Audi A3 Cabriolet
"The Audi A3 Cabriolet looks great – as well as being faster and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor"
- More space than old model
- Economical engines
- Fast-folding roof
- Expensive to buy
- Cramped rear seats
- Less fun than a BMW 2 Series
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a relatively small but stylish convertible that offers buyers a smart interior, an impressive choice of engines and some good fun on the open road. As you’d expect, it has much in common with the Audi A3 hatchback on which it’s based.
Cars in the A3 range were given a mild facelift in 2016, with the Cabriolet getting reshaped LED headlights, a wider grille and subtly redesigned bumpers. Interior materials and equipment levels were improved too.
The A3 Cabriolet has few direct rivals, so most people will weigh it up against either the BMW 2 Series convertible or the slightly cheaper Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet. The VW has less of the badge appeal of the Audi and the BMW, and the interior is noticeably less stylish, but the difference in price will prove compelling for some.
The latest Audi A3 Cabriolet is bigger than its predecessor but because of the convertible roof it still doesn’t offer the same amount of boot space as the hatchback. The folding fabric roof can be retracted in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph, meaning it’s no disaster if the changeable British weather catches you out while driving with the roof down.
Despite an increase in size, the A3 Cabriolet is lighter than before, meaning it handles better, is quicker in a straight line and is more economical too. If you include the performance-orientated S3 model, there are three petrol engines to choose from, plus three diesels. The most economical version of the car is the 1.6-litre diesel model, which is capable of just over 70mpg.
If engaging handling and performance are your number one priority, then the rear-wheel drive BMW 2 Series convertible should be top of your list. For most people, however, the A3 Cabriolet’s competent performance will be sufficient; the car doesn’t roll in corners and there’s lots of grip, especially if you go for 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 range finished 35 out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK.
The Audi A3 makes a very stylish convertible and is a good all-rounder, with the exception of the slightly cramped rear seats. That’s almost unavoidable with a convertible of this size, as proven by the BMW 2 Series Convertible, which suffers from the same space constraint. If budget isn’t a concern, we’d recommend test-driving the BMW before buying the A3 Cabriolet, as it’s more fun to drive. The Golf Cabriolet is a less expensive alternative to both but still feels classy and well built, if slightly less stylish.