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2010 Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet

How do you improve the 2009 Automobile Magazine Design of the Year? It's simple: chop the top right off it, and voila - the 2010 Audi A5 and S5 cabriolets.

Instead of redesigning the present A4 and S4 convertibles to match their updated sedan counterparts, Audi's shifted the convertible to the A5 range instead. This may have been wise thinking on Ingolstadt's part, for as gorgeous as the A5 looks in hardtop form, it looks even better as a convertible - though its racy roofline is no more.

While competitors (we're looking at you, 3-series) have moved to heavy retractable hardtops, Audi's stuck with a traditional cloth top for both the A5 and S5 convertibles. In addition to offering a quick cycle time (15 seconds to open, 17 to close), the rag top saves weight and also allows for a 50/50 split-folding rear seat back.

As it replaces the drop-top A4, the A5 Cabriolet is offered not only with the coupe's 265-hp 3.2-liter V-6, but also with the A4's turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4. Delivering 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the 2.0T is coupled with Audi's Multitronic CVT in front-wheel-drive models, or a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission in Quattro-equipped cars. Like the coupe, the A5 Cabriolet 3.2 FSI model is available only with the Tiptronic gearbox and the Quattro drivetrain.

The powertrain mix for the S5 Cabriolet is a bit simpler. Cars built as 2010 models will still use the 354-hp, 4.2-liter DOHC V-8, coupled to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system via either a six-speed manual or Tiptronic transmission. 2011 cars, however, will switch to the same supercharged, direct-injection 333-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 used in the 2010 S4. Customers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission

Though both cars will make their world debut at the 2009 Geneva motor show in March, A5 and S5 convertibles destined for the U.S. market will arrive in the fall of 2009 - just shy of the ideal drop-top driving season.