In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a huge Audi fan.
Some Most consider this a huge flaw. But the company has emerged from fringe technology fighting to compete with the established giants in the 1980s to be the standard for interiors and, even in some cases, performance in a daily driver. And as a result, they’ve become incredibly popular. For some reason I can’t fully identify, as they’ve become more popular I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with the brand. They all look broadly similar, they all are way too complicated, and they all are way out of my price range.
But once in a while one pops up that grabs my attention. I live by a port that delivers new Audis and Volkswagens, and ride my bike by the long rows of oh-so-boring white, grey, silver, silver-grey, off-white, black, black-grey, grey-black, and charcoal SUVs that pile into this country. But last year I caught sight of a green RS5. I never stop to look at these cars, but I stopped to look at that one. It was damn impressive, and I internally applauded the buyer who sat down and refused to buy a black car. On top of that, they refused to put black wheels on it, too.
Lo and behold, I found its four-door twin this week:
Audi’s decision to launch a convertible S4 was interesting to me for a few reasons. First, the concept of a really fast 4-seat convertible is sort of odd to me; I can understand why a roadster would have its appeal, but even then really fast ones are sort of odd. It’s just not very pleasant getting buffeted by the wind at 130 m.p.h. and chopping the roof off tends to make the offending car all bendy. In order to combat that, manufacturers add support and strengthening in the floor – but that makes the car heavier and not handle as well. So, your very fast coupe – or in the case of the S4, sedan – is now a slower, more-ill handling car that musses your hair. On top of that, the idea of Audi’s strength – all wheel drive and adverse conditions – failed to mesh with the intention of most convertibles – sun and fair weather. But the S4 cabriolet pointed towards a future in the S range: Audi’s crack unit quattro GmbH produced them, because they were the only 2-door variant of the S4 at that time. Of course, more recently we’ve seen the introduction of the coupe version of the B chassis, the “A5” and accompanying S5 – but first, Audi went all high performance and made a RS variant of the B7 A4. Great! Then they offered it as a ultra-exclusive, $85,000 2-door, 4 seat convertible. Huh? I mean, the concept of paying 85 large for a trumped up Audi A4 is staggering in and of itself, but then why do it? You already had a S4 convertible. You were about to introduce a new lineup of the “5” series, along with convertibles there – including the replacements for the RS4 – the RS5 coupe and cabriolet. So why do it? Because people with a lot of money bought them, that’s why. And after a staggeringly short amount of time with them, they move on: