News Column

Audi S4 Cabriolet Quattro MT6

April 3, 2008

Ralph Gray

Audi S4 Cabriolet Quattro MT6
Audi S4 Cabriolet Quattro MT6

The "S" in the Audi S4 Cabriolet Quattro MT6 probably stands for "sporty." It could also mean "suave" and it certainly designates "sweet."

The Audi convertible is all of those things wrapped in a highly stylish package that comes at a premium price.

Base price is $55,700 and as tested $64,100. You don't get sporty, suave and sweet for $15 grand, you know.

What you do get is "asymmetrical dynamic quatro" permanent all-wheel drive. To that add electronic stability control. There are four wheel disc brakes with anti-locking, brake assist for emergencies.

For handling, count on stiffer shocks and springs and a stronger front stabilizer bar and close ratio power steering. The S4 Cabriolet also is lowered slightly.

Of boy racer interest is the 4.2L V-8 engine with 340 rampaging horses. The six speed manual transmission is slick with positive, short throws. It takes the manual out of MT. A six-speed automatic transmission is supposed to select from more than 200 shift programs to match slushbox driver needs.

For the manual transmission the result is a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.8 thrilling seconds. The automatic takes 6.1 seconds but gets better gas mileage. The manual chalks up 14 city and 21 highway while the automatic ups that to 15/26.

To shield the over-thrilled regardless of the tranny, there's a roll-over system that raises two protective bars to go along with what Audi says is an extra rigid windshield frame.

In keeping with the boy racer theme, the S4 gets a specific grille pattern, bumpers with large air inlets and redesigned rear lights. Add to that four oval tailpipes and V8 badges on the front fenders. Where's the drive-in?

The 12-way power seats along with heated Silk Nappa leather for the seats, door inserts, center armrests, shiftknob and steering wheel. What's more are concealed headlight washers which retract into the bumper) and two cupholders with "spring-loaded size adjustment tabs."

Behind the wheel, the center armrest seems perfectly positioned to grasp the shifter. Steering has a firm on-center feel for effortless cruising. The S4 is nicely weighted on curves, handling them as if they were straights. The S4 is a real corner cutter with little lean on curves.

The ride is smooth and compliant. The softtop is quiet at highway speeds with minimum wind noise. But at $64,000 buyers should have a choice between retractable hard tops or fabric roofs.

A nice bonus is a navigation system with trip computer that speaks five languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian and German. And Zoom.

This is a high-class hot rod and a fine piece of automotive machinery.

Audi S4 Cabriolet Audi S4 Cabriolet Quattro MT6

•Engines: 2L I-4; 3.2L V-8

•Dimensions: 104.5" wheelbase; 180" length

•Base price: $55,700/tested $64,100

•Fuel economy: 14/21 mpg. •

Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters