloth acoustic roof on this cabrio folds in a mere 15 seconds, and it can be done on the fly at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

Fuel mileage estimates are 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

There are seating surfaces behind the two front seats, but I’m not sure I know too many people above 10 years of age who would be comfortable in that cramped setting. In my heart, the A5 is a comfortable ride for two.

I know this is not everyone’s car. Putting down $45,000 or so on a performance convertible is not within everyone’s reach.

But for those who can afford the fare, it’s a treat. And I salute you.

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