Audi’s flirtation with chopped top mid-range sedans has always been an interesting one. Starting with the B4 series, Audi combined the front-drive 90 platform with parts of the Coupe platform to create the handsome and understated Cabriolet model. While not much of a performance machine, it was a good looking and reasonably sensible choice for a luxury 4-seat German convertible. It was not particularly sporty though; while Europe saw a range of engines, the U.S. received only front drive 4-speed automatic V6 models. The B4 model long outlived the rest of its siblings, soldiering on until 1998 when it was seemingly replaced by the TT model. The Roadster model wouldn’t be available until 2001, but the promise of an all-new convertible that was much sportier seemed logical. However, Audi returned to the 4-seat drop top market in 2003 with the A4 based Cabriolet model. Based initially on the B6 platform, it then seemed natural that Audi would finally offer a performance variant to compete against the popular M3 convertible; however, unlike the B3/B4 platform which had a Coupe model, there was no A4 based Coupe. To solve this problem, Audi’s skunkworks quattro GmbH undertook modifying the platform to create the 2006 S4 cabriolet.
Now, on the surface, this was a bit strange. Beyond the question of why you need a really fast convertible, you now had the question of why you needed an all-wheel drive convertible. But the Audi offered great looks, a stunning soundtrack and some trick interiors and flashy exterior colors to really help set the S4 apart. But many of the S4s were coupled with automatic transmissions; coupled with the chain problems the V8 heart is now known for, if you want a B7 cabriolet is it now smarter to consider the less flashy models?