First launched in 1991 the Audi cabriolet was based on the old B3 platform from the 1986 Audi 80. The following B4 platform formed the basis for the facelifted Audi 80 in 1992, and then the B5 platform underpinned the new Audi A4 in 1994. All through this the Cabriolet soldiered on using the B3 platform.
The reason behind this was cost -it was more expensive to engineer a convertible model and it sells in smaller numbers, so Audi chose to stick with the well-engineered B3 Cabriolet platform until production ended in 2000. Offered with range of engines over the 9 year production run, from 1.8 to 2 litre 4 cylinders, a short-lived 2.3 litre 5 cylinder, and finally two V6s of 2.6 litre and 2.8 litres the Cabriolet was renowned for its superior build quality.
Subsequently the fully galvanised body means that the dreaded paint bubbles are rarely seen on well cared for examples like this.
Fewer than 30 on the road, according to 'How Many Left'
The top of the range 2.8 litre Cabriolet offered here has had one owner, for the last 24 years although the V5c shows two.
Purchased from Walter Scotts Motors of Sloane Square it was first registered January 1998 to Quadrangle Group Holdings for use by their MD. In 2004 ownership was transferred from the company to the MD privately, hence he became the second owner as well as the first! There is a copy of a handwritten letter to the DVLA explain this on file.
At that time he had driven the Audi 32,896 miles according to the MoT certificate on file. By 2018 the mileage had risen to just 43,982 when it appears it became a second car, being used sparingly. Now it is offered with only 44,485 miles on the clock and is in exceptionally good condition for its age.
It is a relatively rare example with the top of the range 2.8 litre V6 engine, pushing 174bhp through its 5 speed manual gearbox as most had the 4 speed automatic.
Having been in the hands of just two owners (one of which owned the vehicle for 24 years), nothing has been lost from the history folder. It starts with the original sales order from Walters where we note that that an earlier Audi 2.6 cabriolet was given part exchange.
There is a full history of MoTs that document the mileage from 2001 at 14,388 up to the current MoT at 44,007 miles that is valid until August 2022. The owner's wallet is present with all the books.
The interior is in great condition, with only light wear commensurate with its age. The Aqua Blue leather has minor creasing but no rips or tears, and to our eyes looks just “worn in”. The blue carpets have been protected by black woollen mats that are a little threadbare but have done their job well.
There are a few “dimples” in the leather near the rear seat armrests, and on the driver’s side rear seat where it looks like something heavy may have been stored in the car at some stage, but these are not particularly noticeable. Other than that the interior is lovely, and in far better condition than many cars half its age. In the boot there is the optional 6 CD Autochanger along with the spare wheel, jack and toolkit.
There are no marks or stains on the boot carpet, and only minor scratches on the plastic sill. The blue mohair roof operates well, fitting snugly when raised, and stowing beneath the cover neatly when lowered. Also included is the drop in wind deflector that slots in behind the front seats. All four electric windows are functioning correctly as well.
The Azure Blue exterior paint is in similar condition to the interior; it is very good. There is the odd mark and chip here and there, but far fewer than there should be for its age. We reckon it wasn’t used for supermarket runs, and the MDs parking space must have been quite generous as there are no dings or dents on the flanks.
There are very minor bumper scratches on all four corners that are only noticeable on close inspection. Apart from those minor points and exterior is a good as one could hope on an unrestored 26 year old car. All four 17” ten spoke alloy wheels are devoid of curb rash, three of them having Pirelli P6000 tyres that are nearly new, and one Kumho Esta which is equally fresh.
Under the bonnet the Audi is quite outstanding. It would be easy to believe it was only 18 months old; all the plastics are like new, and there is no evidence of surface corrosion on the engine bay or the slam panel. All the hoses, pipes and wiring look exactly as they should, and there is no evidence of non-factory parts that we could see.
We don’t think there can be many as tidy as this left outside the Audi factory museum! Starting easily and driving nicely when we were present, it’s easy to understand where Audi’s reputation for build quality came from. Now freshly serviced with a new cambelt and a stamp in the service book.
Yes, we know that Lady Diana drove one of these, but hers was a mere 2.3 litre 1994 A4 model, so nowhere near as flash as this one! With unrivalled build quality from the era when German cars were regarded as the best engineered you could buy, this Cabriolet has plenty to get excited about.
It offers low miles, good history, top of the range engine with a slick manual 5 speed box, and exceptional condition for its age. We think it will prove to be exceptional value for money.
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1998 Audi 2.8 V6 Cabriolet
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