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The 2008 Audi A4 Cabriolet could be faster, but handling is more impressive.
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

quick, precise response
Kelley Blue Book

sophisticated suspension provides a well-balanced ride and handling
ForbesAutos

V6 is increasingly outclassed”
Edmunds

Reviewers applauded the Audi A4 2008 Cabriolet for nimble handling and a fun ride, but docked points for a wimpy engine.

The Audi A4 Cabriolet's engines are universally admired by auto writers, but in this fairly heavy ragtop, they're sapped of some energy. The base Cabriolet comes with a 200-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four and can be teamed with a continuously variable transmission for 30-mpg highway fuel economy. Vehicles with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive and the turbo four get a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. The upmarket engine is a 255-horsepower V-6. It's a torquey engine, and when teamed with all-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic, can scoot to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds--not slow, but not too quick, either.

MyRide.com reports "weak performance with [the] 2.0-liter engine," but Car and Driver calls it “enthusiastic.” However, they add that the convertible’s extra weight ensures “slower performance that will leave enthusiasts uninspired.” Kelley Blue Book feels that "the 2008 Audi A4 Cabriolet has adequate acceleration with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo, but the V6 is more satisfying all around." Edmunds does remind drivers that the "V6 is increasingly outclassed by competitors putting out more than 300 hp."

ForbesAutos points out that "a continuously variable transmission is offered in the front-wheel-drive version only" and "a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, where the driver can manually select gears, comes with quattro all-wheel drive exclusively." Automedia calls the CVT “ultra-smooth.” Cars.com comments that "the manual gearbox shifts easily, and Audi's automatic transmission works without any harshness.”

Cars.com notes that the Audi Cabriolet A4 is available "with FrontTrak front-wheel drive or Quattro all-wheel drive." The option adds even more weight to the Cabriolet, but “the extra traction afforded by the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is quite useful in Northern climates,” Edmunds asserts.

ConsumerGuide finds that the 3.2-liter Audi A4 2008 Cabriolet "averaged 16.0 mpg in mostly city driving." The EPA rates the 2008 Audi A4 Cabriolet at 21/30 mpg with the four-cylinder and CVT; 19/27 mpg with the four-cylinder, automatic, and Quattro; and 17/25 mpg with the six-cylinder, automatic, and Quattro.

The 208 Audi A4 Cabriolet handles respectably well for a heavy convertible. Edmunds calls it a “sterling daily driver,” with “balanced ride and handling and a suspension that dispenses with ruts and potholes with unflappable German efficiency.” BusinessWeek says “it's further over on the soft ride/comfort side of the equation than the BMW 3-Series,” while ForbesAutos reports “An optional S Line Sport Package for the less-expensive models includes upgraded suspension components and performance-oriented tires. These sharpen handling, particularly when teamed with the quattro AWD.”

Conclusion

The 2008 Audi A4 Cabriolet could be faster, but handling is more impressive.

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