Audi S5 Cabriolet 3.0 TFSI qu S tronic, Mercedes-Benz E 350 Cabriolet Review
Who Dares Win-ds

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang
13 Oct 2010

This pair of topless models oozes grace and elegance like no other in this segment. Raymond Lai decides which one to take home.

Introduction, styling

There's a certain charm about Audi's mid-sized four seater convertibles. The 90 Cabriolet from the early 1990s might not have offered the best drive but the late Princess Diana made it cool by driving one. The A4 Cabriolet that preceded it was a much better overall - it was possibly the best looking premium four-seater convertible of its time, and even now.

The A4 Cabriolet was superseded by the even more sexy and elegant A5 Cabriolet about a year back. Taking the good looking A5 coupe as a base, the design boffins at Ingolstadt have created one good looking four-seater convertible - dare I say the best looking car in a class which includes the Lexus ISC and the BMW 3 Series Convertible among other models.

In recent months, the A5 Cabriolet has faced strong opposition from Mercedes-Benz in the form of the E-Class Cabriolet. When the E-Class Coupe was launched last year, it was inevitable that Mercedes would chop the two-door model's roof to make a new four-seater convertible model to replace the CLK Cabriolet.

In terms of price and specifications, the mid-range V6 engine E350 Cabriolet is closest to the range topping S5 Cabriolet. So let's find out how the elegant, mid-range topless Merc compare with the model range topping and quite possibly sportier topless S5.

Incidentally, these two models bulk the recent trend of topless models utilizing sizable and complicated folding metal hardtop roofs like the BMW 3 Series Convertible and the Lexus ISC. It's no surprise that folding metal roofs are the craze these days as car manufacturers bow down to customer demand as topless cars with a retractable metal roof are deemed to be more practical and secure. Not so Audi with the S5 and Mercedes with the E-Class Cabriolets though.

In order not to compromise their respective coupe models' sexy lines, Audi and Mercedes designers decided to employ traditional canvas roof designs for the drop top S5 and E350 instead of the popular metal hard top used by most rival models. The latter adds weight and takes up significant amounts of space when folded away hence the ungainly, fat backside that can be witnessed in some models with such a roof arrangement. In the case of Audi, it also cites that the traditional canvas roof is part of the whole cabriolet/convertible motoring experience.

Both the E350 and S5 Cabriolets' pert rear means they have the same well-proportioned boot line as their coupe cousins', giving them sleek and elegant profiles from the sides. Top up or down, these two topless models just looks sophisticated, stylish and well-proportioned. Unless you're talking about Ferrari California and Maserati GranCabrio territory, four-seater convertibles don't come more stylish and pretty as these two.

While the Merc is more elegant in its overall feel and look, the Audi has a sportier touch to the way it looks. It is, after all, an S model. Endowed with signature ‘S' styling cues like the silver egg crate inserts on the front grille, the aluminium door mirrors, the large alloys and the quad exhaust outlets.



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Engine Capacity 2995cc Supercharged
Engine Type V 6
Power 333bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 440Nm @ 2900rpm
Power to Weight 177.6 bhp per ton


Acceleration 5.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type F4


Body Type Cabriolet
(L x W x H)
(4635 x 1854 x 1380) mm
Wheelbase 2751 mm
Kerb Weight 1875 kg


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs


Engine Capacity 3498cc Supercharged
Engine Type V 6
Compression Ratio 10.7:1
Power 272bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 350Nm @ 2400rpm
Power to Weight 150.7 bhp per ton


Acceleration 6.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 9.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR


Body Type Cabriolet
(L x W x H)
(4868 x 1854 x 1470) mm
Wheelbase 2874 mm
Kerb Weight 1805 kg
Boot Capacity 540 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 80 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs