Audi S5 Cabriolet

    The S5’s seductive lines look even better in convertible form—with its roof stowed away, there’s nothing between the windshield and tail to disturb those flowing lines. Sleek and understated, the $60,000 S5 Cabriolet drips sophistication from every angle. The smaller-capacity supercharged V-6 engine (rather than the big-lunged V-8 of the S5 coupe) hasn’t reduced the S5’s performance—it is still a startlingly rapid car, helped by Audi’s silken 7-speed double-clutch transmission. With its muted steering and stiff-jointed ride, the S5 ragtop lacks real driver engagement. It’s at its best as a fast and refined cruiser, rather than a cut-and-thrust racer. Its continent-covering credentials are enhanced by its excellent roof-up refinement and the all-weather sure-footedness of its quattro four-wheel-drive. And there’s the added benefit of two snug rear seats and an accommodating trunk to swallow everyone’s weekend luggage. Try saying that about your Boxster, Z4, or SL. Pros: Sexy styling with all-wheel-drive stability. Cons: Performance does not stack up against the BMW M3.

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