Summer is prime time for drivers to let their tops down on the road, and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com has weighed in just in time with its 10 Best Road Trip Convertibles list. German luxury automaker Audi had both its 2012 Audi TT Roadster and 2012 Audi A5 Cabriolet recognized on the list, proving that refinement and style still matter when it comes to open-air fun.
Kbb.com praised the 2012 Audi TT Roadster for its sportiness and elegance, as well as its ability to offer those characteristics in all types of weather with its standard quattro all-wheel-drive system. Meanwhile, the drop-top Audi A5's sophisticated styling, high-quality materials and performance set it apart from the convertible competition. The A5 Cabriolet also stood out to kbb.com editors with its acoustically designed folding soft top, which bucks an industry trend of using heavier retractable hardtops.
"Audi has its own distinct way of designing convertibles that makes them very popular," said Larry Bedell, general manager of Audi of Nashua, an Audi dealer in New Hampshire. "The TT Roadster and A5 Cabriolet aren't simply cars that have had their tops cut off and replaced with fabric; they're designed with open-air enjoyment in mind. That way, there's no loss of performance compared to their hardtop brethren."
The 2012 Audi TT lineup features several trims and body styles depending on the amount of power and sun that drivers want. There are two roadster variations leveraging the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, with the base TT Roadster producing 211 horsepower and a TTS Roadster using specialized engine components to boost output to 265 horsepower. Meanwhile, the most powerful member of the TT family, the fixed-top Audi TT RS Coupe, houses a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that churns out 360 horsepower.
Inside, the 2012 Audi TT Roadster comes with standard Alcantara leather sport seats featuring extended side bolsters to hold the driver in place through the corners. Leather is also used to wrap the lightweight magnesium steering wheel, which includes shifter paddles for easy gearshifts. Brushed aluminum inlays are included throughout the cabin to augment the Audi TT's elegant styling.
For those that want to bring more friends along on their summer excursions, the four-seat Audi A5 Cabriolet uses the same engine as the Audi TT Roadster, offering an identical 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2012 A5 Cabriolet also powers all four wheels with Audi's quattro system, making it the only vehicle in its class to offer all-wheel drive.
"Some convertibles have shaky handling with their top down, but Audi's all-wheel drive and body designs ensure their drop-top models grip the road rain or shine," Bedell noted. "Even with all four wheels engaged, the A5 and TT can both return 30 mpg on the highway, so they are just as fit for summer gas prices as they are for summer destinations."