Originally presented at the 2012 Paris Auto Show last fall, the new Audi RS5 Cabriolet makes its first appearance in full U.S. trim at Detroit. On sale here in the spring as a 2014 model, this high-velocity drop-top offers the same kind of scintillating performance as Audi's electrifying RS 5 Coupe but puts an al fresco spin on the formula.
Like its hard-shelled sibling, the 2014 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet boasts an edgier look to match its more potent powertrain and ultra-spec suspension. In addition to a multi-layer power soft top that deploys in 15-17 seconds at the touch of a button and tucks neatly under an integrated hard tonneau, the RS 5 Cabriolet gets several unique cosmetic tweaks. Up front, they consist of minor changes to the grille and fascia detailing complemented by the fitment of lightweight aluminum fenders. The rear transition is more apparent, bringing revamped quarter panels, a unique fascia/diffuser, twin elliptical exhaust outlets, a fixed-position matte-carbon decklid spoiler in place of the RS 5 Coupe's retractable unit and revamped LED taillamps.
Inside, the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet's driver-centric cabin reprises the look of the RS 5 Coupe with chrome, carbon fiber and aluminum accent elements setting off a basic black motif that includes a flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel, deeply bolstered sport buckets trimmed in Nappa leather and Alcantara and alloy sport pedals. When the aft quarters are not occupied, the rear seatbacks can be flipped down to add a touch more practicality to the mix.
Sole powertrain for the 2014 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet is the 4.2-liter/450-horsepower naturally aspirated V8 backed by a 7-speed paddle-shiftable S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. Shipping power to all four corners via the latest version of Audi's famed Quattro all-wheel drive system, that combo can take the RS 5 Cabriolet from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and on to an electronically limited top end of 174 mph.
To ensure that motive might is put to best use, the new RS 5 Cabriolet gets bespoke structural reinforcing as well as a full sport suspension with unique stability control mapping and Audi Drive Select function configurability. More demanding enthusiasts can upgrade the car's bigger standard brakes with carbon ceramic units, swap its 19-inch forged alloys and 265/35 high-performance tires for 275/30 rubber on 20-inch wheels and opt for Audi's sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control.
Pricing for the 2014 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet will be announced closer to its official on-sale date.