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Audi RS4 Cabriolet

Not a lot gets our Lesley out of bed on a Sunday – except an RS4 Cabriolet!

  • The mighty V8-powered RS4 Cabriolet is a great weekend companion. Its four-seater cabin is a huge selling point, but it can’t quite live up to the thrilling Boxster.

There aren’t many things that will tempt me to get me up early on a Sunday morning, but the sight of an Audi RS4 Cabriolet on the driveway is enough to have me setting the alarm clock!

I love any form of open-air motoring, and the Audi’s combination of V8 power and awesome handling in a convertible package is irresistible.So, while David and Owen spent some time agonising over their decisions, I chose my weekend wheels in a split-second.

Part of the appeal is that, in addition to its open-top thrills, the RS4 delivers an element of practicality. I don’t have to fly solo in the Audi. There’s room inside for four adults, so friends can come along for the ride, too.

On our spectacular 500-mile round trip, I can give the RS4 the workout it deserves. So with the roof down, the wind deflector firmly in place and my expectations flying high, the key is turned, igniting the heavenly V8 soundtrack.

On the motorway, the cabin is snug and free from significant buffeting, while the sports seats are supportive and comfortable. The powerful heater even stops the cold weather from spoiling the occasion. Although it’s based on the old-shape A4, the RS4’s interior is well built and attractive, although not particularly exciting.

Keeping a steady 70mph motorway speed isn’t easy with the 414bhp 4.2-litre V8 engine straining at the leash. But then the Audi’s performance potential is just another part of the fun, and the miles of tarmac soon fall away.

It’s not long before I’m enjoying the stunning valley roads of mid-Wales, where the RS4 really begins to feel at home. Press the Sport button on the flat-bottomed steering wheel, and you know the Audi means business. Immediately, the side bolsters of the driver’s seat inflate, holding you in place like the safety bar on a rollercoaster.

The electrifying throttle response is also enhanced and the exhaust note takes on a harder edge. That leaves the four-door ready to tackle the twistiest roads, where its superb four-wheel-drive system shines. It offers outstanding grip and inspires a sense of security that is sadly lacking in David’s Focus. Only the most dedicated tail-happy drivers would choose the latest rear-wheel-drive M3 Convertible over the RS4.

When the acceleration is so brutal, it’s crucial that the brakes are as dependable as the handling. Stopping the Audi is easy, with a pedal that’s simple to modulate and the kind of bite that can shrug off speed quickly.

Slotting the accurate lever through the six-speed gearbox, it’s clear that the RS4 is one of the most exciting drop-tops in the world. But only on a perfect summer’s day can I forgive the Audi’s running costs. Once you’ve coughed up £60,000-plus to buy it, the car returns abysmal economy – 18mpg on our trip. So I’ll have to be content with dreaming about the RS4 Cabriolet while enjoying a lazy Sunday morning lie-in...

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Lesley Harris

Details

Price: £60,430
Model tested: Audi RS4 Cabriolet
Chart position: 2

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