The advent of a new model generation is evident at first glance: the open-top four-seater now has the single-frame grille that typifies the brand. The newly styled rear lights add a further visual touch. The car’s taut styling, clear surfaces and tension-packed shoulder line extending along the entire body are characteristic features of the Audi A4 Cabriolet.
The car’s technology lives up to the promise made by its new styling: the A4 Cabriolet is being launched with four engines, three of which are new. FSI and turbo technology represent the most advanced state of the art for petrol engines, as do the ultramodern piezo injectors in the three-litre TDI, for example. The sporty yet comfortable dynamic suspension converts the power delivered by these units into sheer driving pleasure - on every bend, on every mile of the journey.
Innovative and highly sophisticated technologies are an integral part of practically all vehicle areas and components: the optional xenon plus headlights with daytime running lights and dynamic adaptive light technology are proof of this, as are the continuously variable multitronic transmission, which is still unique, and quattro permanent four-wheel drive.
The quality of materials and workmanship in the interior are of a standard that need not fear comparison with the luxury class. The architecture of the driver’s area, especially the cockpit - a perfect synthesis of design, ergonomics and function - is pioneering.
Unmistakeably Audi: the new generation of the Audi A4 Cabriolet once again exhibits the brand’s typical design features. Their sports character is immediately visible at first glance.
The new styling elements are especially striking. They immediately draw attention at the front of the car: the striking single-frame grille and newly styled clear-glass headlights with their curving, emotional line give the new Audi A4 Cabriolet a completely new face.
The tubes of the main beam lights catch the eye behind the covers. They form the optical focus of the light units, framed to the side by the orange-coloured round indicator lights. Here, Audi’s design engineers have made technology visible.
The ratio of the large, clearly shaped body surfaces to the flat, equally bold strip formed by the windows is significant. The Cabriolet’s utterly sporty but elegant design captivates the onlooker at very first glance. Clear lines, large surfaces and not a join too many: these are the characteristic features of the new Cabriolet’s timeless elegance. The high, rising shoulder line, which extends along the entire side of the body, additionally enhances the vehicle’s powerful overall impression.
Lights behind clear glass catch the eye at the rear of the car, further emphasising the high-quality appearance of the A4 Cabriolet. The prominent rear diffuser is flanked by two tailpipes.
The Audi A4 Cabriolet always cuts a fine figure - with the top up or down. The electro-hydraulic hood is integrated harmoniously into the vehicle’s overall architecture, without the occupants having to accept any considerable compromises in terms of function.
The Audi A4 Cabriolet remains a genuine four-seater which, thanks to its generously dimensioned luggage compartment, can accommodate four people and their luggage on holiday.
On a convertible with the top down, the interior is more an integral part of the exterior design than on any other type of vehicle. It is therefore important for the interior to take up the formal principles of the exterior design. The perfectly tailored suit: in the Audi A4 Cabriolet, two apparent opposites are combined to produce an amazing synthesis of extraordinary ergonomics and subjective well-being.
The lines and surfaces of the new A4 Cabriolet’s cockpit extend far into the region of the door panel and centre console, quite literally seeming to embrace the driver. This “wrap around” effect, to use the designers’ technical term, is accentuated additionally by the A4 Cabriolet’s high, gently rising waistline. This feature is something that many customers value very highly, not least because of the remarkable sense of security that it imparts.
The architecture of the dashboard and centre console also provided the designers with scope for positioning a wide range of instruments and controls high up, ideally within the driver’s field of vision, in other words. This is a basic ergonomic design that is adopted in every aircraft cockpit - and not without reason.
The lines of the driving area create a lively interplay of distinctly rounded, tangible shapes and graphically clear edges and notches. This area is thus divided up into clearly defined zones. These can be distinguished at a glance - a worthwhile ergonomic bonus that speeds up intuitive access to the individual information units and function groups. This process of locating involves both the visual and tactile senses: groups of controls and displays can also be identified by the materials used.
As far as the instruments are concerned, the most important information elements are located under a dome-shaped cover. The dial graphics of the large round instruments dispense with all fashionable gimmicks. Together with the standard central display, the white instrument lighting ensures optimum readability.
The most important controls for the occupants’ well-being are located in the centre console: deluxe automatic air conditioning, the audio system and the optional navigation system plus. The air conditioning controls on left and right are within easy reach of both driver and front passenger.
There are, however, more benefits to the interior design than sheer practicality. The design of the self-contained function zones also creates a basis for a wide range of combination options for materials and colours. From the designers’ viewpoint this opens up entirely new horizons, and for A4 Cabriolet drivers it provides scope for an unprecedented degree of customisation.
The customer’s tastes and imagination are almost unrestricted when it comes to the choice of equipment and trim. The fact that the finish and quality of all fabrics and upholstery materials are of a standard you would expect to find on a luxury car is a fitting reflection of how Audi perceives itself.
The micro-engaging mechanism for adjusting the front seats adds a new dimension to finding the ideal seated position which will benefit all occupants, not just the taller ones. Their fore/aft position can be adjusted practically infinitely, in increments of three millimetres.
The seat surface, which is longer than the norm in this vehicle class, provides an outstanding thigh support. This applies in particular to the sports seats which, in addition to an adjustable lumbar support, come with a thigh support that can be adjusted horizontally to suit individual requirements.
The rear seats offer plenty of space, even for tall occupants - which is something that cannot be said of every four-seater convertible.
There is also more room than average for luggage in the Audi A4 Cabriolet: with a capacity of 315 litres with the roof closed, the smooth-floored luggage compartment is also well equipped for large quantities of luggage. The standard load-through hatch with ski bag for four pairs of skis or two snowboards can also be used to transport bulky items.
The body of the new Audi A4 Cabriolet is noted for its very high torsional rigidity, reducing body twist to a minimum. This not only increases safety, but also boosts ride comfort. Additional measures increase rigidity still further: these include tube-reinforced side panels and an extremely rigid and robust windscreen frame. It goes without saying therefore that the new Audi A4 Cabriolet meets the most stringent crash test requirements without any trouble.
Audi is one of the pioneers of lightweight design. On the A4 Cabriolet, various materials such as steel and aluminium have been combined in such a way that it was possible to keep the vehicle weight down without reducing body rigidity and safety. This includes the expansive use of high-strength and very high-strength sheet panels. These special panels are used primarily in the front end of the new A4 Cabriolet, in order to absorb impact energy as effectively as possible in a frontal crash.
As a protective cage, the occupant cell must also make sure that deformations and intrusions are minimised in a crash. Part of this task is performed by three large tailored blanks incorporated into the floor area. The wall thickness of each of these blanks varies. They are joined together by laser weld seams. The advantage of this special technology is that the generally large-format tailored blanks can be structured in such a way that high wall thicknesses are only used in areas subjected to particularly high loads. The result is a highly rigid structure which weighs less.
For the passenger cell, the tailored blanks form a stable, homogeneous bond with the forward and rearward structure via a bifurcated system of support members. Audi’s development engineers optimised profiles, wall thicknesses and material grades in extensive crash simulations.
In the rearward structure, the vehicle’s longitudinal member - which has to absorb much of the impact energy in a rear-end impact - is made using tailored blanks of varying wall thicknesses and materials.
The use of tailored blanks at specific points around the doors also helps to save weight. Energy-absorbing aluminium plates are used in the doors for impact protection.
The new Audi A4 Cabriolet has a soft top which can now be opened electro-hydraulically at the press of a button in just 21 seconds - an improvement of more than five seconds on its predecessor. As well as aesthetic advantages, especially when the roof is closed, it also offers numerous practical benefits compared with other roof concepts. For example, A4 Cabriolet drivers still have ample space to stow their luggage - even when the hood is open.
The Audi A4 Cabriolet is a car for all seasons, whatever the weather: the soft top is noted for its outstanding acoustic and thermal insulation. The glass rear window is heated and therefore clears quickly in winter.
The electro-hydraulic hood opens fully automatically as a standard feature. It can be opened and closed at the press of a button. The fully automatic hood can be operated when driving up to a speed of 30 km/h. This is a particularly convenient feature, especially in the city where it is not always possible to stop suddenly, or just before parking the car, when approaching the garage, for example.
Audi is setting a new standard for soft tops with its optional acoustic hood. By using new fabrics with a higher material density as well as an additional padded layer around the C-posts, the noise level inside is reduced to a level that scarcely differs from that in the Audi A4 saloon. The new roof also improves the thermal insulation properties. This increases driving pleasure and comfort considerably when driving with the hood up. Audi offers a choice of four colours for the hood; the headlining comes in three different tones.
The new Audi A4 Cabriolet is being launched with a choice of four engine versions, all of which are longitudinally installed. The two highly modern petrol engines with FSI petrol direct injection for the new A4 Cabriolet: the 188 kW (255 bhp) 3.2 V6 and the turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder 2.0 TFSI, which delivers 147 kW (200 bhp). These combine high performance with a spontaneous response to every movement of the accelerator pedal and a peak-torque range at a high level. The 1.8 T which develops 120 kW (163 bhp) is also available.
Diesel enthusiasts can order the immensely powerful 3.0 TDI with common rail injection and piezo injectors. Other engines will be added at a later date.
This modern TDI engine, which made its debut a few months ago in the large A8 and A6 saloons, develops an output of 171 kW (233 bhp) in the A4 Cabriolet. This potent V6 makes a torque of 450 Nm available between 1,400 and 3,150 rpm.
These engines deliver their power to the road either via the front wheels or by means of quattro permanent four-wheel drive (standard on the 3.0 TDI quattro and the 3.2 FSI quattro). A 6-speed manual gearbox is available for the various A4 Cabriolet models, as is the continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission. This revolutionary Audi transmission technology is available for the front-wheel-drive versions of the new A4 Cabriolet. The now 6-speed tiptronic transmission with sport program is offered as an option for quattro models.
3.2 V6 FSI
A new six-cylinder engine is being offered for the A4 Cabriolet for the first time. The 3.2 V6 FSI has all the features of an ultramodern petrol engine: FSI petrol direct injection with demand-controlled fuel supply, four valves per cylinder, a variable intake manifold and continuous camshaft adjustment on both the inlet and exhaust side.
This V6 engine delivers its maximum output of 188 kW (255 bhp) at 6,500 rpm; its peak torque of 243 lbs-ft is available at just 3,250 rpm. The A4 Cabriolet 3.2 FSI quattro accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Its top speed is governed to 155 mph.
More than 90 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available in the wide range between 1,900 and 5,900 rpm - a unique characteristic for a naturally aspirated V6. As far as the driver is concerned, this means a dynamic and forceful response to every movement of the accelerator pedal plus a broad usable speed range up to 7,200 rpm, hefty torque and excellent fuel economy: an average consumption of 10.9 litres of Super grade fuel per 100 km is the best evidence of this engine’s efficiency and the special abilities of FSI technology.
The 3.2-litre V6 has been designed with maximum space efficiency in mind. Measuring just 360 millimetres in length and 430 millimetres in width, this aluminium engine weighs a mere 169.5 kilograms - which means substantial benefits in terms of driving dynamics.
As on Audi’s new V-configuration engines in general, the cylinders are arranged at an angle of 90 degrees, and the distance between cylinders is 90 millimetres. The cylinder bore of 84.5 millimetres and cylinder stroke of 92.8 mm add up to an overall engine capacity of 3,123 cc.
The term “petrol direct injection” underlines the central feature of FSI technology: unlike an engine with indirect injection, fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber. An injection system with a newly developed single-piston high-pressure pump operating on demand ensures exactly the right supply of fuel, delivering precisely the volume required for building up operating pressure between 30 and 110 bar.
In the intake tract, also comprising the two-stage variable intake manifold, moving charge-movement flaps provide the necessary tumble effect, swirling the induced air around depending on operating point. To reach the high specific power and torque figures, a new FSI combustion process was developed - with potential for worldwide use and designed to run on 95/91 octane (RON) fuel.
The camshafts, oil pump and balancing shaft are all driven by a four-piece chain drive of the same type as in the 4.2-litre eight-cylinder unit.
Fine-tuning of the exhaust system offers the driver yet another bonus: the distinctly sporty but never intrusive sound of a genuine six-cylinder unit, making the qualities of the engine a truly sensory experience.
The 2.0 TFSI
Another premiere in the range of petrol engines for the new Audi A4 Cabriolet is the 2.0 TFSI, which was awarded the title “Engine of the Year” in its class by a high-ranking jury of specialist journalists. This is the first time that the combination of turbocharger and FSI petrol direct injection has been offered for a convertible. However, this technology has already been used in an open-top Audi: in the five-times Le Mans winner, the Audi R8, one of the most successful racing cars of all time.
The 2.0 TFSI’s maximum torque of 206 lbs-ft is available from just 1,800 all the way up to 5,000 rpm. This exceptionally broad torque plateau on the one hand permits a fuel-efficient driving style with few gearshifts, and on the other hand means that only light accelerator action is needed to produce assertive thrust and a spontaneous unleashing of power.
This technology lends the A4 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI flexibility values that are on a par with much larger-capacity sports cars. It is moreover impressive how spontaneously the new turbo engine always responds to accelerator action, and how assertively it translates pedal movement into acceleration.
The Audi A4 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI with 6-speed manual gearbox accomplishes the 0?100 km/h sprint in only 7.9 seconds; its powerful 147 kW (200 bhp) engine is capable of taking it up to an impressive top speed of 175 mph.
The intake manifold on the 2.0 TFSI is made from a high-tech plastic. It also integrates the charge movement flaps whose position is adjusted by a continuous-action pilot motor. The optimum movement of the airflow, or tumble, can thus be controlled on the basis of the engine-speed and load conditions. The fuel is injected via a common rail system supplied by a demand-controlled high-pressure pump.
The fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber via an injector positioned at one side between the inlet valves. The fuel-air mixture is distributed purely homogeneously within the combustion chamber. This provides a distinctive characteristic, placing the emphasis on high performance and agile responsiveness at all engine speeds.
The four-valve cylinder head with low-friction roller cam follower drive has a modified inlet duct geometry that produces even higher tumble values than the naturally-aspirated FSI engine. In addition to greater refinement, this brings about superior knock resistance, and therefore improved efficiency.
The 1.8 T
A successful engine version will also be included in the range when the new Audi A4 Cabriolet is launched: the 1.8 T four-cylinder which delivers 120 kW (163 bhp). This is an outstanding example of how a modern turbocharged four-cylinder engine can combine high power output with excellent refinement.
Instead of priming its small, very responsive exhaust turbocharger for a peak output value, Audi has placed the emphasis on achieving a substantial, ideally 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.
Peak torque of 165 lbs-ft is reached at an engine speed of just 1,950 rpm. This torque remains constant up to 4,700 rpm. This means that maximum torque is always available in the predominantly used driving/engine-speed range.
The A4 Cabriolet 1.8 T with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox consumes just 8.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. 163 horsepower accelerate the Cabriolet to a top speed of 140 mph, and from 0-60 mph in a mere 9.4 seconds.
The 2.0 TDI
Driving pleasure and economy, refinement and environmental compatibility: the 2.0 TDI four-cylinder unit with pump-injector technology is making its debut in the Cabriolet as a highly talented all-rounder. The particular strengths of this engine are its high output and powerful torque, combined with equally impressive economy.
A maximum output of 103 kW (140 bhp) and peak torque of 320 Nm, available between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm, make this the most powerful and dynamic four-cylinder diesel that Audi has ever installed in its cars. Performance on the road is correspondingly impressive: the 2.0 TDI with 6-speed manual gearbox accelerates to 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds and continues on up rapidly to its top speed of 131 mph.
Two other fortes of the 2.0 TDI four-cylinder engine are low fuel consumption - 5.7 litres of diesel fuel per 100 km - as well as compliance with the EU4 emissions standard. A diesel particulate filter is standard.
The refinement of this four-cylinder unit in the new Audi A4 Cabriolet is outstanding. A balance shaft module with two shafts rotating in opposite directions helps to reduce engine vibrations extremely effectively.
The 3.0 TDI V6
A genuine power pack is being introduced in the Audi A4 Cabriolet in the shape of the new three-litre six-cylinder unit. Compared with the competition, this engine offers truly impressive power and torque potential: 233 bhp and 450 Nm. Maximum torque is available at a mere 1,400 rpm and giving the driver forceful acceleration at all speeds.
This means performance on the road that even many a sports car will find hard to match: the speedometer needle touches the 60 mph mark after just 7.3 seconds, and the top speed of the A4 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI quattro is 150 mph.
Further fortes are the engine’s highly efficient acoustics and compliance with the strict EU4 emissions standard. A diesel particulate filter is fitted as standard.
Featuring turbocharger technology and map-controlled, cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, this V6 four-valve power unit is the first six-cylinder TDI in Audi’s new family of V-engines. The camshafts, balancing shaft and oil pump are driven by chains.
This engine is remarkable for its very compact dimensions, measuring just 444 millimetres in length. This is also an important step toward achieving an overall engine weight of just 219 kilograms. This benefits not only the car’s power-to-weight ratio, but also the weight distribution - two factors crucial to the superior driving dynamics of the new A4 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI quattro.
Fuel injection is the task of a latest-generation common rail system. It features a high-pressure pump and one rail per cylinder bank. The maximum injection pressure reaches 1,600 bar. This high injection pressure results in even finer atomisation of the fuel and therefore in very good mixture preparation and more efficient combustion.
The piezo injectors are undoubtedly the most important innovation of the new common rail system. The injection process makes use of the piezo effect: a voltage is applied to ceramic which changes its crystal structures. The result is a minimal geometric change which - supported by a hydraulic element - mechanically triggers the opening of the injector needle.
The piezo injectors offer multiple advantages compared with conventional solenoid valves. The moving mass at the injector needle is for instance reduced by no less than 75 percent, from 16 to 4 grams in each case.
This enables considerably smaller and more precisely metered injection quantities. At the same time, piezo technology allows a higher injector needle speed.
The number of injection processes per combustion cycle can thus be varied almost at will. Audi’s TDI development engineers opted for up to five injection processes for the 3.0 V6: in addition to the main injection process, double pilot injection takes place at the lower end of the speed range and single pilot injection in the medium speed range.
This strategy produces both lower emissions and a smoother combustion process, the benefits of which are most immediately apparent in the engine’s acoustic behaviour.
Its average consumption over 100 kilometres is just 7.9 litres of diesel. In practice this obviously means a very significant cruising range, the new A4 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI quattro being able to approximately 800 kilometres on one tank of fuel.
The supreme fuel economy and dynamic performance offered by the new Audi A4 Cabriolet also results from the standard usage of 5-speed and 6-speed manual gearboxes and 6-speed automatic transmissions with a wide range of gear increments. The current generation of the continuously variable multitronic transmission now has seven predefined transmission ratios that can be preselected as an alternative.
The manual versions of the new Audi A4 Cabriolet come with the current generation of ML transmissions.
This gearbox is noted for its closely spaced, sporty ratios and extremely precise, crisp, short gearshifts. Thanks to a special mount for the selector forks, the gear lever is effectively protected against driveline vibrations; the driver does not feel the gear lever trembling at all.
Internal friction reduced by a series of measures increases the efficiency of the manual gearbox. This means that engine power can be converted even more efficiently into forward propulsion.
The 6-speed tiptronic transmission is available for the particularly high-torque 3.2 FSI and 3.0 TDI power units in conjunction with quattro permanent four-wheel drive. This transmission enables engine potential to be converted in a supreme synthesis of dynamism and operating convenience.
Weight reduction, a fast and crisp gearshift, as well as an optimised gearshift strategy help to combine the superior convenience of automatic gearshift with the sporting performance so typical of the A4.
Compared with its 5-speed predecessor, the new 6-speed gearbox is 14 kilograms lighter; its overall weight is a mere 115 kilograms.
Again compared with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the overall spread of gear ratios is up by 18 percent on average. This means a much improved accelerating performance in the low gears, and a clear reduction in engine speed and consequently a reduction in both noise level and fuel consumption at high speeds.
The shifting speed of the new 6-speed tiptronic has also been significantly optimised. The driver benefits from more spontaneous gear changes particularly when downshifting.
Both in stage D and in the S sport program, the electronics respond efficiently to parameters such as lateral and longitudinal acceleration as well as to the movement of the accelerator pedal. This helps to prevent any unwanted upshifts when cornering.
After making its production debut successfully in the year 2000, Audi’s continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission is again offering its superior qualities in the new A4 Cabriolet, combining the benefits of a manual gearbox with those of a geared automatic transmission. Fortes typical of multitronic are smooth but very dynamic acceleration as well as convenient operation and the efficient transmission of power.
The high standard of operating convenience offered by multitronic exceeds that of a conventional converter-type automatic transmission, while in terms of dynamic performance and economy, multitronic can by all means be compared with a manual gearbox. If the driver wishes to actively choose the appropriate transmission ratio, he is able to do so at the gear lever or using the optional shift paddles on the steering wheel, now providing no fewer than seven predefined gear ratios.
Numerous reinforcements and adjustments, as well as optimised cooling, serve to significantly enhance the performance of Audi’s continuously variable automatic transmission. The multitronic is now even able to convey torque levels of up to 330 Nm, thus qualifying as an ideal partner even for the most powerful V6 engine in the range, the 3.2 FSI which develops an output of 255 bhp and 330 Nm of torque.
Modified for the new Audi A4 Cabriolet, the multitronic variator spans an even wider range of gear ratios: the overall ratio between the largest and the smallest gear transmission ratio is 6.25, virtually ideal for such a transmission. This on the one hand permits dynamic, sports-style acceleration using the largest possible ratio, while on the other hand the engine’s fuel-saving potential is fully exploited using the smallest ratio.
A further special feature is the ability of the electronics to emulate the functions of a manual gearbox. For the latest multitronic version, Audi has opted for no fewer than seven forward gears which the driver can activate using the one-touch function in the second shift gate or by pressing the shift paddles on the steering wheel (optional extra).
These seven gearshift stages are memorised by the system as fixed shift programs. Depending on which gear the driver selects, the controller is supplied with the ratio as a set point, which it establishes and maintains. Even these manually prompted gearshifts take place smoothly and jolt-free, satisfying the desire for sports performance.