Audi A3 Cabriolet - Interior & comfort
Lovely interior, but you have to spec your Audi A3 Cabriolet carefully to get a comfortable ride
We risk sounding like a broken record when it comes to warning about stiff-riding Audis, but it's a valid criticism of the Audi A3 Cabriolet. The car is available with three different suspension setups: SE, Sport and S line. SE – a no-cost option across the range – is the one to go for if you want to hold on to your fillings. For the best quality ride possible, combine it with smaller alloy wheels.
Sport models are stiffer, while the S line setup is the hardest of all – save for the performance-oriented S3 Cabriolet, which has been designed primarily with fast cornering, rather than the comfort of its occupants, in mind.
While its suspension comfort could certainly be improved, the Audi A3 doesn't suffer from the more traditional problems associated with convertibles. One is poor high-speed refinement, as replacing a metal roof with a fabric one usually means more wind noise makes its way inside.
Audi, though, offers the option of a special acoustic roof (£220), which helps the A3 Cabriolet to cruise nearly as quietly as the standard hatchback model. This better-insulated roof is standard on the Sport and S line versions.
The A3 also avoids most of the shakes that cause cheaper convertibles' interiors to squeak and creak, while also making them feel less precise to drive.
Audi A3 Cabriolet dashboard
The A3 Cabriolet is an Audi, so its dashboard design and quality are excellent. The plastics used are even better than what you get in the Volkswagen Golf and the premium you pay compared to a VW gets you plusher trim finishes and cooler lighting for the interior and instruments. Material quality only increased further thanks to the facelift of 2016.
All models of A3 Cabriolet come with a 5.8-inch display screen that's used to control most of the car's systems and allows Audi to cut down on buttons that could make the dashboard appear cluttered. Go for the Technology Package and the screen grows to seven inches, as well as getting clearer graphics.
Although the Audi A3 Cabriolet has a price tag to match its premium badge, the model does come well equipped. Even the basic version gets a leather-trimmed steering wheel, air-conditioning, DAB digital radio and an eight-speaker stereo.
Moving up the range to the Sport model adds climate control, the acoustic roof and larger alloy wheels, while S line trim adds things such as super-bright xenon headlights and a subtle bodykit.
Four exhaust pipes, S3 badges, big alloy wheels and a sport bodykit mean even the uninitiated will quickly spot the S3's sporty ambitions.
Audi options aren't cheap, but choose them wisely and you can make your car both nicer to live with day-to-day and easier to move on come trade-in time. The high-resolution seven-inch screen and sat nav that come with the Technology Pack mean it's a good choice. It makes the interior look even smarter than the standard car's, while sat-nav is always a welcome addition in a car of this price. Audi's excellent Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster looks even better and became available as an option in summer 2016.
The Comfort Pack is also tempting and looks to be good value. It includes an auto-dimming rear-view mirror (which stops you getting dazzled by the headlights of the car behind), cruise control and rear parking sensors. This pack also adds a wind deflector that keeps the breeze out of the cabin at high speed when the roof is down.