Published on July 1, 2014
The A3 Cabriolet seems to have given us some promising omens… Delivering on the important elements of compact hatch motoring — easy to drive and park, prove frugal at the pumps — it even adds the sun once the roof is down.
Being a Sport specification A3, it boasts a slightly lower ride height and firmer suspension set up than the lower spec SE. This combination is better than the regular A3 hatch . That the car’s optional 18-inch wheels (default is 17-inch) also don’t appear to hamper the ride quality is proof that Audi has come along way in recent years when it comes to balancing a sporty ride with day-to-day comfort. Lift the car’s fabric lid and, with a few exceptions, this car’s like the regular three-door A3 so forgive the whistle-stop tour in favour of focusing on said fabric lid.
One benefit of Sport spec ownership is a three-layer roof boasting a greater level of insulation over the standard item on lesser models. Certainly, with the roof up the cabin ambience is refined. Of greater importance is the usability angle, and it doesn’t get any easier than pressing the roof switch for 17 seconds and watching the top disappear into a dedicated space above the car’s boot. That you can raise and lower the roof at up to 31mph is a welcome bonus, although installing the wind deflector does render the rear seats out of bounds. Rear leg space is modest.
The engine choice is Audi’s new 1.4-litre petrol unit complete with ‘Cylinder on Demand’ mode. This 140 horsepower unit is pleasingly quiet and delivers ample urge so long as expectations are sensible. However, to boost economy and reduce emissions, on a light throttle two of the four cylinders will shut down. If it wasn’t for the trip computer display alerting you to this ‘twin-pot’ running mode you’d struggle to notice, although those with keen senses will detect a slightly off-beat engine resonance. And it’s no gimmick; the instant fuel economy readout often jumps to 100-plus mpg around town, with the result that early running has seen close to 50mpg on a 30-minute mixed road run. If that’s not high-tech enough to impress you’ve also got Audi’s high-spec optional infotainment system to play with.
Aside from DAB and Bluetooth, there’s a comprehensive sat-nav, high-res screen and 4G-ready data connection for Google search, weather and traffic alerts and the social media integration. Plus, you can send destinations from Audi’s dedicated website direct to the car. So far, so seamless
— and 4G is pretty quick, too.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
AUDI A3 CABRIOLET 1.4 TFSI
SPORT WITH COD
ENGINE: 1.4-LITRE PETROL UNIT
TRANSMISSION: 6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION AS STANDARD, DRIVING THE FRONT WHEELS
PERFORMANCE: MAXIMUM SPEED 135MPH, 0-62MPH 9.1 SECONDS
CO2 RATING: 114G/KM