You can’t blame manufacturers for lopping the roof off some of our favourite cars; sales of posh convertibles are now a key part of a manufacturers profit generating range. All this despite the fact that losing the fixed top can dramatically change the feel of a car, mainly for the worse.
Engine and performance
Take the B7 Audi RS4 Cabriolet. While it shares the same wonderful, 414bhp, 4.2-litre V8 engine as the saloon, in the Cabriolet this engine has an extra 195kg to lug around thanks to the extra strengthening needed once the metal roof has been ripped away.
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Not only does this dent the (still ample) performance, but it seems as if the extra bulk hasn’t helped stiffen the body too much anyway, as there’s still plenty of wobble to be had down a typical British B-road. Luckily the RS4 Cab is so perfectly assembled there are no squeaks or rattles to accompany this, but you expect better from an Audi these days.
The Cabriolet seems to have an even healthier appetite for super unleaded than the saloon, too, averaging around 15mpg in my hands (our long-term RS4 saloon manages around the 20mpg mark), and there’s yet another unwelcome side effect to the decapitation in that, with the roof up (which, let’s be honest, is how it will spend most of its time), less of the thrilling V8 growl makes its way into the cabin due to all the extra sound-deadening in the roof and rear deck.
The deeper you delve into the driving experience, the more disappointing it becomes. Fortunately there’s just enough of the original car left to save it from complete oblivion, but the four-door remains the only sensible choice.
|Engine||V8, 4163cc, 32v|
|Max power||414bhp @ 7800rpm|
|Max torque||317lb ft @ 5500rpm|
|Top speed||155mph (limited)|