"This compact cabriolet has no problems turning heads, but space is limited , both in the cabin and the boot."
The A3 Cabriolet is based on the hatchback model and boasts the same well-weighted steering and agile handling. Although the back seats may be a squeeze for adults, it does boast a relatively large boot and a luxurious interior. An impressive range of engines offer buyers a choice between economy and performance and in some cases, a mix of both. The range-topping 2.0-litre TFSI offers hot-hatch performance, but the 1.8-litre unit is just as impressive. The diesels are most efficient and the 2.0-litre TDI unit offers the best blend of power and economy.
As with most cabriolets, the A3 has lost some of the rigidity of its hatchback sibling, but it's still great fun to drive. Accurate steering and plenty of grip make the A3 Cabriolet easy to drive quickly and confidently. Buyers looking for hot-hatch performance can opt for the 197bhp 2.0-litre TFSI engine which allows acceleration from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. The most frugal engine in the line-up is the 1.6-litre TDI, which can feel sluggish but claims combined fuel economy of 66mpg.
Despite its fabric roof, the A3 Cabriolet is well insulated from wind and road noise on the move– even at motorway speeds. Paired with a comfortable ride, the A3 Cabriolet is a surprisingly good all-rounder, but large potholes will send a crash through the cabin where they wouldn't on the more rigid hatchback model. Almost all the engines offer excellent levels of refinement, but the diesel and turbocharged 1.2-litre TFSI engines are the noisiest, simply because they have to be worked hardest.
Interior quality is top-notch, with plenty of soft-touch materials dotted around the cabin and chunky, solid-feeling buttons and switches. The A3 has performed consistently well in reliability surveys and comes as standard with plenty of safety kit, including driver, passenger and side airbags.
Unless you're planning on using them to seat small children, the rear seats in the A3 Cabriolet are all but useless. On the plus side, the folding fabric roof isn't stored inside the boot, but on top of it. This is a feature seen on the VW Beetle convertible and the MINI Convertible, allowing maximum boot space, even with the roof down. It does mean the view out of the rear is slightly restricted though. The roof itself is the quickest in the class, folding down in just 9 seconds.
Value for money
Although it may carry a high price-tag, the desirable Audi badge means that it will hang on to its value well when you come to sell it. Standard equipment included isn't particularly generous but running costs will be low, particularly on the diesel engines.
Thanks to clever petrol engines and frugal diesel engines, you won't find any A3 Cabriolet that is particularly expensive to run. Cheapest of all though, is the 1.6-litre TDI unit which is equipped with a stop/start system and costs just £30 a year to tax because of CO2 emissions of 114g/km. Combined fuel economy stands at 66mpg. Even the high-performance 2.0-litre TFSI engine claims combined economy of 39.2mpg. Audi's generally hold their value well and, judging by the used market, the A3 Cabriolet is no different.