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by Tim Beissmann

The Audi RS5 Cabriolet has launched in Australia at $175,900, becoming the fastest and most powerful open-top model in the German car maker’s history.

The new RS5 Cabriolet joins the RS5 Coupe in Audi’s A5-based high-performance two-door range – the latter now $5500 cheaper than before at $155,900.

The Audi RS5 Cabriolet succeeds the previous-generation Audi RS4 Cabriolet, which was priced at $187,500 when it was sold briefly in Australia in 2007.

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Like its hardtop twin, the RS5 Cabriolet is equipped with a naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine that produces 331kW of power at 8250rpm and 430Nm of torque between 4000-6000rpm.

Weighing a significant 205kg more than the coupe, the 1995kg Audi RS5 Cabriolet takes four-tenths longer to sprint from 0-100km/h (4.9 seconds), and uses 0.2 litres per 100km more fuel, claiming 10.7L/100km on the combined cycle.

A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission directs drive to all corners via Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system, distributing torque 40:60 front to rear in normal driving conditions, as well as up to 70 per cent to the front and 85 per cent to the rear as required.

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Audi says ultimate cornering performance can be achieved by ordering sport suspension plus with dynamic ride control, which is a $4700 option or available as part of the $5900 dynamic sports package that also adds a sports exhaust system and larger 20-inch alloy wheels (up from the standard 19s).

The Audi RS5 Cabriolet features a lightweight fabric roof with a foam layer designed to deliver high acoustic comfort. The top can be lowered and raised in 15 and 17 seconds respectively, and takes up 60 litres of the convertible’s 380L boot when stowed.

The RS5 Coupe and Cabriolet also become the first models in Australia offered with Audi Connect internet functionality. An $800 option, Audi Connect allows passengers to get online via an integrated WiFi hotspot, and offers the driver access to Google search and Street View, Panoramio pictures and Wikipedia information related to the MMI Navigation plus system.

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Standard features of the RS5 Cabriolet include xenon plus headlights with adaptive cornering lights, rear-view camera and parking sensors, satellite navigation with 20Gb hard drive and two SD card slots, a 10-speaker 180-watt audio system, climate-controlled front and heated rear seats, and a flat-bottomed RS steering wheel with shift paddles.

The latest addition to Audi Australia’s high-performance RS line will be followed in the first quarter of next year by two fresh additions, the RS7 Sportback and the RSQ3 crossover.

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