A Second Opinion By: Jason Teller
I Actually Miss that Cabriolet
I recently spent 10 days with a very similar car to the one reviewed by Joe in this article (albeit gray, not blue). When I pick up press cars it means parking my own 2004 S4 in the garage for a while, so the inevitable first comparison is "what's this thing got under the hood?" Unfortunately with the downgrade from V8 to V6 it is a fixed fight from the get-go. The A4 goes down before the fight even starts! Having said that, I will add the caveat that be it in traffic or on the open highway I don't once remember thinking it was a dog. The 3.0-liter V6 is without a doubt a capable powerplant.
As a matter of fact, this car has the one thing going for it that most do not - you can take the roof down and then you start paying attention to your speed a lot less and to everything else around you a lot more. Due to the fabulous aerodynamics I found myself more than once approaching 100mph without having any clue I was going that fast. The convertible is definitely not a handicap.
So there it is in essence. This car is fun to drive with the top down plain and simple. It is not the most powerful, the quickest, it doesn't have DSG, it isn't overly sporty and it isn't cheap. But I enjoyed driving it and now that my S4 is back out of the garage I found myself wishing this sunny weekend that I could put it back in the garage and have the ragtop back.
In order to have really put it through its paces we loaded my 3-year old and 1-year daughters in the back (one booster seat and one rear-facing baby seat) and spent a day out shopping and doing errands. The trip was fine and it worked, but the reality is that we had to take the top down each time to have any chance of getting the little one out of her rear-facing seat. That was fine on a nice summer day, but would have obviously been a nightmare in the winter. As previously mentioned the kids couldn't take the wind in their faces very long in the back seat either. All-in-all this Cabriolet would be an insane family car anyway, but our test proved it is not impossible.