ADDING TO THE EXCITEMENT
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Aug 15, 2004
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Â© All photos by Harvey Schwartz
TO THE EXCITEMENT
By HARVEY SCHWARTZ
By HARVEY SCHWARTZ
Audi adds the proven Quattro four-wheel-drive system to the 2004 A4 V6 powered Cabriolet, giving it better traction and better handling. This is just what the A4 convertible needed to liven up the ride. Like most cabriolets, the suspension of the A4 is tuned a little soft for a touring type of ride, but with Quattro the A4 convertible is now a little quicker off the line with all four wheels turning. The Audi A4 convertible is a beautiful work of automotive styling. Fluid lines and soft curves give the A4 the look of being chiseled from a solid piece of metal. The A4 cabrio embodies elegant styling and engineering sophistication. Brushed aluminum trim around the windshield and beltline highlight the overall design. Flared wheel arches and the wide arc of the roof accentuates the body's length and subtle wedge shape. Brilliant Xenon headlights light up the darkness and are kept clean by heated washers that are flush-mounted in the front bumper. The front fascia also has a chrome-trimmed, double front grille and round foglamps on the lower front bumper. The contoured rear features large wraparound lamp treatments with dual, two-inch chrome tipped exhaust pipes peering out from the black-surround lower bumper. The new aluminum block, aluminum head, 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine, jointly developed by Audi and its subsidiary, Cosworth Technology, makes 220 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 22l pound feet of torque at just 3,200 rpm. The engine features a new two-stage, variable-length intake manifold that adapts its length and cross section to provide optimal airflow and velocity throughout a large rpm range. A counter-rotating balance shaft reduces vibrations and adds to smoother power delivery, while an Audi exhaust manifold contributes to more efficient exhaust gas flow.
Mated to the V6 engine is your choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or 5-speed Tiptronic automatic, the latter letting you shift with a semi-manual gate to the right so you can upshift and downshift when you want for a more exciting drive. The new 2004 A4 cabrio improves on Audi's four-link independent front suspension with added aluminum content for lighter weight and even less unsprung mass for a better ride and more responsive control. A trapezoidal link, fully independent rear suspension and front/rear stabilizer bars add to the overall control of the vehicle. Audi says that the suspension is 'sport-tuned' but it is a little softer than the suspension of the A4 sedan. Power rack & pinion steering is very precise with quick turn-in and rock solid straight-line driving at triple-digit speeds. Enhancing your handling further is an Electronic Stabilization Program to keep unwanted wheelspin to a minimum, keeping you on track, out of trouble and on your way.
Slowing you down from high speed are powerful brakes. Up front are 12-inch vented discs with a dual-piston caliper, and the rear features 11-inch solid discs with a single-piston caliper. Braking control is enhanced with ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and hydraulic Brake Assist. The new Audi A4 cabrio rides on high-performance P215/55R17 all-season radial tires that wrap around gorgeous 17 x 7.5 aluminum alloy wheels. Inside the well-appointed interior is room for four adults. The doors open wide for easy entry and exit. Both front leather trimmed bucket seats feature a rocker-switch that moves the seat back effortlessly and quickly so passengers can easily enter or exit the rear seats. Wide and thick real wood trim wraps around the dashboard, front doors and rear sides. The center console is faced with the same matching wood. The stick shifter is wrapped in leather and sitting in an aluminum shifter gate. The leather trimmed and tilting 3-spoke sport steering wheel feels great in your hands. The door handles are made of real aluminum plus all the air-vents and gauges are also trimmed in real aluminum. The instrument cluster is straight-ahead, easy to see and understand. You get a 160 mph speedometer, 8,000 rpm tachometer and smaller gauges for fuel and engine coolant temperature. Bright LED readouts warn of mechanical or safety failures. A tire pressure monitoring system is standard and alerts you to potentially dangerous tire under-inflation.
Other standard features include heat-insulating glass, power windows/door locks with pinch protection and one-touch down controls at all locations, lighted vanity mirrors, electrically adjustable and heated outside mirrors, electronic cruise-control, variable speed wipers/washers, map lamps with theater dimming, thick pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, leather wrapped and aluminum tipped handbrake, storage slots in each door, locking glove box, and a large ski sack that passes through the rear center armrest from the trunk. Also standard on the 3.0-liter V6 are 12-way height-adjustable front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment. My test A4 had the premium, red-dyed leather sport seats. Also included is a Driver Information Display, fog lamps, side turn-indicators, a fully automatic dual-zone climate control system with seven temperature sensors, sun and pressure sensors, and charcoal and electrostatic filter for pollen, odors, and dust to help keep clean the air in the cabin; heated windshield washer nozzles, anti-theft alarm, tilt sensor and immobilizer. A 180-watt Audi Symphony ratio with in-dash six-Cd changer and nine speakers are standard. The A4 is also pre-wired for satellite radio. Options include a rear-seat wind deflector, self-leveling Xenon headlights, a HomeLink three-channel remote transmitter in the driver's- side sun visor for garage door openers and some exterior house lights, automatically dimming exterior mirrors and interior rearview mirror, with digital compass, and a Bose 225-watt premium sound system with Bose Nd NeoDymium iron Boron high-efficiency woofer, subwoofers and a front center speaker that also came with my test A4.
The convertible top is designed and constructed in three layers and with a sonic welding process for a precise fit and finish to prevent leaks, reduce outside noise and isolate temperatures. Special horizontal cross ribs keep the top stiff in the raised position, eliminating the 'bubbling effect' of typical convertibles. The top operates from a one-touch down button in the center console, or with the key in the driver door lock. Put in motion, the electro-hydraulic tonneau raises while the top folds in the well. The tonneau then closes flush to the body for a beautiful, finished look-all in just 24sec. A variable cargo system in the trunk expands cargo space to 11.1 cubic feet with the top up. For added occupant protection, the A4 cabrio incorporates six crash sensors to deploy dual front airbag and seat mounted side airbag supplemental retraints. In the event an airbag deploys, the vehicle doors are unlocked, interior lighting is turned on, the fuel pump and engine are switched off and the hazard flashers are activated. Reinforced steel and aluminum crossmembers, reinforced bumpers, a rigid occupant cell and side intrusion beams located in the doors help protect A4 cabriolet passengers. All four seating positions are equipped with three-point safety belts with pretensioners that snug the belts just prior to a collision to keep everyone in position, while front seatbelt force limiters ease out the belts to reduce compression as forward momentum is slowed. Rear-seat lower anchors make it easier to secure child safety seats. A strengthened windshield and pop-up support posts behind the rear seat headrests add protection in the event of a rollover. The Audi A4 cabrio is one of the safest open-top cars to be driving in. My loaded A4 cabrio is sticker priced at $49,945, including destination, so this car is not for everyone. The only other competition is from the BMW 3-series cabrio but you can save several thousands of dollars with the A4 V6 powered Quattro. The A4 delivers lots of driving fun in the sun along with plenty of luxury and safety.
Â© All text and photos by Harvey Schwartz
SPECIFICATIONS Name of Vehicle: 2004 Audi A4 Cabriolet Quattro Price of vehicle: Base model - $43,550, as tested - $49,945 Engine type: 3.0 liters, DOHC, V6, aluminum alloy block and heads Horsepower: 220 at 6,300 rpm Torque: 221 lb.ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel-drive Transmission type: Standard 6-speed manual, optional 5-speed Tiptronic automatic with semi-manual shift-gate Front suspension: Independent strut type with four-links, anti-sway bar Rear suspension: Independent with trapezoidal links, gas-charged shocks, anti-sway bar Wheels/tires: P215/55R17 all-season, high-performance radial tires/17 x 7.5 aluminum alloy wheels Brakes: Front: 12 in. vented discs/2-piston caliper Rear: 11 in. solid rotor with single-piston caliper ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist Overall length: 180in. Overall width: 70 in. Overall height: 54.8 in. Curb weight: 3,842 lbs. EPA mileage estimates: 18 mpg, city/25 mpg, highway 0-60 mph: 6.9 sec.