Topless and about town

Hey, I’m only talking about the Audi A5 Cabriolet. You folks keep your shirt on!

Words Aninda Sardar
Photography Roshni Manghani

There’s something savage about a gorgeous shape losing that top. It’s like someone flips a switch inside your head and you can’t tear your eyes off anymore. If it was a latent desire just a second ago, now you’re just lusting aren’t you?  That’s exactly what was happening a few Sundays ago each time I hit the button that released the top of the gorgeous Audi A5 Cabriolet. To begin with, I like the shape of an Audi. Not exactly lit or savage but certainly comely. But once that flaming red roof gets stacked away in that posh booty, there’s nothing basic here bruh. It’s lit like New York on New Year’s. Admittedly, things can get a bit hairy in the day when the roads get a bit more crowded but right now, my topless ride – the Audi-licious AF drop top, feels like I could rival that bloke Dan (Bilzerian). 

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That 2-litre diesel heart under that lean hood can put out a healthy 190 horses and four-effing-hundred Nm of torque channeled to those fab low profile rubber shod alloys via a slick S Tronic gearbox with Quattro all wheel drive, but who cares for all that mumbo jumbo? At the moment, I’m just reveling in going as slow as I can without looking like a total duh because I’m just lovin’ all the attention I’m getting. Hell, I even get what the girl in Charlie’s song was thinking. I just want attention, I don’t want their hearts.

I savour short bursts of speeds between gaping bystanders and laugh at myself. It’s so unlike me to show off. I prefer things to be subtle. I think low key is a state of being, not just a note on the piano. Today’s different though and it’s all down to that dark shade of green, those fab LED headlamps and the absence of that red top as I soak in the bright sunlight filtering through the trees in rain washed Camp in Pune. For those of you from the rest of the world, Pune maybe Peshwa city but Camp? That’s old Brit Poona for sure. Or, perhaps Parsi Poona, going by the names on the buildings, Ardeshir Bagh or Pudumjee Mansion, and the frequent appearance of Ahura Mazda on random walls. It really is one of the most fascinating parts of town for here time seems to stand still at this hour. I could be in 2019, as I was, or in 1969. 

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Not much has changed here, including the laidback approach to life that was dear to the ancestors of the people who now inhabit these century old buildings. It’s like each house has a story to tell to anyone who cares to stop and have a conversation with the writings on the wall. In the A5, you just soak it all in while you continue to roll on, and if you do wish to stop just pull over and look up. And all those lovely balconies with their old world railings will have their own private chatter with you while you lounge in the luxury of the fine leather seat and groove to a more modern rhythm in your head. The only thing that’s sort of difficult to fathom is Audi’s choice of grey leather for the interiors but that’s just a small detail in a much larger picture, isn’t it? It’s a small tradeoff for a shape that makes you feel like a crazy billionaire and lets you have your wind in the hair experience on a gorgeous day and also tells the world you’ve arrived.

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Back home, the kids want a piece of the fun pie too and I take them out for a spin. These two enjoy the thrills of fast paced motoring and given that the roads I’ve chosen are empty at this hour, I give it the beans. The response isn’t quite like the beastly AMG I was in last month but there’s plenty of shove in there for you to have a brilliant smile pasted on your face for the rest of the day. And she’s silky smooth. No signs of nervousness or hint of the raw. It’s all silk and satin here. Around the turns, she holds her line like she’s on rails. Left, or right, or switchbacks, it doesn’t matter. You flick through them all with the ease of a master painter wielding his brushes, and the black ribbon beneath the rubber is your canvas. By the time you’re back, their faces are glowing with delight and have an extra shot of swag as they get out of the car to the wild stares of their friends out in the society park. For today, I’m the coolest dad in the block with the hottest car I could have brought home.

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When the stars come out, so does another dimension of the Audi drop top. Romance. I take the wife out for a spin, just the two of us. The kids are fed and already in bed, so there’s not a care in the world as we cruise down the dark highway with John Legend singing All of Me for the two of us. Far above the diamonds shine with a sparkle that’s unusual for dusty Pune. We smile together, hold hands and sing, oblivious to the bumps that are soaked up by the A5’s brilliant suspension. It’s been months since we’ve done something like this. Audi says you’ve got to pay Rs 67.51 lakh (ex-showroom in Mumbai) for this, but you tell me, how do I put a price on the experience? It’s just so lit!

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