2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet
Convertible season is here! And leave it to Audi to be ready with a new droptop, the A5 Cabriolet. Visually, it’s just as stunning as the coupe, but now for the real test. Let’s put on our Ray-Bans and head out on the highway. Cars don’t always make the transition from tin-top to convertible gracefully, but Audi has managed to keep their four-seat 2010 A5 Cabriolet beautifully proportioned.
Audi’s now familiar front end formula-big, rectangular LED-rimmed bi-Xenon headlights and a deep, drop jaw Nuvolari grille-is indistinguishable from the A5 hardtop. In profile, though, the power softtop makes for a longer, flatter trunklid. Whether you’re basking in the sun or keeping the rain at bay, the A5’s lines are pleasing from every angle.
Audi chose fabric over a metal droptop to save weight and bulk. It includes a glass rear window with defroster, and uses Audi’s new Acoustic Roof insulation to keep the cabin remarkably quiet. Top operation takes less than 20 seconds, even when driving up to 30 miles-per-gallon hour. Our tester’s burnt orange leather interior was trimmed tastefully in aluminum and wood. It proved comfortable for four adults, and as user-friendly as it was attractive.
The dash caters to driver ergonomics. Gauges are clear and easy to read, and the thick-rimmed, multi-function, tilt-and-telescoping wheel is leather-wrapped. An array of airbags includes knee airbags for front-row occupants.
Audi’s Drive Select integrates operation of throttle, steering, and suspension, offering four distinct driver selected settings- Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, plus Individual. Feedback from Audi’s latest MMI hard-drive disc infotainment system is via the seven-inch screen mounted high in the center stack.
Our A5’s curvy, heavily-bolstered power front bucket seats featured neck-level heat vents. With the top up, there is of course sizable C-pillar blind spot. Luckily, our tester came equipped with Audi Side Assist, a useful blind-spot monitoring system in the side mirrors.
Thanks to the less bulky softtop, second-row occupants get a surprising amount of legroom, plus a wind diffuser, and rollover protection. Unusual for its class is a split folding rear seat that gives this Cabrio functional versatility. Filling all the seats still allows for a practical 10.2 cubic foot trunk, top up or top down. Most hardtop rivals have a fraction of that with the top down.
Like the Coupe, standard power is a direct-injected, turbocharged 2-liter I4. In the Cabrio it’s good for 211 horsepower and a stout 258 pound-feet of torque. For more power you’ll have to move up to the S5 Cabriolet with its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet.
The 2.0, with standard front drive, transfers power through a CVT automatic. Our all-wheel drive Quattro uses a six-speed Tiptronic automatic with paddle shifters. There is no pure manual. With Quattro, this is a year-round convertible. Torque splits 40 percent front, 60 percent rear in routine driving.
At the track, traction was in no short supply: zero to 60 took just 6.6 seconds. Turbo lag was almost non-existent, and shifts were well-spaced, if a little soft. The droptop A5’s relaxed demeanor didn’t hurt its quarter mile time: 15 seconds flat, at 90 miles-per-gallon hour.
Through the low-speed slalom, the car’s heavily front-biased weight was apparent, but it still proved to be a nimble handler. Turn-ins were quick, and the car felt unusually solid for a convertible. We detected little cowl twist and shake. Body roll was present, but manageable.
Switchable ESP stability control, as well as ABS, are standard-issue. Four-wheel disc brakes stopped the A5 from 60 in a short average of 122 feet. Mild fade increased the distances slightly over six runs, and the pedal was soft, but stops remained smooth and straight.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our Quattro A5 Cabrio are 20 city, 26 highway. The front-drive droptop is rated at 23 city, 30 highway. On our test loop, the Quattro delivered an unsurprising 23.2 mpg on premium gas. Plus, with an Energy Impact Score of 14.9 yearly barrels of oil, and a Carbon Footprint of 8 tons of CO2, our A5 Cabriolet is relatively eco-friendly.
More so than prices, which start at $42,825 for the front-drive A5 Cabrio, and $44,925 for the all-wheel drive variant. But, go easy on options, the 60 grand mark is not hard to breach. Indeed, at that level it makes sense to upgrade to the S5 Cabriolet.
Still, even with the base 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet, you’re getting a droptop that is easy on the eyes, with a sumptuous interior, and nearly impeccable road manners. Oh, and it will turn a few heads too. And, that test, like all the rest, this ragtop passes with ease.
- Engine: Direct-injected, Turbocharged 2-Liter I4
- Horsepower: 211
- Torque: 258 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 6.6 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 15.0 Seconds @ 90 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 122 Feet
- EPA: 20 MPG City/ 26 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 23.2 MPG
- Energy Impact: 14.9 Barrels Oil/Yr
- CO2 Emissions: 8.0 Tons/Yr
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined