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Audi A4 Cabriolet

Date: 28 August 2006

Category: Convertible
Prices: £21,234-£42,980
Key rival: BMW 3-series

Even the coldest, iciest mornings won't prevent lucky user-choosers dropping the hood, cranking up the hot air and dialling the seat heaters to meltdown in the revised A4 Cabrio.

Warm as cooked bread and basking in the healthy feel-good factor, the powerful smooth diesel 233PS 3.0 V6 mated to a six-speed automatic will ensure the Teutonic drop-top wafts drivers to work with style and grace.

Receiving the same facial revisions as the tin-top A4 range, the Cabrio obtains some much needed tweaking in the suspension and steering department, making it a noticeably better drive when the road gets all curvy.

The ride is also generally improved, only struggling at low speeds to smother out the odd jiggle and jar over corrugated surfaces.

Despite the firm-ish ride, the A4 impressed with fine structural rigidity, shrugging off shakes and creaks from the body.

Overall, the Audi would make the perfect tool to maintain an employees loyalty, but it comes at a high cost for business users. The 3.0 TDI comes with standard all-wheel drive, ideal for deploying all that torque in icy or damp conditions, but blunting fuel economy to a combined of 33.2mpg.

Worse still, the 3.0-litre slots into a sobering 35% BIK and that's before considering the lease rate of £680 a month. A more sensible proposition would be the 2.0 TDI at a 21% BIK and ditching the thumping performance. Problem is, we suspect you'd be ignoring the star car in the Cabriolet range.