I love the work Jamie Auld from Always Yours Photography does.
It’s got a hefty stance, it’s got bold but subtle lines. This is the Audi S5 Cabriolet.
Audi have always made fairly basic looking cars, with a few exceptions – like the R8, TT and Q7. But they have now got the lastest collection of S5 vehicles which includes a Cabriolet, Coupe and four door Sportsback.
I took the S5 Cabriolet out for a spin, which I was a little excited about because I am quite fond of the car when I’ve seen it on the road. But did it excite me when it came to driving it?
Walking towards the car, I looked over it thinking it’s a big, heavy and luxurious cabriolet, which is going to be one of the most exhilerating drives I’ve had in a long time. The dealer began to tell me how he has worked for Mercedes and BMW and no other car can compete with the drive, quality and build of an Audi. We’ll see about that…
Opening the door was soft and quiet, no thumps, creaks or thuds. Really smooth, solid and quiet. It was from that moment I got a rush! It can only get better from here, right?
Wrong. Sitting on the firm leather seats didn’t make me feel welcome. Lifting my legs into the car is easy, but storing them in the foot well not so. It’s narrow and tight, with this huge protruding wall on the left hand side under the dashboard. There is only enough space for two feet at the end – that I do not like. I want space. Looking at the passenger side foot well, they have all the space you could possibly need!
I plugged the key into the dashboard and pressed the start button. On came the smooth and rather refined engine. All the little lights and screens turned on, but nothing stood out at me. The dash is plastic, everything was cheap plastic. Tapping the top of the dash with my nail, it was hollow and noisey. The mouldings around the LCD screen and the instrument cluster are flimsy and bendy, again made of plastic. Plastic, plastic everywhere. For a car of it’s calibre, I would expect a leather cladded dashboard, I mean if a $65,000 Peugeot convertible can do it, I’m sure Audi can too. The gear shifter looked like something a Ford would have, and the steering wheel looked like it was taken out of a base model Audi A3 hatch. I felt like I was driving a VW Golf. Boring and bland. It is a good layout, but nothing spectacular. I said this to the dealer, his reply was that I have to wait and see how it drives again – thats the big selling point. So I took his advice and onto the road we went.
The 3.0 litre petrol engine with 245 kW carried the car well, but didn’t accelerate as well as I thought it might have. I would have expected it to be a little punchier. Exceptional braking, and handling is good and composed itself well for a convertible of it’s size, considering alot of them tremble and shake around the windscreen over bumps.
I really don’t have much else to say about the drive. It was flat and boring. It wasn’t exhilerating, it wasn’t fun. I should have taken a Mitsubishi Colt CC for a spin instead – At least I would have got more looks.
The body is neutral to look at, but doesn’t have any type of particular look. It’s not sporty or agile like a BMW, and it’s not classy or a classic like a Bentley. It just floats safely inbetween.
Likes: It’s a cabriolet. The satellite navigation system is easy and practical to use. I’m wrecking my brain trying to think. Good sound system and ample boot space. Good colour combinations for the 2-tone leather interior, roof canvas and exterior paint. One exterior feature I like is the brushed chrome windscreen frame. There is a range of engines and equipment levels to choose from, including a super quiet diesel engine.
Dislikes: Styling, interior, footwell space for driver, too much plastic, poorly finished seats – where the leather is out of eyesight it turns into Kia style fabric, tacky cup holders, no point of difference.
Would I buy it? I don’t think I need to answer that question. I think it’s obvious.
Price: I drove the 3.0 litre petrol, which has the sat nav option – $122,000. Prices start from $99,000.
Final say: Throwing on a set of low profile tyres and LED lights doesn’t make a car ‘sporty’. It’s the kind of car you’d buy, then in about 3 months, you’d get sick of looking at because it’s just a car that has a roof that comes off – there’s nothing that draws you to the car time and time again.
Seeing quite a few of them on the roads, I had to take a closer look.
The Mercedes E-Class Coupé. The epitome of style. Class. Sophistication.
Approaching the monumental Coupé which sits big and proud, I felt a sense of urgency. Urgency to get in the car and turn it on.
It’s been a long time coming. It’s rigid and squared body, strong bold lines and enormous louvered grille.
I opened the heavy door, and sat easily into the Coupé. Infront of me was a creation of excellence in engineering and cutting edge design and technology. A powerhouse of beauty. I am instantly in love with this car. The sense of urgency is immediately diminished. It is now pleasure.
The seats are simply stunning, looking very much like the seats in a Bentley, the Coupé has created a refined seating sensation. They look great, feel great and power adjustable to suit you. They also have air chambers inside, which can be changed to suit your driving or passenger experience. The option of heating and ventilation is available.
The intelligence of this car is astounding. A car that can sensor sunlight, air quality and humidity externally to keep the cabin at a constant temperature? A multimedia system with CD and DVD, navigation, audio and telephone functions – all voice activated? A car that has ultrasonic sensors which evaluate how you should park it – giving you directions on where to turn, reverse and go forward? A gearbox that can skip gears? These are only a minuscule of the features this car has.
Right, it’s time for my favourite part. Turning it on and getting it on the road! The petrol V6 with 215kW of power was an arousing moment. I felt like I needed a moment to myself, to hear, see and feel everything unfold around me. Out onto the road, where I could have a play with this baby! Oh boy, did this baby want to play. The effortless power that comes from the huge engine upfront is breathtaking. Being able to hear the engine through the wide open panoramic glass roof was just irresistible. This car just gets better and better.
Acceleration, remarkably superb!
Such a small touch, but something that was obviously thought about, the rear quarter window. The back seat occupant have one large window that opens, but they also have one very small one tucked in the corner, which suprisingly adds so much character and style to the car. Who would have thought a small window could further excite me?
Another exterior feature that send me a little wild, the LED daytime driving lights which are one of the first things you’ll notice as an unfortunate bystander. They are shaped like a hockey stick. I love that they have strayed away from the straight lines Audi and Holden have used with their daytime LED’s.
Likes: Standard seating comfort and aesthetics, panoramic glass roof and extra glass panel for rear occupants, small rear glass panel, raised centre console, extensive colour and combination options, looks big – drives small, the way it makes me feel.
Dislikes: The rear centre console is a little uneventful. There should be buttons for something – it needs something to play with. Not much else… this car is almost perfect.
Would I buy it? Hell yes! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a convertible person. I had peek at the convertible and it didn’t excite me as much as the Coupé did – suprisingly! If I were going to buy it, I’d go for the E500, it has every option and is like looking at Jennifer Hawkins – AMAZING.
Price: For the smallest and most standard model in the range, the E 250 CGI, you’re looking at around $103,000. For the top of the range E500, expect to fork out $187,000. It is worth it.
Just to re-cap, what are my overall thoughts? SUPERB.
As I floored the zippy little Volvo C30 out of the showroom, the car dealer told me to relax on the accelerator a little.
For some reason, when I got into this little terror, it made me want to thrash it, use it and abuse it. I felt like taking it off road and driving it into objects, people, cars, damaging the car and seeing how far I could push it till it came to a stop.
Could I be going insane? Possibly.
What got into me? It’s a Volvo for Christ’s sake! Volvo’s aren’t meant to be fun and exhilarating! They are meant to be boring, mundane and for accountants who wear driving gloves.
This little 2.5 litre V5 beast really took me for a good time. It’s got a decent sized engine for such a small 4 seater car. It stuck to the road, like a slot car. I drove it like the way I used to drive my remote controlled cars as a child… They too stuck to the track, like my little Volvo.
It’s an agressive looking car from the front and sides. When you get to the rear, there’s something that distresses me. It’s got this ugly butt, but at the same time, it’s got something a little sexy about it. Like I want to pinch it for being so cute… But slap it at the same time for being so ugly.
Opening the big door was comforting and secure. As you would know by now, I’m big on the feeling of opening and closing doors. Sitting in the drivers seat is comfortable. A typical Volvo thing is comfortable seats, and that they were. Nice soft and plush black leather seats. The revolutionary floating dashboard seems bare. Where are the screens? Computers? I need gadgets. My fingers are bored. Plenty of buttons, but not enough screen action for my liking. When I asked for the option to have a pop-up navigation system, first thing I was told was “Oh that’s an expensive factory option, do you really need it?”
That didn’t sit well with me. Yes I do need it. I need it because I want it. I wouldn’t be spending $43,000 on a basic Volvo for fun! Anyway, if you want the option of sat nav and all the other little bits that go with it, try adding $5,000. Ridiculous! The sales person did also give me the option of a hard-wired Garmin suction cap navigator. Um…. NO.
I’m a sunroof/convertible kind of guy. When I asked for the option of a sunroof, again I got “Oh that’s an expensive factory option, do you really need it?”
Yes I do need it. I need it because I want it. I wouldn’t be spending $43,000 on a basic Volvo for fun?! Add another $2,500 for the factory fitted sunroof.
Looking at the instrument cluster. Boring. The interior colours. Boring. Seating arrangement. Boring.
The Volvo C30… BORING.
The only thing this car is good for is driving it into the ground. Treating it like a piece of meat and driving it like a mad man because you will love it! But when it comes to getting lost, some fresh air and light through the roof, or some advanced technology to fiddle with, you’re best off going to BMW, Volkswagen or Saab for a car that has more for $50,000.
Likes: It likes to be treated rough, factory sound system, seating comfort
Dislikes: Its rear, dash, technology level, expensive options, daggy Korean car looking instrument cluster, ugly key.
Would I buy it? Absolutely not. If I could afford to buy it as a golf buggy or something to bash and race around the paddocks, then yes I’d buy it. Or if I was an accountant who thought I was super cool driving a ‘sports’ car.