Audi drops a supercharged V-6 into a stunning droptop.
BY MIKE DUSHANE
When gas prices spiked last summer, carmakers started talking about downsizing. They would fast-track the production of lighter cars with lower-displacement engines, and we'd use less gas and have smaller carbon footprints. World peace would follow shortly thereafter. Less than a year later, downsizing is here: The Audi S5 cabriolet will be among the first vehicles to hit the market with significantly reduced engine displacement and fuel consumption compared to the model it replaces. (In this case, that’s the 4.2-liter V-8–powered 2009 S4 cabriolet, since this is the first-ever S5 droptop.) The S5 cab shares its supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with the all-new 2010 S4 sedan, although the S5 coupe will retain the use of a naturally aspirated V-8 until the 2011 model year, when it gets the blown six. Audi claims the V-6 delivers nearly identical performance and 20 percent better overall fuel economy compared with the V-8.
Less Power, but the Same Torque as the V-8
The S5 cabriolet's 333 hp is 21 fewer than the coupe's V-8, but each engine makes exactly 325 lb-ft of torque. The supercharged engine has more grunt at low rpm, though, and Audi claims the S5 sprints just as quickly to 62 mph as it would with the V-8: an estimated 5.6 seconds. In the U.S., the S5 cabriolet will be available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch manumatic that Audi calls S tronic. U.S. Audi officials say they couldn't bring a manual S5 cabriolet to the States because the handful of people who might special-order one doesn’t justify the expense associated with importing it. The S5 coupe still is available with a manual.
Keep Reading: 2010 Audi S5 Cabriolet - First Drive Review