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OPTICAL AND HEARING
2006 Audi A4 cabriolet
7th September, 2005
New look, new engines and more sporting driving characteristics for latest Audi drop-top
The visually and mechanically transformed Audi A4 range will reach full strength on 15th September when the new A4 Cabriolet makes its world public debut in Frankfurt. Sharing new engines and extensive chassis revisions with the recently upgraded A4 Saloon and Avant models it will stand alongside at the International Motor Show.
The single frame front grille that symbolises the new Audi family look brings the new A4 Cabriolet into line with its fixed roof relatives, while a subtle redesign of the rear lights and bumper and new alloy wheel designs update the other views without compromising the body’s much admired lines.
The transformation is more comprehensive under the surface, where a range of advanced new engines offer even greater power and responsiveness. Of the four units available from its European launch, three are new to the A4 Cabriolet – the acclaimed four-cylinder turbo petrol 2.0 T FSI with 200PS, the super-refined 3.2 V6 FSI with 255PS and the equally polished 3.0 V6 TDI, now upgraded from 204PS to 233PS. The proven 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol with 163PS also features in the initial line-up.
The four engines deliver their power to the road either via quattro four-wheel-drive or through the front wheels. Customers can also choose from five-speed and six-speed manual gearboxes, the continuously variable multitronic, which has seven speeds in its ‘manual’ mode, and the six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission.
Extensive suspension improvements
For an even better compromise between ride comfort and handling agility the latest A4 Cabriolet’s four-link front and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension has been extensively modified to include new elements such as shock absorbers, mountings, trapezoidal links and track rods adopted from the new A6 and the S4 quattro. Revised spring and shock absorber settings and a thorough rework of the steering configuration also help to give the driver greater precision, but also better feedback from the road when cruising. Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering is a new standard feature of the 2.0 T FSI, 3.2 V6 FSI and 3.0 TDI versions.
Larger diameter brakes offering even more assured performance have also been added to suit the new, more powerful engines.
The modern and innovative interior design of the new A4 Cabriolet perfectly complements its progressive exterior styling, and has been enhanced in this latest version by new-generation steering wheels with centre sections mirroring the single frame grille design and aluminium door trim inserts and inlays.
As before, the new A4 Cabriolet features an electro-hydraulically operated hood with a heated glass rear window as standard across the range. Its already much praised sound insulation can be further improved in the latest model by an optional acoustic hood, which through the use of new fabrics with a greater density reduces cabin noise to a level that virtually matches the refinement of the fixed head A4 Saloon.
In addition to the power hood, standard equipment for the latest A4 Cabriolet also includes 16-inch, 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels (depending on version), electric front and rear windows and mirrors, electronic climate control, a Concert audio system with CD player and an automatic roll-over protection system. New even more protective two-stage airbags are also now fitted, as is the latest generation Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) incorporating new features such as Hydraulic Fading Compensation (HFC) for the brake system, hydraulic brake assist and a wet-weather disc wiping function.
Australian specifications have not yet been confirmed, but it seems reasonable to expect an Australian release of the new A4 cabriolet in mid-2006 (or perhaps even a little later).