Fabulous engines are let down by disappointing steering and an unsettled ride
Comfortable seat and salon-fresh interior but a few annoying niggles with the driving position
Impressive standard kit and a host of high-tech safety options too; cloth roof not quite as secure as a metal version
Below average rating for reliability in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey
Once you've folded yourself in there's enough space for four adults inside, and their luggage too thanks to the neat-folding cloth roof
SE models have most areas covered, but how about an acoustic roof to help keep the noise out or a neck-heating system for top-down driving on chilly days?
For best results, keep it simple. That means the entry level 1.8 petrol or 2.0 diesel engine both of which deliver plenty of power - and avoiding the optional Drive Select system. While this promises a variety of set-ups to suit your driving style or mood, it is invariably disappointing. The A5 convertible's ride is not the smoothest and it's positively uncomfortable in S line and range-topping S models. Keen drivers will want to feel more responsive engagement with the steering, while chopping off the roof has left the car feeling less taut than it should.
As you'd expect, the A5 convertible doesn't leave the house looking less than immaculate. Its very comfortable to sit in, too. But while glossy hair and polished nails are nice to look at, we'd like a bit more substance behind the style. The pedals are too far offset, and the clutch pedal sits in a recess which is enough to irritate every time you change gear. On the plus side, the cloth roof is much neater-folding than a metal version, so even with it folded away there's plenty of boot space available.
Standard safety kit is comprehensive and optional high-tech warning systems will do their best to keep you out of trouble altogether. The A5 hasn't been crash tested, however. Despite feeling beautifully built, the A5 coupe was ranked 'below average' for mechanical reliability in the latest JD Power survey a disappointing result.
The good news is that even the cheapest engine offers great performance. We'd suggest upgrading to at least SE trim to get the equipment that you'd want (and future buyers will expect) in a £30k car, including a wind deflector, leather seats and rear parking sensors. The range-topping S5 model is closer to £50,000 and while it offers fabulous power and plenty of kit, the higher-powered standard diesel versions come close to matching it in every area bar price.