1996 Audi Cabriolet

  • 1996 Audi Cabriolet Base Convertible

    Base Convertible

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.8L V6
    • MSRP
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1996 Audi Cabriolet Review

A luxury convertible that falls behind its competition.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1996 Audi Cabriolet is the convertible-version of the Audi 90 coupe. It began production in 1993, and is sold in very small quantities in the United States automotive market.

The reason for this lack of demand is quite clear: since its introduction, the Audi Cabriolet has struggled to find a place for itself in the U.S. market, where competing models have only increased in popularity. This is due to the fact that competing cars have more character than the Audi Cabriolet, and tend to be more fun to drive.

The Range

Body Styles: two-door convertible
Engines: 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Audi Cabriolet

What's New

The 1996 Audi Cabriolet has been modified for better acceleration. Other changes in this model year include revised alloy wheels, a new exterior color option, and a new radio. This year also marks the end of the aging 90 sedans, and the beginning of the new A4 line. Surprisingly, Audi decided to continue selling the Cabriolet with the same, old-fashioned 90 chassis.


Since the 1996 Audi Cabriolet has the same chassis as the now-discontinued Audi 90 sedan, both cars look almost identical. This is a major issue for buyers, who heavily criticize the sedan’s old and outdated design.

Although solidly built, the 1996 Audi Cabriolet looks lackluster on the outside when compared to its sleek, European competitors. The car has halogen headlights and 5 mph bumpers with matching body color, a headlamp washer system, body-colored flush door handles, right convex, and outside mirrors.

The front and back bumpers have integrated fog lights, and the soft top can be lowered and brought back up with a power-top boost system.


The dashboard and instrumentation on the 1996 Audi Cabriolet are strictly businesslike. The climate controls and audio controls are clear and accessible, and the large tachometers and speedometers are easy to read. The interior lacks vibrancy, although it does give an air of luxury and quality.

The seats are firm and supportive, and the front seats have height-adjustment settings for shoulder belts and lower cushions. Although the wheelbase of the car is significantly longer than the previous generation’s, the interior dimensions remain virtually unchanged. Nevertheless, the trunk does offer more space, increasing from ten to fourteen cubic feet.

The front seats offer generous headroom, but legroom is seriously limited. The rear bench is strictly reserved for children, and even then it can be a little cramped. Overall, the Cabriolet has a mediocre interior cabin, which is quite a problem considering its high price tag.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Audi Cabriolet is fitted with a 2.8-liter, V-6 engine that delivers 172 horsepower (hp) and 184 lb-ft of torque. It is mated with a four-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual transmission available.

The Audi 90 was zippy and smooth with the original manual gearbox, but the 1996 Audi Cabriolet is sluggish and weak when paired with the four-speed automatic. Although the engine is quiet and smooth, it fails to deliver the quick power bursts necessary for driving around the city and on the highway. The automatic transmission also tends to shift abruptly at times.

On rough roads, the tire and suspension get a little too noisy, and the ride tends to be too firm on city roads. Although small bumps and tar strips are noticeable, the larger obstacles are actually absorbed well by the suspension. The convertible handles steadily, even around tight corners. However, the excessive body flex and shake on rough roads can make people question the heavy price tag of the car.


There are no crash test results on the 1996 Audi Cabriolet. However, it does come with child-safety rear lock doors, rear outboard three-point seat belts, automatic self-tensioning front seat belts, driver and front passenger airbag restraints, and front three-point seat belts with height-adjustment settings.

EPA Fuel Economy

Audi Cabriolet: 19/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Stable steering and handling
  • Good fuel economy

You Won't Like

  • Poor acceleration
  • Lack of cabin space
  • Unrefined performance

Sum Up

A luxury convertible that falls behind its competition.

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