Sports and Classic Cars

So, you want a Fast, Four-Seat Convertible? CLK55, M3 or RS4?

The Audi RS4 is a staple of the performance car world, lauded as one of the best fast saloons of all time. With four wheel drive, a 4.2 litre V8 engine and that distinctive Audi handling, there’s a lot to love about this swift German.

EVO magazine pitted this car against the BMW E46 M3 and Mercedes-Benz CLK55, in an article you can read here… But don’t bother, we’ll break it down for you in 2020 terms.

If you want a fast, four seat convertible, here’s the skinny…

They all costs near as damnit £50,000 when new, have four seats, powerful engines and a soft roof. The Mercedes-Benz CLK55 offers an absolute stunner of an engine but they didn’t make many, and it’s hard to find a really good one. If it hasn’t been maintained perfectly, if something stinks or if the paperwork isn’t spot on, don’t bother. Same goes for the M3, it’s a great car, but there are some lemons around… Plus every E46 rusts, and the ones that haven’t rusted yet will do soon. Buy right, or regret it.

With the RS4, CLK55 and E46 M3, bad ones are closer to £10,000 and good ones are closer to £20,000. It’s really that simple.

The BMW probably has the nod on maintenance costs, but then again it’s 2 cylinders light of the Audi and Mercedes. You’ll enjoy the thrill or rear-wheel drive but they are numerous so values are on a slower upward curve than the RS4 and CLK55. The Mercedes is a true supercar crusher, but it’s also a Mercedes – more cruising than cornering. The Audi is four-wheel-drive, and is probably going to cause you less mechanical misery. The Benz will be reliable but the complex electronics are the achilles heel. There we go, consumer advice for 2020.

So there we have it, the Audi RS4 is the most fun four people can have with the roof down… The only problem is convincing motoring journalists that life is better when you’re topless.

As with all four-seat soft tops, the Audi RS4 Convertible got a rough ride with the UK motoring press.

It’s important to remember that most journalists spend too long playing Gran Turismo, treating motoring as if it’s a gigantic game of Top Trumps and watching Nurburgring Fast Lap (or crash) videos. There is more to life than cornering, more to life than handling and generally speaking, no one cares about the Nurburgring. Rant over, a fast convertible is just the ticket for a bright day when they’re four to transport. Note to all motoring journalists… Stop it. Convertibles are cool, especially when they’re as accomplished as this one.