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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Desirable; good build quality; stylish

Against Disappointing to drive; expensive to buy

Verdict Easy to live with for a convertible

Go for… 1.8 TSFI Sport

Avoid… 1.9 TDI SE

Audi A3 Cabriolet
  • 1. The Audi A3 has a traditional cloth roof, which helps to keep the car's weight down
  • 2. From launch, the Cabriolet’s engine options included three petrols and two diesels.
  • 3. Our pick is the 1.8-litre TFSI – it’s reasonably priced and delivers good performance.
  • 4. In 2009, engine stop-start systems became standard across the A3 range, helping to improve fuel economy and cutting CO2 emissions.
  • 5. The only major issues with the A3 Cabriolet concern the roof. Motor failures and problems with the wear and tear of the roof fabric are the biggest gripes.
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Audi A3 Cabriolet full review with expert trade views

The Audi A3 has a traditional cloth roof, which helps to keep the car's weight down. The roof material is thicker than many rivals', so offers decent sound insulation. The roof takes jusat nine seconds to drop and 11 to go back up.

As with the A3 hatchback version, the Cabriolet's dashboard and cabin are well put together with high-quality materials. The driving position will suit most drivers.

Unfortunately, the Audi isn’t as good to drive as it is to look at. The steering is light and provides little feedback. There is plenty of grip, but the ride is a little too firm and never feels completely settled.

Inside, there’s room for four adults, just. The tight rear seats aren't ideal for longer trips. There’s decent boot space and folding rear seats are standard.

Trade view

Avoid the 1.9 TDI, it’s unrefined and not that enjoyable to drive.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

From launch, the Cabriolet’s engine options included three petrols and two diesels. The petrol choices were an entry-level 101bhp 1.6-litre, a turbocharged 158bhp 1.8-litre TFSI and a 197bhp 2.0-litre TFSI. Diesel engines included a 103bhp 1.9 TDI and a 123bhp 2.0 TDI.

In mid-2009, a 103bhp 1.2-litre TFSI engine was added, and a 104bhp 1.6 TDI replaced the 1.9-litre diesel.

Our pick is the 1.8-litre TFSI – it’s reasonably priced and delivers good performance.

All versions get air-conditioning, all-round electric windows and alloy wheels. The entry-level car has a semi-automatic hood (you have to manually release the hood from the header rail). Sport trim adds a fully electric hood as well as climate control, while S line models have sportier styling details, and upgraded alloys and cabin trim.

In 2009, engine stop-start systems became standard across the A3 range, helping to improve fuel economy and cutting CO2 emissions.

Trade view

A sophisticated soft-top that’s fun, but don’t cost a fortune.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 1.6 TDI averages 65.7mpg, the 1.9 TDI does 55.4mpg, while the 2.0 TDI delivers 53.3mpg (that increased to 61.4mpg after the 2009 upgrades).

The 1.6-litre TFSI averages 40.4mpg, the 1.8 TFSI 38.7mpg (42.8mpg after 2009) and the 2.0 TFSI delivers 37.2mpg (39.2mpg after 2009). The newer 1.2 TFSI is best, with average economy of 49.6mpg.

The 1.6 TDI is the cleanest of all the cars, with CO2 emissions of 114g/km, although the 2.0 TDI isn’t far behind at 119g/km. The 1.2 TFSI is the cleanest petrol model at 132g/km.

Trade view

Avoid the 1.9 TDI, it’s unrefined and not that enjoyable to drive.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The only major issues with the A3 Cabriolet concern the roof. Motor failures and problems with the wear and tear of the roof fabric are the biggest gripes. A fault that prevents the rear windows from fully closing is another issue.

As with any used convertible, check the car's cabin for water damage – especially in the footwells.

Trade view

A sophisticated soft-top that’s fun, but don’t cost a fortune.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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