But there’s something else. The launch is based in Monte Carlo, and Audi has set out several test routes for the new A5 Cabriolet range, S5 version included. All of them are hopeless, majoring on being seen by the smart set and soaking up sun along the coast. Thankfully, the Col de Vence road is nearby, with a run eastwards thereafter and more fabulous roads back down to the coast. Sometimes there are rock faces to one side of the road, which make good soundboards. And what’s bouncing back is a sound utterly unlike that of the S5 coupe’s large and rather lazy V8. Is there a particularly loud 911 following us? No. It’s the rousing tune of the open S5’s 3-litre, supercharged, direct-injection V6.
Maybe it’s because the chance to hear a great engine is all the greater when you have no roof to shield it, but it still seems strange that the open S5 gets the fine new S4’s engine while the coupe does not. Why is this? Because the S5 coupe is itself quite a new car, says Audi, and it sells adequately as it is. (Feeble explanation.) And to change it now would annoy existing owners. (Makes a bit more sense.) In two years’ time the anomaly will be resolved. Meanwhile, if you want the S5 with the best engine, you need the cabriolet.