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A hardtop for an A4 (B7) Cabriolet?

Discussion in 'Audi S4/A4/A4 Cab (B7 Chassis)' started by Nam1, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Nam1
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    Nam1 New Member

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    [Apr 29, 2012]
    This unrelenting wet weather we've been having got me thinking (admittedly doesn't happen very often). Is it possible to get a hardtop for and Audi A4 cab. (similar to the older BMW 3 series (E36 & E46) conv. or Z3 / Z4 and even Mazda MX5s - if I'm not mistaken)? Has anyone come across any aftermarket hardtops for A4s, if so are they expensive?

    Saw some BMW one's on Ebay: BMW E36 HARD TOP GLOSS-BLACK 3 SERIES CONVERTIBLE on eBay!

    Also just wanted to say, joined the forum recently, lots of good topics / information, keep up the good work all.
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  3. A4 3.2 cab
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    A4 3.2 cab New Member

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    [Apr 29, 2012]
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
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  4. jjmurphy21187
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    jjmurphy21187 Tiptronic

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    [Apr 30, 2012]
    That first link looks great, was that a concept or an expensive after-market conversion? Looks like you lose all of your boot judging by how the rear panel opens... Still not sure why the new A5's don't have a hard-top convertible like the 3-series?

    Having said all that, I've never noticed it being any colder or any noticable increase in road-noise driving a cab compared to a hard-top? As long as your soft-top isn't leaking are there actually any advantages to a hard-top?
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  5. Nam1
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    Nam1 New Member

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    [Apr 30, 2012]
    Thanks guys for the response, not sure whether I like either style. Still I'm surprised someone has not seen the business potential, seen number of other vehicles with aftermarket hardtops.

    I suppose the only advantage is maintenance and security - idiots slashing the hood.

    Interesting that Audi never went down the road of a hardtop for the A5. Read somewhere that they weren't convinced about the merits and reliability of the new conv. hardtops. Having said that I've read number of posts on here about issues with their soft-tops (keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I don't fall victim to these problems).
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  6. jjmurphy21187
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    jjmurphy21187 Tiptronic

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    [Apr 30, 2012]
    I think motorised soft-tops will always be prone to faults due to the high number of moving parts. Also all the mechanism is exposed to -10 - +40degC (UK climate) and all weather conditions so it's almost inevitable.

    I read somewhere that the 3-series cabriolet (with the sexy glass roof) had to be manufactured to within a tollerance of 0.5mm to ensure that it folded correctly... that kind of precison takes time, and money, which presumable Audi couldn't justify spending?

    Having seen one of the BMW's new roofs in action though (have a search on youtube), it does look bloody cool :)
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  7. JasonS
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    JasonS Member

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    [May 1, 2012]
    I think one of the main reasons that Audi stick with a fabric roof is that people like to show off that they have a convertible, even though it's not often the best weather for one.
    I think I read somewhere that there are more convertibles sold in the UK than any other country in Europe.

    I had a Megane CC for a couple of years and some people were surprised when I showed up when the roof was off.. "I didn't know it was a convertible" they would say..

    Other reasons are:

    A folding glass roof is heavy, the car needs heavier counterweights at the back.
    It takes up more room when folded (depending how many sections it folds into).
    It's more prone to leaking. - My Megane roof always leaked, despite adjusting the windows and seals..
    They can look a bit daft - the Megane roof folds in half, so the boot had to be long to fit it in, which just spoils the proportions of the car.

    I had an Audi 80 Cabriolet for several years, I loved it and was keen to get a hardtop for it, but was a bit worried that the fabric roof would suffer being folded up for the winter..
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  8. jjmurphy21187
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    jjmurphy21187 Tiptronic

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    [May 1, 2012]
    Surprised that more people in the UK buy convertibles than anywhere else in eurpoe considering we have some of the coldest summers, but since owning one I've noticed an awful lot of soft-tops on the road...

    I'd agree with not wanting to fold up the roof all winter, similar to putting a freshly-ironed shirt into a box for 6 months and expecting it to still have no creases. They're designed to be wet, they are waterproof (providing you clean them properly), and if you live in a really bad neighbourhood owning a cab probably isn't the best idea in the first place.

    I don't know if comparing Renault to Audi/BMW in any respect is a fair comparison, but a folded/stretched piece of fabric will always be... a SINGLE piece of fabric. Be interesting to see how the new roofs are designed/tensioned compared to the fabric ones.
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  9. arnoldlog
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    arnoldlog Member

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    [May 1, 2012]
    I think it's made of 3 pieces of fabric, the piece in the middle being like a heavy woven plasitc.
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  10. jjmurphy21187
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    jjmurphy21187 Tiptronic

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    [May 1, 2012]
    Correct, 2 sides and a middle section. As they're swen together however, they never come apart (unless someone takes them apart), so there cannot be leaks where rubber seals in the roof are opened/closed when operating the roof.
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  11. Nam1
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    Nam1 New Member

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    [May 1, 2012]
    This explains why they feel quite well insulated - both sound and heat. I've noticed how well it retains heat. I take the point about not having a conv. if you live in a certain type of neighbourhood, but I do find I'm a bit more cautious about where I park the thing. with my previous car (Zafira) this never seemed to be a consideration.

    Can I ask what product you use to treat / protect the hood. I tried Autglym a few months ago and can't I've noticed much difference. Water only tends to bead on the side of the hood. The top looks as if it is soaked, but doesn't feel too wet to the touch.
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  12. jjmurphy21187
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    jjmurphy21187 Tiptronic

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    [May 1, 2012]
    When I washed and treated mine I used autoglym too, got the kit for about £18 and just followed the instructions. Hovered, dampened, framed, scrubbed gerry, then rinsed, and rinsed and rinsed! Patted dry and applied the servant whilst still damp.

    Used about half the kit to do the hood once. Water runs off like a ducks back now, other than in heavy rain. It can only do so much to help waterproof the fabric I guess. Good way to test is a couple of days after you've done it (or longer, gives it a chance to soak in), spray a hose over the top and the water should just run off freely.

    I posted a guide on how I did it a while ago, I'll find the link and post it if it might be of some help?
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  13. bez101
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    bez101 Yorkshire & Humber Rep. Regional Rep VCDS Map User

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    [May 1, 2012]
    iv only ever seen 1 custom made hardtop for the a4
    was on the bay ages ago and it did look very good
    went for 1300 quid
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  14. arnoldlog
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    arnoldlog Member

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    [May 1, 2012]
    I use 303 cleaner and protector, I find it better than auto glym
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  15. Nam1
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    Nam1 New Member

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    [May 1, 2012]
    That would be great. Thanks. I thought I followed the instructions, maybe didn't clean the hood as much as you've described. Only hoovered & cleaned once using the autoglym shampoo that came as part of the kit. I've still got some autogylm left so I'll try what you've suggested, if we get a break from this rain.

    I note the reference to 303. I also saw another post where 303 was recommended and one with gtechniq - looking at their video on youtube it looks like a really impressive product.

    Also would have been nice to see some pictures of this custom top, although 1300 quid seems steep when you consider the BMW and TT one's are selling for less than half that. I suppose its the novelty value.
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  16. jjmurphy21187
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    jjmurphy21187 Tiptronic

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    [May 1, 2012]
    http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/audi-s...-a4-cab-roof-advice-glovebox.html#post1536921

    Should only need to clean it once... although I did work from one side to the other with the 'aggetator', then back again to be thorough? Using the treatment spray after washing is essential as washing will have removed any remaining protection... They could well be better products out there, but autogylm did the job for me!

    The aftermarket hard-top for the A4 doesn't work with the car, primariliy due to the over-sized rear window. Not worth the time/effort, money of loss of asthetics IMO
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