Audi A3 Cabriolet
Price £26,085 - £39,205
- Economical engines
- More space than the old model
- Quick folding roof
- 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 the old model.”
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet is larger than the old Audi A3 convertible, and is seen as a replacement for the old Audi A4 convertible. The A3's premium badge means it is more expensive to buy than cars such as the Volkswagen Golf convertible, but it does get a classy look and a premium interior.
The new model is lighter than before, which means it is both more economical on fuel and faster, while the car is also available as the high-performance S3 variant, which gets loads of performance and a subtle body kit.
The A3's fabric soft-top roof can be opened at speeds of up to 31mph, drops in just 18 seconds, and should keep mean the A3's cabin is quieter than it was in the past. The longer and wider dimensions of the new model also mean that boot space has increased by 60 litres with the roof up.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Majority of engines very cheap to run, managing up to 67mpg
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet makes significant gains – in terms of economy and CO2 emissions – over the outgoing model. It will be available with three engines from launch – a 1.4-litre and a 1.8-litre petrol, as well as a 2.0-litre diesel. The 1.4-litre petrol is a nippy performer, but can still return up to 56.5mpg and emissions of 114g/km, while the 1.8-litre is quicker and returns up to 48.7mpg and 133g/km of CO2.
The diesel is the most frugal of all, though, and can return up to 67.3mpg, while emissions of 111g/km mean road tax will be £30 annually.
The A3 Cabriolet will get an even more frugal 1.6-litre diesel, which should qualify for free road tax, a more powerful 181bhp diesel, while the new Audi S3 Cabriolet, will be the fastest model in the range.
Engines, drive & performance
Most engines cheap to run, while top-spec Audi S3 is very fast
Having a convertible roof means the Audi A3 Cabriolet’s body can flex over bumps, and the car isn’t as fun to drive as the hatchback on which it is based.
Nonetheless, even the basic 1.4-litre petrol feels pretty quick, with 0-62mph taking 9.1 seconds, while the 1.8-litre is even quicker with a time of 7.8 seconds, and the 2.0-litre diesel does it in 8.9 seconds. When it is launched, the S3 model will be fastest of all with a top speed limited to 155mph and a 0-62mph time of 5.4 seconds.
Interior & comfort
Stiff suspension, but the interior is quiet even at high speeds
The Audi A3 convertible has the kind of high-quality interior that we would expect of any Audi, but the drop-top version does suffer from quite a stiff ride – especially if you opt for the performance-orientated S3. Fitting the convertible roof also means the rear seats are cramped and are shaped for two, rather than three passengers.
Despite having a folding fabric roof, the Audi S3 has a refined cabin that does an excellent job of keeping wind noise at bay. Buyers can also opt for an even better insulated acoustic roof, which means the A3 Cabriolet is just as quiet as cars with folding metal roofs.
Practicality & boot space
Tight backs seats, but bigger boot than old model
Although fitting a drop-top roof usually means losing some luggage space, the new Audi A3 Convertible’s bigger dimensions mean that it has a larger boot than the car it replaces. With the roof up, the model has 320 litres of load lugging capacity (60 litres more than the old model), which drops to 275 litres with the roof folded down.
Passengers should find the A3 Cabriolet comfortable in the front, but the new roof means space in the back is cramped for both head and legroom.
Reliability & safety
The A3 feels well built and should be reliable in the long-term
Audi has a decent record for reliability and the marquee finished in a respectable 10th place in our 2013 Driver Power survey ahead of prestige marques such as Porsche and BMW. The Audi A3 didn’t do too well in the car rankings, though, coming 110th out of 150 cars.
Safety should be excellent however, and the Audi A3 hatchback was awarded the full five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2012. The Cabriolet version gets all the same features, including a full complement of air bags and secondary-collision brake assist, which stops the car rolling (into oncoming traffic, for example) after a collision.
Price, value for money & options
Generous equipment levels, but expensive to buy
Although the Audi A3 Cabriolet has a price tag to match its premium badge, the model does come well equipped. Even the basic car gets a leather-trimmed steering wheel, air conditioning, DAB radio, and an eight-speaker stereo. Moving up the range to the Sport models adds climate control, the acoustic roof, and larger alloy wheels, while S line trim adds things such as Xenon headlights and a subtle body kit.