Don’t let the Audi A5’s clean, luxurious expression fool you. On closer examination, you’ll see hints of the spirited coupe this model truly is, along with an available convertible designed to elevate your emotions further.

Pricing and Equipment

Customers who fancy a convertible are teased by no fewer than four models from Audi. Two of these are based on the all-wheel drive A5 platform: the A5 Sport Cabriolet and the S5 Cabriolet, with the latter marketed separately under Audi’s performance umbrella.

The 2017 A5 coupe and convertible are powered by a 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Both models are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the coupe also provides the option of securing a tantalizing six-speed manual transmission.

Audi prices the A5 coupe with the manual transmission from $41,200, and $42,200 for models with the automatic transmission. Audi asks $48,600 for the convertible.

Both models offer one trim level with various packages and options available. A $900 convenience package brings in keyless start, heated front seats, and power-adjustable heated side mirrors. The $3,950 technology package adds a DVD player, upgraded headlights, Audi Connect services, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. Sport and Black Optic packages offer further customization, the latter choice new for 2017.

Performance Pros

Only the coupe has the manual transmission option and it is one feature we’re thankful Audi still offers. Quattro all-wheel drive makes sport of winding roads regardless of the chosen transmission. That you can add three-pedal foot action while navigating twisty roads only magnifies the overall experience.

Our reviewers noted the available Drive Select and Dynamic Steering systems, but placed greater value on the optional sport suspension for delivering assured handling and a slightly firmer ride.

There isn’t a diesel that can be had in the model line, but the boosted gasoline engine is an efficient one at that. The EPA rates this model at 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway when equipped with a manual transmission.

Performance Cons

Not every driver will find 220 horsepower sufficient. Certainly, full power does kick in low on the band curve, but there are competing models that deliver far more boost. Fortunately, Audi solves that problem by offering the S5, powered by a 3-liter supercharged V6 engine with an output of 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Importantly, the six-speed manual is standard equipment. For people who prefer paddle shifters, a seven-speed automated manual is an option.

There is no manual transmission with the convertible. You can drop the top, but you also lose a measure of fun. We would like to see Audi correct this omission.

Interior Pros

Audi is renowned for its exquisite interiors, particularly for the brand’s signature fit and finish. Our reviewers regularly point out the clean and simple design themes in all models, including the A5.

New trim choices elevate the interior, including carbon fiber and stainless steel. You’ll also find your share of available fine grain ash wood.

The optional 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system anchors the technology package. It delivers outstanding sound throughout the cabin and is second to none.

Interior Cons

As a five-passenger coupe, the A5 offers sufficient room for four. As a 2+2 convertible, the back seat comes in smaller than in the coupe.

Audi has made improvement in its weakest area—standard connectivity. Still, to enjoy the full Bluetooth experience, you need to opt for a package upgrade. Even most mainstream models include connectivity as standard equipment.

For 2017, Audi adds Android Auto for the coupe only. Apple CarPlay compatibility is not included.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Although we didn’t need to use them, the pop-up roll bars in the convertible are a welcome feature. Sensors detect when a rollover is imminent and signal the roll bars to immediately move into position. Beyond that, no safety testing has been conducted for this model in the U.S.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The available sunroof in the coupe is an enticing option, but tall passengers may find the resultant constrained headroom a problem.

The Bottom Line

You can’t go wrong to consider the A5. As a coupe, it offers manual shifting possibilities, something we wish was also extended to the convertible. Moving up to the performance-oriented S5 only makes a terrific model better, combining the best of Audi luxury, quality, and attitude.