|March 4, 2003
Audi A4 Cabriolet: Now with quattro
The Audi A4 Cabriolet is to enter its second open-air season with two new versions: the powerful three-litre V6 and the high-torque 1.8 T turbo engine can now be combined with quattro permanent four-wheel drive. Both versions are available with 6-speed manual gearbox, the 3.0 can also be ordered with 5-speed tiptronic.
The four-seater Audi A4 Cabriolet quattro is the only car of its kind worldwide to offer permanent four-wheel drive. However, it is not merely this unique positioning on the market that gives the new combination its special quality. The quattro driveline underlines the status of the A4 Cabriolet as the sportiest all-rounder in its class. quattro allows the Cabriolet to demonstrate its dynamic handling talents even more emphatically, guarantees clearly defined self-steering behaviour and agility all the way up to a limit that takes some time to reach.
At the same time, permanent four-wheel drive makes the A4 Cabriolet the ideal all-season vehicle. Engine power can be safely converted into forward propulsion in all road and weather conditions. Good directional control is moreover maintained, ensuring the excellent level of cornering stability that is characteristic for quattro, even in critical conditions.
The distinctly dynamic performance is complemented by the high torsional rigidity of the Cabriolet body. The most important consequence of this characteristic is a level of vibrational comfort that makes the A4 Cabriolet the benchmark in its class.
Powerful and refined: the engines
Two powerful engines provide the Audi A4 Cabriolet quattro with a level of propulsion befitting its class: the 3.0 V6 with an output of 162 kW and the 120 kW inline four-cylinder 1.8 T. Both engines in combination with quattro drive comply with the strict limits prescribed by the EU4 emission standard.
The 3.0 V6
Drivers opting for the 162 kW (220 bhp) three-litre V6 with aluminium block and continuous camshaft adjustment will be rewarded with sheer dynamism.
The V6 delivers 162 kW (220 bhp) from 2976 cc at 6300 rpm. Its peak torque of 300 Nm is available at 3200 rpm. It consequently accelerates the A4 Cabriolet with 6 speed manual gearbox from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 241 km/h.
According to the EC standard, this version consumes an average of 11.1 litres of Super Plus fuel per 100 kilometres.
At the same time, the V6 engine is notable for its sporty six-cylinder sound and outstanding refinement - a combination that is extremely popular, especially with drivers of convertibles.
The 1.8 T
The 1.8 T is solid proof that there is a genuine alternative to sheer size: this engine, which delivers 120 kW (163 bhp), is an outstanding example of how much power coupled with high refinement a modern supercharged four-cylinder unit can offer.
Instead of priming its small, very responsive exhaust turbocharger for a peak output value, Audi has placed the emphasis on achieving a substantial, accessible torque curve across a wide range. It encourages the driver to move up the gears earlier on, so that a more economical higher gear can be used more frequently and for longer periods. All this is fully compatible with ample driving enjoyment.
Its peak torque of 225 Nm is reached at a speed of just 1,950 rpm. This hefty torque remains constant up to 4,700 rpm. This means that maximum torque is always available in the predominantly used driving/engine-speed range.
Equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the Audi A4 Cabriolet 1.8 T quattro accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 222 km/h. It consumes just 9.4 litres of Super grade fuel per 100 kilometres (EC average consumption).
quattro permanent four-wheel drive
quattro permanent four-wheel drive has long since become established in virtually all segments. 27 percent of all new Audi vehicles in 2002 were fitted with quattro drive technology.
The word "quattro" has become synonymous with the superior capabilities of this drive concept: convincingly better operating dynamics and driving safety, and a distinctively superior form of travel.
The principle behind four-wheel drive is as follows: with four driven wheels, each wheel need only transfer half the propulsive power of the driven wheels of vehicles with two-wheel drive. A vehicle with four-wheel drive can translate correspondingly higher cornering forces into propulsion. This in turn means greater driving enjoyment and improved safety at the same time.
On the Audi A4 Cabriolet - with longitudinally installed four and six-cylinder engines - a Torsen centre differential automatically establishes the optimum distribution of power between all four wheels.
Normally the power is split 50:50 between the two pairs of wheels, but in extreme cases the entire propulsive power can be diverted to either pair. In the event of more than one wheel encountering considerable slip, the Electronic Differential Lock EDL can even concentrate this power on one wheel.
Light-footed and agile: the running gear
The sporting talents of the new A4 Cabriolet are by no means limited to the drive train department. The lightweight aluminium suspension, based on the much-praised axle design of the new A4 generation, provides the ideal basis for maximum agility and, consequently, sheer driving pleasure.
Four-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension enable maximum steering precision and clearly defined handling with excellent cornering stability. Ride comfort also benefits from this ingenious axle design. A low unsprung mass in addition produces a particularly sensitive response from the suspension.
The rear suspension
Like the other versions of the Audi A4, the Cabriolet comes as standard with one of the most complex and most efficient rear suspension systems currently available: the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear axle.
The trapezoidal-link axle makes for top-quality ride comfort, coupled with the kind of dynamic performance that need fear no comparison with the competition.
The trapezoidal link is made from hollow-section aluminium. This torsionally and flexurally rigid control arm absorbs a large portion of the forces acting on the wheel. Together with the track rod located behind it, it determines the elastokinematic behaviour of the axle.
The twin-tube gas-filled shock absorber is connected to the wheel carrier, so that a direct-ratio effect is obtained. Combined with the separately mounted spring, this ensures a particularly sensitive response from the shock absorber.
The front suspension
With its precise, comfortable steering characteristics and road behaviour, Audi's four-link front suspension layout sets the standard compared with the competition. The qualities are also clearly noticeable on the A4 Cabriolet quattro.
Each wheel is located by four aluminium control arms. The swivel bearings are likewise now made from the same light alloy, a change which cuts weight by around 40 percent compared with the conventional version.
Audi also establishes a benchmark for this class with the four-seater convertible's equipment specification. Even the standard equipment of the Audi A4 Cabriolet comprises features such as a fully automatic hood, which can be ordered in the colours black, blue, beige or red.
The standard specification also includes automatic air conditioning with sun sensor and separate temperature selectors for the driver and front passenger, together with fog lights, heat-insulating glass and variable-height front seats with easy entry function.
Other standard features include electric front and rear windows and central locking with radio remote control, which also locks the glove compartment.
The Audi A4 Cabriolet is fitted with 16-inch "7-arm" cast alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 (3.0: 215/55 R16) tyres. Over and above this specification, the top models with 3.0-litre engine have the driver information system and a 4 spoke leather steering wheel as standard.
Comprehensive safety systems are a matter of course on an Audi convertible. ESP with ABS and hydraulic brake assist, the Electronic Differential Lock EDL and ASR traction control guarantee maximum active driving safety. In addition to front airbags and head/thorax side airbags for the driver and front passenger, there are belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seats. In conjunction with the rigid A-posts, an active roll-over protection system which is triggered automatically helps to preserve survival space for the occupants.