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Future models - Audi - A4 - S4 cabriolet

First look: S treatment for Audi A4 Cabrio

Soft-top sizzler: S4 cabrio betters M3 convertible output by 1kW in a battle of the rag-topped performance cars.

Audi goes M3 convertible hunting with a new S4 Cabriolet

Audi logo3 Sep 2003

AUDI has fired the latest shot in its battle to rival BMW’s performance car domination by releasing pictures of the first ever S4 Cabriolet before its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show, starting September 9.

A direct rival for BMW’s benchmark-setting M3 convertible, the S4 four-seater cabrio produces exactly 1kW more peak power than the rag-topped M3, with 253kW and 410Nm on tap from its 4.2-litre V8.

Combined with a six-speed Tiptronic transmission, the open-topped S4 is said to be good for 0-100km/h sprints in 5.9 seconds – just four-tenths slower than the S4 sedan due on sale here in the first quarter of 2004.

S4 Cabriolet joins the S4 sedan and wagon already on sale in Europe, but Audi is still debating if it will come to Australia. If it did, it would most likely go on sale in 2004.

BMW’s M3 convertible, available in both six-speed manual and six-speed sequential manual guise at $158,000, also claims 5.5-second 0-100km/h acceleration.

Using the new A4 Cabriolet as its basis, Audi’s first ever S4 Cabriolet employs permanent quattro all-wheel drive, all-alloy suspension and all the A4 Cabriolet’s standard fare.

• Audi has also advised it will reveal two new A8 engine variants at Frankfurt, along with two more engines for the new A3.

Joining the 3.7 and 4.2-litre V8-powered cars in the current A8 range in Europe will be two 3.0-litre V6 engines: a petrol version producing 165kW in conjunction with a Multitronic CVT and a common-rail turbo-diesel V6 offering 175kW and a big 450Nm of torque with six-speed Tiptronic transmission.

Audi Australia is currently investigating the viability of introducing the latter as a new entry level A8 variant.

A 188kW 3.2-litre V6-powered A3 will also debut in Frankfurt, complete with Audi’s innovative Direct Shift Gearbox as a new range-topper. At the other end of the A3 scale will be the 1.6 FSI, powered by an 86kW direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine.

• A mid-engined supercar employing a 445kW version of the Lamborghini Gallardo's V10 engine is tipped to steal the Audi limelight in Frankfurt.

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