With better styling and more space inside we find out just how much the second-generation A3 Cabriolet has improved writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? The previous A3 Cabriolet was based on the A3 Hatchback but underpinning this model is the A3 Saloon.
Who is it aimed at? This two door drop top is one of the most stylish compact convertibles around, with a classic-looking soft-top roof it is the one to choose for timeless elegance.
Styling? The looks are now sharper and more chiselled than before and it really benefits the overall appeal. The masculine tweaking enhances the classic proportions and strong lines create a striking profile.
Under the Bonnet? The engine fitted to our test car was the 2.0-litre TDI engine, a powerful but silky smooth engine that has plenty of oomph thanks to quiet surges of power.
What about inside? As expected from Audi the interior is beautifully uncluttered and of high quality throughout. There is also a surprising amount of space inside; front passengers can lounge in comfort and while folding roofs always reduce space and rear seat space, two children will be comfy enough in the back and two adult for a short spin. Visibility is not great but it can be improved with the flick of a switch by unfolding the roof! In just under 18 seconds it folds and unfolds and you can do it at speeds of up to 50kph so it is quick enough to avoid those unexpected downpours.
On the Road? The A3 Cabriolet drives so nice you will never want to get out of it. Push it into a corner and it is razor sharp, and at high speed, it’s incredibly stable. The steering is accurate with really good feedback and it grips regardless of the surface. With the roof down it is equally as good.
And Safety? Cabriolets always require a little extra assistance in terms of safety and all models are fitted with an active rollover protection system consisting of two spring-loaded plates that are recessed into the body protects occupants in case of a rollover accident.
Options? As with the rest of the A3 family, the A3 Cabriolet is available with a choice of Entry, SE, or S line specification. Standard equipment at entry level includes the fully automatic hood, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, the MMI radio incorporating a power folding screen, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, a Bluetooth interface and a driver’s information display with efficiency mode.
Economy? This powerful of engine returns a very impressive 4.6 litres per 100 or 61mpg and with CO2 emissions of 120g/km it is also cheap to tax.
Verdict? The days of sacrificing style for economy and performance are long gone. The A3 Cabriolet is at once luxurious, economical and fast. With a starting price of €35,000 it is not cheap but it is exquisitely executed and easily one of the nicest cars we have driven this year.
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish good looks; Simple to use roof mechanism;
Why you won’t? At the Paris motor show BMW will unveil its 2 Series Cabrio
Mazda MX-5 2.0i – €32,995
Mini Cooper S Convertible – €31,680
A3 Cabriolet 2.0TDI 150HP S-Tronic SE
Engine: 1,968cc, 150bhp, 340NM @1750-3000rpm
Max speed: 224km/h
0-100 kph: 8.8 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 120 g/km (Band A4 – €200 per annum)
Model price range: starting price €36,710 (Test Car – €53,710)*
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Transmission: S-Tronic (Automatic, 7 Speed)
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.6 l/100km (61 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 320 litres (678)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
*Options of €11,921
5th September, 2014