Forgive me if I sound a little guilty. You see, I just spent a week with
a very special car, and it was wonderful. The only thing is it was not
very kind to the environment. For a week I didnít care though, and
neither would you Iíll bet, if you had a chance to drive it around
The Audi S4 Cabriolet
takes the very fine entry-luxury A4 and pumps it up. That ďSĒ on an Audi
model means ďsportyĒ and this model delivers that. With a 4.2-liter,
340-horsepower V8 behind the tall single-frame grille with its special
ďSĒ texture, this baby rockets along. Like the four-cylinder turbo and
V6 engines in the A4 model, this V8 is on the Wardsí 10 Best Engines
list, notable industry recognition.
Itís especially fun
driving the S4 through its six-speed manual transmission. You rarely get
the chance these days to individually select your own gears with all
that power available on the other end of the shift linkage.
To make the experience
all the more exciting, The S4 Cabriolet has a drop top. And itís not
just any convertible, it is completely automatic and with the top up,
itís almost as quiet inside as the four-door sedan version. I counted 21
seconds to get the top down or up. All you do is press a button. The
soft top stows completely under the rear deck.
I impressed a couple of
boys in front of a local Chinese restaurant when I dropped the top in
front of them. Just be sure to drop the luggage protector in the trunk
or the top will refuse to budge and a message will display in the gauge
binnacle telling you what the problem is.
The 4,266-pound S4
Cabriolet, with all-wheel-drive Quattro, earns EPA mileage numbers of 13
City, 20 Highway, and I averaged just 16.3 mpg. Yes, I know. People who
buy this car donít care, but itís sobering to pull up to the pump these
days when it costs over $10 a day just to drive to work. Plus the S4
Cabriolet wears a $1,700 Gas Guzzler tax on its window sticker.
The EPA Green Vehicle
Guide rates the S4 with a reasonable 6 for Air Pollution, but its
Greenhouse Gas score is just a 3, about the lowest Iíve seen. Ah, such a
guilty pleasure to motor blissfully along knowing that fact.
Now that weíve gotten
that out of the way, back to the fun part. The Cabriolet has that
certain something that Audis possess, perfect proportions, carefully
wrought shape, quality materials, excellent fit and finish. That makes a
big impression when you see it on the road or approach it in your
driveway and press the flip-out key fob and step inside.
Once you sit down, you
can enjoy the fine materials, design and assembly that are the standard
of the industry. My wife commented, ďNow this is what a carís interior
should smell like.Ē The red seats, with black piping, emit a rich aroma
of carefully tanned and colored hides. The driverís seat offers
programmable settings for four different drivers, the most Iíve seen in
any car. The driverís side mirror is included in that preset as well.
Those memory settings
are part of the $2,625 Convenience Package, which includes many other
enjoyable benefits, such as beautiful 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels,
the Bose premium sound system and for the Bluetooth phone you need to be
using in California after July 1, 2008, as itís the new hand free phone
My tester had carbon
fiber trim inside, much more high tech looking than wood, but if you
want a real tree you can order walnut or fine-grain birch. Driving along
you tend to forget the carís a convertible when the topís up because the
thermally insulated top keeps out sound and cold.
Even though itís a soft
top convertible, the S4 is very safe. The windshield pillars are
reinforced with steel tubes. The door sills are specially configured for
crash safety. Thereís a carefully engineered rollover protection system.
Sensor-activated roll bars pop out to protect rear passengers, and
combined with the super strong windshield pillars, give you space to
climb out. Drive safely and you have nothing to worry about.
My test car, in Ibis
White, started out at $56,775, but options pushed it up a bit. Besides
the Convenience Package, my car had Audiís navigation system, which
included an iPod interface in place of the six-disk CD changer. When I
plugged in my iPod, not only did the audio system list the songs and
allow control but it actually charged the unit while it was doing it. On
shuffle, it was like having my own radio station.
The $64,450 sticker
price included rear heated seats, too, just the thing for cruising
roofless on a cool evening. Ah, guilty pleasure for sure.
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San
Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Audi Home Page
Column Name: Ah, guilty
pleasure for sure
Topic: The 2008 Audi S4
Word Count: 877
Photo Caption: The 2008
Audi S4 Cabriolet
Photo Credits: Audi S4
Series #: 2008 - 54
the Microsoft Word version here:
2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet
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2008 Audi S4