The big star of the latest Iron Man movie is not Robert Downey JR, but the genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist’s Audi R8 e-Tron. So much so I’ve heard it’s in the running for best supporting actor at the Oscars (right behind Helen Mirren).
Meanwhile back in the (sort of) real world the Audi RS5 Cabriolet has arrived. While not quite as jaw-droppingly stunning as the e-Tron, its sophisticated blend of style and chic will still turn even the most blasé of (petrol)heads.
Refinement and exclusivity are central to the RS5 Cabriolet’s DNA, only around a hundred will be available to buy and collectors and investors are no doubt snapping them up as I type.
So what is it like to drive?
The hand-built 4.2-litre V8 engine is, as you may expect more than capable, producing the same 444bhp and erotic acoustic rumblings as the regular coupé, but with bigger air intakes, bespoke bumpers and flared wheel arches.
With a top speed of 155mph limited (174mph if you want it faster) and 0-62mph in 4.9sec acceleration in normal use is neck bracingly quick. It’s desire for empty roads is enhanced by Audi’s four-wheel drive technology allowing for individual power distribution to all wheels, the result is an exhilarating driving experience, especially for a larger Cabriolet.
The RS5 Cabriolet is a big car, it’s 205kg heavier than the coupé, and you will get reminded of this on occasions, mostly when approaching roundabouts. Speeding up however is hugely enjoyable. The Nappa leather sports seats are superb and with the top down the afore mentioned (engineered) engine noise is incredibly seductive.
The seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission is intuitive and the ‘Dynamic Ride Control system’ facilitates variations in suspension and steering with ‘Dynamic’ firming the ride, sharpening steering and increasing acceleration further. For those (older) people in less of a hurry a ‘Comfort’ setting will calm things down a bit (should you have to act your age at some point).
As much care has been taken over the interior and the detailing is executed perfectly, from the flat-bottomed steering wheel to the discreet RS branding. It might cost close to £70,000 but you do feel like Audi are selling you something special for your money.
The fabric roof will retract in 15 secs (co-incidentally exactly half the length of British Summertime), although a high windscreen and excellent heating system allow you to experience outdoor living even on a grey day in April. When the roof is up wind noise is no louder than a traditional hard top.
The RS5 Cab out-performs its main competitor the BMW M3 Cabriolet in most areas, but it’s also nearly £7,000 more expensive. Audi’s brand reputation for quality will justify the premium for those people looking for something a bit different and as far as grown-up Convertibles go, the RS5 is an all-star adrenaline filled blockbuster.
Model: Audi RS5 Cabriolet 4.2 FSI Quattro S-Tronic
Engine 4.2 FSI (450PS)
Transmission: 7-speed S tronic
CO2 g/km: 249
Comb mpg: 26.4
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
For more info visit www.audi.co.uk