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Motoring: Audi A4 Cabrio turn out to be one sweet ride

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 8th, 2007

Sometimes life doesn't pan out quite the way you plan it.

You see, I was supposed to be testing an Audi S4 Cabrio, the one with the grunt in its V8. I had booked it for a test and was counting down the days for when I'd be able to slip into it.

Finally the day arrived, I was all anxious and excited. However, it wasn't meant to be. When I got to Audi head office I found out that the S4 had been impounded by the police because the person driving it that morning was going rather quickly and got caught.

However the news wasn't all bad as I was given a few different options to pick from to test drive home in. As soon as I heard an RS4 sedan was available, I quickly jumped at it. After all, the RS4 is my idea of the most perfect car in the world. Nothing, and I mean nothing can do everything quite as well as the RS4. It goes like and handles like a Porsche 911 Turbo, and yet has the space to haul you, three of your friends and all their luggage. On top of that, the all-wheel drive system means you can even drive it in winter. The RS4 is simply amazing.

However, my time with the RS4 was far too short as it was booked to someone else in a few days time. However, Audi did make alternate arrangements for me.

So, on a beautiful Friday afternoon, Audi dropped off an A4 Cabrio, with a 3.2-litre V6 and an automatic gearbox.

At first, I thought this might not be anything special. I had just driven a car that had 420hp (RS4) while this A4 with the 3.2 V6 only has 255hp.

This engine is mated to a wonderful six-speed Tiptronic autobox which lets you play with gear ratios through either the gear lever or by intelligently placed steering wheel mounted pedals.

The moment I got in this car and fired it up, I just got the feeling this will be an interesting car.

Let me just say by the time I reached the end of my street I had a smile on my face.

This 3.2 V6 is one charming engine. It just loves to rev and when you give it some spanking, it sings beautifully too. I was not expecting this to be a great tunnel car, but it is. I would ensure all my trips in it included some tunnels or over-passes so I could drop it down a few gear ratios and stomp on the throttle. Puts a smile on my face every time.

Not only does it sound good, but it goes very well too. Yes I know the Ontario government has gone bonkers about speeding, but if you do find the right road at the right, quiet, empty time and decide to bury the throttle, it will hit an electronic max of 209 km/h. It won't take much time getting there too, as evident by its impressive zero-100km/h time of about six seconds.

Then there is the handling. All Audi's handle well and the Quattro versions (like this A4) handle even better. This car was just brilliant through the corners. The all-wheel drive grip from the Quattro system was reassuring, the tires bit hard into the tarmac and the chassis and suspension seems to be as perfectly tuned as you can ask them to be.

So far it sounds good, goes well and even handles well, but what about the interior?

Well nothing much to complain about here either. Depending on how deep your pockets are, you can have it equipped with just about anything, so all you gadget lovers will find your favourite toys like navigation and premium sound systems available on the options list. Even the standard list is good enough, as you get power everything, including its wonderful folding soft top. Yes, it is a folding cloth roof and not the new-style folding hard-tops as seen in new models from BMW and even Chrysler. But the cloth roof on the A4 Cabrio is as well insulated as any metal roof and it is also lighter, which contributes to its excellent fuel economy (9-litres per 100 km). Plus, I also find a folding soft top to be more romantic (if you ever sat in a soft-top convertible while its raining, then you'll know what I mean). Sure the folding hard-tops have more of the wow factor about them, but I prefer the simpler cloth roofs.

Also, this is one of the few cars that look just as good with the roof up as it does down, and it is a pretty car.

So I am sure I have tempted you to buy one by now and you want to know the price. Well more good news here as the base 2.0-litre turbo starts at $55,200. If you want the V6 (and trust me, you will want the V6) prices for those start at $67,750. My test vehicle with the S-line appearance package took the price up to nearly $75,000.

Yes, I know that is a lot of money, but it is a lot of car too. Compared to its competition, it makes the most sense and it would be my choice, no second thoughts about it.
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