Car of the Week - October 14, 2002

2003 Audi A4 Cabriolet

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It's been away for a few years, but now it's back, stronger and smoother than ever. Stronger due to a mere 112-percent increase in structural rigidity. No shakes, rattles, or rolls over whatever kind of road you're cruising over. The A4 we tested had the 3.0L/220-hp five-valve V-6 with Multitronic CVT. As we glided along a stretch of highway, a glance at the speedometer showed 80mph with the tach at 2200rpm. The engine was purring, a cheetah at cruising speed, ready to make a killer charge at any instant.

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With the top up, the sound you don't hear is the usual noise - the triple layered, heated glass mirrored top is an elegant muffler, and in 24 seconds flip-folds itself away fully automaticaly - no latching. There is good legroom for the folks in the rear seat and the 11.2-cubic-foot trunk has a pass-through for skiis, clubs, or rods. The most important option is a 225-watt Bose sound system with high-efficiency Bose Nd woofer, subwoofers and front center speaker. Delicious sounds. The aesthetics are a subtle blend of understated exterior lines and an subdued interior TT ovals.

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The A4's ride is both solid and supple. The fully independent four-link front and trapezoidal-link rear suspension and revised steering components are thoroughly addicting. We wouldn't be surprised if this beutiful beast isn't required to carry a Surgeon General's warning - because habitual use of the 2003 A4 Cabriolet could cause a permanent silly looking grin on your face.
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- Mark & Katie Fulmer

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