Used 1998 Audi Cabriolet Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

Based on the ancient 80/90 platform from the late '80s, the Cabriolet soldiers on with minimal change. A new steering wheel design is standard, and the Audi logo disappears from the side moldings.

Vehicle overview

Audi has been selling the Cabriolet for several years now, with little success. A high price, a limp powertrain and an aging design (based on the old 90 Coupe) have steered buyers to BMW, Saab and Ford showrooms in search of a top-down fix. This year, Audi makes no attempt to revive interest in the Cabriolet. Virtually nothing is new for 1998.

Audi's 172-horsepower 2.8-liter V6, mated to an automatic transmission and hauling around nearly as much weight as the A6 wagon, feels anemic in this application. A manual gearbox would improve matters, but is not available at any cost.

It's no surprise that Audi sells few copies of the Cabriolet in the United States, considering that the BMW 3-Series and Saab 900 convertibles are priced in the Cabriolet's range and are more viscerally satisfying automobiles. Buyers looking for both luxury and speed can get a loaded Mustang GT convertible and save a few grand, or pop for a similarly-priced Cobra variant. The BMW, Ford and Saab convertibles have more character than the Audi, and are more fun to drive. Audi needs to go back to the drawing board on this one, and we doubt that the upcoming TT roadster is the answer, unless the question is, "What 20th century automobile looked the most like Miss Piggy?"

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.