From £23,860
A bit more show, no more go

Our Verdict

Audi A4

The Audi A4 is an improvement over the previous version, but isn't good enough to topple the BMW 3 Series

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22 March 2005

Mirrored shop windows are surprisingly rare around my way. I only know that because I’ve spent the past few days smooching around in an Audi A4 Cabrio.

Glamour’s a rare commodity in cars without stratospheric price tags, but the chop-top A4’s got it in spades. It looks inherently right, it feels inherently right. You just can’t stop admiring it – hence my scouring the high street for a quick vanity fix.

What you’d never do is be able to get your fix from driving the A4. Yes it’s admirably flex-free, won’t get you into trouble and, in every incarnation save the go-faster S4, it’s refined as well. But the BMW 3-series has still got the sharp-driving soft-top market cornered.

However, this S-line model aims to put some of that right. For an extra £1950 fitted to this 3.0-litre model, and virtually all the others, you can spice things up a bit with an S-line pack. All the extras are designed to give you a better time, or make you feel that you’re having one. So it gets special 18-inch alloys, sports suspension (lowered), sports seats, liberal splashings of brushed aluminium in the cabin and other S-line-specific addenda.

Those tyre and suspension changes have an entirely predictable effect. The S-line serves up more grip than the regular model and resists listing to the side far better. Yet, and it’s not difficult to work out what’s coming next, the ride is far busier as well. In other words, the usual Audi foible when bigger wheels and tyres are fitted.

In lots of ways, however, this car plays to Audi’s strengths more than others models in the line-up. The S-line package enhances already impressive aesthetics and lifts what is an already great cabin in which to soak up the sun.

Is the S-line package worth the money? Probably. So long as you accept that it’s only the looks that really get improved. Good luck looking for those mirrored windows.

Chas Hallett

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