MHH international Drives the Audi A3 Cabriolet
Diesel might be a fuel that is being hunted to extinction like a feared belching beast but there’s still life in it yet as far as regular drivers are concerned. It hasn’t gone away. The prestige German brand Audi are currently pleased to offer the really very good A3 hatchback with diesel variants so why shouldn’t the convertible version come with it too? That’s why the model featured here has the gutsy 181bhp 2.0L turbo-diesel and is none the worst for it, especially with the added bonus of quattro four-wheel drive.
As mentioned, it’s a cabriolet; a soft-top. The roof is mechanised and is simplicity itself to raise and lower. No hassles there then but this test was carried out in Britain where the temperature can fluctuate by twenty degrees in just a few days and you will find as this writer did that the top will be up and down more often than a shady politician’s reputation.
So if you fancy some wind-in-your-hair motoring but have a child or two then this car makes for a good choice because it has four seats rather than the usual sporty two. That’s pretty rare these days.
Petrol Or Diesel Power?
There are 1.6L or 2.0L (as tested here with emissions of 135g/km) diesel engines available with the 2.0L having two performance level options. This is fine and reasonably economical and works well. In fact, this engine hardly feels like a diesel at all as it is very quiet and refined.
Others might prefer one of the petrol variants of which the 1.5L cylinder-on-demand engine is a favourite. The alternative is a 2.0L but in terms of performance there’s not a lot in it and the smaller engine emits less of the obnoxious stuff. If quattro 4x4 is required then it has to be with the bigger engines whatever the fuel preference.
On The Inside
The hood works seamlessly but it has to be remembered that the storage area required is at the expense of boot (or trunk) space. This is not really a car for the family holiday; that’s where the hatchback comes in. Even with the hood down there’s enough space for shopping or weekend bags though. All this fresh air comes at a price. Here in the UK, lesser two-wheel drive models start at around £30k and the car as tested ramps up to well over £40,000. Thus the Audi A3 cabriolet rates a prestige reputation.
The interior is typically of the brand; that is to say it is fabulous and leathery as we have come to expect. All the latest technology is on board: DAB, Bluetooth, USB and the like plus the star of the show, the MMI Navigation System which includes integrated navigation with 3D map display, dynamic route guidance, Audi Connect Infotainment services and much, much more; all on a 7” retractable screen.
Driving The A3 Cabriolet
The A3 cabriolet is not a performance car as such so don’t expect thrills or frightening speed. It is however stable, feels safe and is very pleasing to drive. Some cars that are soft-top variants of saloons or hatches can feel a little ‘loose’ thanks to the extra flex in the bodyshell created by chopping the roof off. Thankfully this motor doesn’t feel much different to the hatch. That’s a plus point.
There’s plenty of grip, especially with quattro, and the car handles well when driven with a bit of brio. Audi’s famous ‘Drive Select’ system is fitted to more expensive model variants, allowing for various levels of responsiveness from the steering and engine. Overall, the Audi A3 cabriolet is gorgeous to look at, built to a high standard and fine to drive. Highly recommended.