Audi A3 Cabriolet full 9 point review
You have to rev the 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine to make quick progress, but it pulls smoothly from low revs so everyday performance is perfectly acceptable. The 178bhp 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine delivers effortless acceleration whatever gear you're in, so you rarely have to work it hard. The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel feels strong, too, pulling hard from low revs.
Ride & Handling
There are three suspension set-ups: SE, lower Sport and lower-still S line. For us, SE provides the best balance, and the good news is that you can specify this at no extra cost with every trim level. It gives a comfortable ride while keeping body control neatly in check through corners. There’s plenty of grip, too, and the steering is precise.
With the roof down and the windows up, those in the front are well protected from buffeting – so long as you erect a rather inelegant wind deflector over the rear seats. You can’t fit this deflector if there are people sitting in the back, though, at which point things become a bit blowy for everyone. Put the roof up and the A3 Cabriolet keeps occupants well isolated from outside noise.
Buying & Owning
Prices are on the high side, but strong resale values mean you should get a lot of your money back when you sell the car on. All the engines are remarkably efficient by the standards of the class, and low CO2 emissions mean the A3 Cabriolet is a fairly cheap company car.
Quality & Reliability
The cabin is built from the sort of materials you’d usually expect to find in an executive saloon, while beautifully weighted switchgear and a super-slim infotainment screen add to the impression that no expense has been spared. Audi’s reliability record is less impressive, but it’s far from terrible.
Safety & Security
Every version comes with stability control and front, side and curtain airbags. You have to pay extra for Audi’s Pre Sense system, though, which automatically primes the safety kit if a collision looks inevitable. The Cabriolet hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the A3 hatchback achieved the maximum five-star rating, so we’d expect it to perform well.
Behind The Wheel
Audi’s Multi Media Interface lets you control most of the A3’s major functions via a central control dial and a small collection of buttons. It’s a pretty simple system, and some of the shortcut keys are raised, allowing you to find the one you want by touch. People of all sizes should be able to find a comfortable driving position, thanks to the huge range of seat and steering wheel adjustment.
Space & Practicality
There isn’t a huge amount of space in the back. Two adults will just about fit if those up front aren’t too tall, but they’ll still have their knees pressed up against the seats in front. Rear headroom isn’t great with the roof closed, either, but the A3 Cabriolet has a bigger boot than the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, while split-folding rear seats come as standard to help you carry long items.
SE models are our favourite, and come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, and automatic lights and wipers. Upgrading to Sport trim gets you a better-insulated roof, 17-inch wheels, sports seats, dual-zone climate control and lower sports suspension (although this can be deselected). S line models add even bigger alloys, part-leather seats, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and various sporty-looking touches.