Refreshed and ready for summer 2006 open-top motoring, the new Audi A4 Cabriolet range and its flagship, the new S4 quattro Cabriolet, open for order later this month, and an enhanced specification ensures that greater desirability is more than merely skin deep in this new generation. Pricing for the new S4 quattro Cabriolet has just been confirmed at £42,980 OTR, while the A4 Cabriolet range runs from £25,730 OTR to £32,735 OTR. First UK deliveries will begin in March 2006.

In common with the outgoing model, the new A4 Cabriolet is available as a standard model or with an optional Sport or S line specification. Standard equipment for all A4 Cabriolet models includes 16-inch 7-arm alloy wheels, electric operation for the roof, windows and mirrors, electronic climate control, a Concert II radio with front loading single CD player and a four-spoke leather-rimmed multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift controls (where applicable).

All six-cylinder petrol and TDI A4 Cabriolet models go a step further with an especially comprehensive standard equipment list that now includes a six-CD autochanger and the latest generation Audi CD satellite navigation technology built into a Driver’s Information System with colour screen.

At an extra cost of £750, the Sport upgrade is available for all models (except the S4 quattro). It replaces the standard car’s 16-inch alloy wheels with 17-inch Parallel Twin Spoke wheels and wider tyres, and adds front sports seats with electric lumbar support and a three-spoke leather-rimmed sports steering wheel with paddle shift controls (where applicable).

The even more overtly sporting S line specification, costing an additional £2,400, is more comprehensive than before, supplementing the original A4 Cabriolet S line’s part-leather upholstery with full Black Pearl Nappa leather. S line equipment also includes 18-inch 5-arm alloy wheels, S line sports suspension, front sports seats with electric lumbar adjustment, a 3-spoke leather-rimmed multifunction S line steering wheel, matt silver aluminium fascia inlays and S line exterior badging.

A new departure for the latest generation A4 Cabriolet S line models is an exclusive optional S line exterior look achieved by a unique S line radiator grille design, a remodelled front bumper and a special S line diffuser within the rear bumper. All A4 Cabriolet versions can be ordered with the £2,400 S line specification, to which this exterior upgrade can be added for a £750 premium.

S4 quattro models naturally feature the ultimate Cabriolet specification, including 18-inch Avus III alloy wheels, xenon head lamps, CD satellite navigation, fully electrically adjustable front sports seats with Alcantara and Pearl Nappa leather combination upholstery, polished aluminium door mirrors and carbon fibre fascia inlays.

Styling enhancements and the incorporation of the single frame front grille that symbolises the new Audi family look bring the new A4 Cabriolet into line with its fixed roof relatives, and under the surface a range of advanced new engines offer even greater power and responsiveness. Four engines are new to the A4 Cabriolet – the acclaimed four-cylinder turbo petrol 2.0 T FSI with 200PS, the super-refined 3.2 V6 FSI with 255PS, the 2.0-litre TDI with 140PS and the exceptional 3.0 V6 TDI, now upgraded from 204PS to 233PS. The proven 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol with 163PS also features in the initial line-up.

A compact 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine is reserved for the S4 quattro Cabriolet, boasting 344PS at 7,000 rpm and peak torque of 410Nm at 3500 rpm, and giving truly exhilarating performance. 0-62mph in the six-speed manual transmission version is covered in just 5.9 seconds, and the six-speed tiptronic (automatic transmission optional at £1,400) runs close at 6.2 seconds. Both versions can, where permissible, reach an electronically governed maximum speed of 155mph.

Extensive modifications have also been made to the foundations of the latest generation A4 Cabriolet. Its four-link front and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension has adopted new elements such as shock absorbers, mountings, trapezoidal links and track rods from the new A6 and the S4 quattro, and it also benefits from revisions to spring, shock absorber and steering settings. The end result is even more polished road manners combined with keener responses that complement the new A4 Cabriolet’s sharper performance.