Audi A3 Cabriolet
Price £26,375 - £39,495
- Fast-folding roof
- Economical engines
- More space than old model
- Less fun than a BMW 1 Series
- Cramped rear seats
- Expensive to buy
At a glance
"The Audi A3 Cabriolet looks great – as well as being faster and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor."
If you're looking to buy a small yet classy cabriolet, then chances are you’ll be considering the Audi A3 Cabriolet. It's based on the Audi A3 hatchback, which means it has one of the nicest interiors in its class, while it's also good fun to drive and comes with a strong range of engines.
With no direct rival from Mercedes, the Audi is left to do battle with the sporty BMW 2 Series convertible, although its most obvious competition comes from within the Volkswagen Group (which owns Audi) in the shape of the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet. That car is cheaper to buy than the Audi, but not quite as nice inside.
The current Audi A3 Cabriolet is larger than the model it replaced and has a bigger boot than before, but the drop-top A3 still doesn't offer as much luggage space as the hatchback version.
What it does have, though, is a folding fabric boot that can be lowered in just 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. So, when the British sunshine makes one of its brief appearances, you'll be able to capitalise on it fully before the rain returns.
Despite being bigger, the A3 Cabriolet is lighter than the preceding version, which means it's both more economical and faster. There are three different petrol engines to choose from (including the super-quick S3 performance model) and a trio of diesels, the most economical of which (the 1.6-litre) can return fuel economy of more than 70mpg.
Those looking for a rewarding driving experience are better off with the BMW 2 Series convertible, which has a sporty rear-wheel-drive setup, but for everyone else, the Audi A3 should do just fine. There's minimal body lean in corners and plenty of grip – particularly if you choose a model fitted with Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system.
All A3 Cabriolets come with a 5.8-inch display screen, alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone connectivity, dual-zone climate control and a triple-layer electric folding roof that doesn't let too much noise in on the motorway.
The Audi A3 Cabriolet comes with a sophisticated range of engines that offers low running costs
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a competent performer, but not as much fun to drive as a BMW 2 Series convertible
Lovely interior, but you have to spec your Audi A3 Cabriolet carefully to get a comfortable ride
The Audi A3 Cabriolet has a bigger boot than the model it replaces, but still has less luggage space than the hatchback
The Audi A3 is rated highly by owners and safety in the Cabriolet has been bolstered to make up for the lack of a metal roof