So how would the A4 perform on the highway in terms interior wind noise? Cruising with the top town in any modern convertible should be a serene experience. The A4 did not disappoint in this area. With slippery aerodynamics and all windows up, I experienced minimum wind buffeting and did not find it necessary to deploy the windscreen. Like all 4-seater ragtops, the rear passengers are the ones that are typically affected. You will find that kids (and some adults of course depending on time and place) enjoy getting their hair "messed up" by the wind, but it would be intolerable on longer trips.

Cruising at highway speeds and beyond is where this ragtop is at its finest. I felt well planted, yet was dampened from most road imperfections. I noticed the ride seemed more pliable than that of my '03 A4 1.8T sedan with the same sports suspension option. Perhaps it was due to the all-season tires and the Cab being heavier. However, in a couple of instances, I experienced a seesawing effect as the car felt like it was bouncing fore and aft. I had only experienced this sensation before in older rear leaf sprung SUVs and pickup trucks. It might have just been the particular speed I was traveling combined with the spacing of the imperfections of the road surface that resulted in this uncomfortable effect, however it would not be a welcome part of the ownership experience if it were pervasive.

The fit and finish in the interior were unsurprisingly first rate. Audi did a great job on the (real) burled wood trim which was tastefully blended with the dash layout and trim. "Understated yet noticeable" is a phrase that comes to mind. I would easily rate Audi's quality in this area on par with or than its competitors. The 12-position leather front seats were a joy, especially with the lumbar support for my (old) back. Audi calls this vehicle a "4-seater". In my opinion, I would call the seating more of a 2+2 configuration as some of the rear seating space is obviously forfeited to accommodate the power top compartment. Kids would be relatively comfortable in the rear but adults would find it tight in the legroom department, especially on long trips.

Every car has it quirks. On Audi's the in-dash cup holder does not accommodate bottled water. The center armrest cup holder will handle this task, but renders your armrest useless. The one button power top operation was faultless. It can be raised or lowered by both the centre console button or with the key in the driver's door, similar to that of a comparable BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, the operation seemed slower from start to finish than the BMW M3 Cab which I previously owned. This is of course not all that significant unless you are surprised by an unexpected rain shower.

Like most luxury convertibles, the power top incorporates a rear glass window with a built-in defroster. With the top up, there are no noticeable blind spots in the "C-Pillar" area unlike the BMW where it is quite noticeable. The top is well insulated so it was very quiet in the cabin at all speeds, whereas I could still hear the tire whine in the BMW.

I have an unusual yardstick to measure the trunk capacity of a convertible: the number of golf bags the compartment can store with the top down without having to sit on the trunk to close it. In the case of the A4 and the Merc, they will hold 1 set of clubs. I think the BMW trunk is deeper so it will swallow 2 sets with the top down. Additional space can be salvaged in the Audi by manually pulling a lever in the trunk department, raising a shelf to optimize the unused space when the top is up. Frankly, the pleasure of owning a convertible is to travel to my Golf & Country club with another golfer and our weapons safely stored in the trunk with the top down. I find it puzzling that with the modern advancements in technology, the engineering and design brain trust of the auto industry, this somewhat non-trivial pet peeve of mine can't be addressed.

The exhaust note with the top down is minimal vs. what I was accustomed to in my M3 Cab, however to be fair the non-M3 series and Mercedes Cabs are equally as quiet as the A4. The A4 Cab tends to understeer vs. the competitor's, no doubt due to the quattro system. However it does it with minimal body roll. Overall the A4 3.0 Cab was a pleasure to drive and met all expectations for a car in this target market segment. However if you are more of a spirited driver, Audi offers the upgraded S4 Cab version which would definitely have to be considered.

Pages: [1] [2] [3] [4] [Gallery]

Terms of Use Privacy Policy| Copyright © 1996-2012 by AudiWorld. All rights reserved.