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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The A4 convertible is classy, well made and beautiful. Its cabin is a great place to be

Against It's very expensive to buy, not as sharp to drive as a BMW 3 Series, and costly to repair

Verdict Posh, pricey and smooth, it looks good and does most things well - just don't expect a cracking drive.

Go for… 2.0T FSi

Avoid… 4.2 S4

Audi A4 Cabriolet
  • 1. Air-con systems are vulnerable – check that it blows cold
  • 2. There's genuine space for four adults and enough room in the boot for their luggage
  • 3. With a 2.0 TDi engine, this is a rare thing, a soft-top that promises up to 44mpg
  • 4. Cooling system problems are the biggest cause of concern, so watch the engine for signs of overheating
  • 5. 1.8T models are prone to ignition coil failure, so see if any possible buy has had them replaced
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Audi A4 Cabriolet full review with expert trade views

It's good-looking and impressive, inside and out, leagues ahead of the old Audi cabrio, which used a chassis and running gear dating from the 1980s.

Audi combines chrome highlights, high-quality plastics and plush fabrics to make an interior that begs you to spend time in it. Its electric hood operates tidily, but also keeps out the elements when you need it to.

There's proper space for four adults and – a rarity, this – enough room in the boot for their luggage. The dash is very clear, and the wheel and driver's seat adjust finely in every conceivable way. You can even raise or lower the roof on the move – but only at speeds up to 20mph.

The A4 cabrio's not thrilling to drive, but it does everything competently, especially on models from 2006 onwards, which had suspension changes that made them more engaging to drive. The ride is composed, although deep ruts can catch it out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Strong retail interest all year round but preference is for petrol over diesel

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Go for a model from 2006 or later, if your budget will stretch that far. Chassis modifications made it better to drive, while the 2.0T FSi engine that became available then is the pick of the line-up.

The 1.8 turbo engine that powers the cheapest model is also the most plentiful second-hand, as well as the best choice for keeping ownership costs sensible.

There are also 2.0- and 3.0-litre diesels that are good but scarce second-hand, a 3.2 V6 with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system and the S4, the range's performance flagship.

Of these, we'd shy away from the quattro because it's an oddity (unless the extra traction 4WD brings is a must), and the S4 because BMW's M3 has a similar price tag, but is much better.

All have an electric hood, air-conditioning, climate control, four airbags and stability control. The S4 also has a leather-trimmed cabin.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Average reliability and repair costs - watch for suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

There's no reason why it should. They're expensive to buy, but lose value slowly, which keeps whole-life costs down. Servicing costs are as for other A4s, and middling for a compact executive car. Using a reputable Audi specialist rather than a main dealer slices a third off labour rates.

Spares are expensive and Audis aren't as reliable as you might expect, so set aside a sizeable budget once the car is a few years old.

Insurance is no dearer than it is for an A4 saloon. The 1.8T, 2.0T FSi and 2.0 diesel fall within group 15, the 3.0 diesel and 3.2 petrol are group 17 and the S4 is group 20.

The 2.0 TDi is that rare thing, a soft-top that promises up to 44mpg, and the 3.0 TDi manages up to 35mpg. Of the petrols, the 1.8T and 2.0T FSi should return up to 33mpg, while the 3.2 posts 25mpg and the S4 20mpg.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Strong retail interest all year round but preference is for petrol over diesel

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The hood looks to be very tough, but check it's perfect before you buy, because a replacement costs well into four figures.

Faults in the A4's cooling system and electrical malfunctions are among the car's commonest problems, according to the What Car? Reliability Index.

Air-con systems are vulnerable, too, so check that it blows cold. The 1.8 turbo petrol has had a history of ignition coil failure, leading to poor starting and misfires, but by now most will have had replacements that, touch wood, are pretty reliable. All four must be changed at once, mind, otherwise problems reoccur.

Check also that cabin trim is complete and undamaged, because even smallish repairs can cost several hundred pounds.

Despite its quality image, Audi is placed a fair way down the index's make-by-make ranking. That said, the A4's above-average placing in JD Power surveys shows that owners generally like what they drive.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Average reliability and repair costs - watch for suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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