Prices are on the high side but strong resale values mean you should get a lot of your money back when you sell your A3 Cabriolet. They also mean you can expect a high, future guaranteed value, keeping PCP payments low. In fact, it can be surprising just how low. Despite its high price, an Audi A3 Cabriolet can be cheaper to run on a PCP or lease deal than a more mainstream rival.
All the engines are remarkably efficient by the standards of the class, and low CO2 emissions mean the A3 Cabriolet is a fairly tax-efficient company car. The 1.6-litre diesel is the most efficient, but even the 1.4 turbo petrol pumps out just 110g/km in SE spec, thanks to a clever piece of technology that can deactivate half of the engine’s cylinders when you’re cruising.
Audi A3 Cabriolet equipment
SE models are worth considering because they come with 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and automatic lights and wipers. If you can afford it, though, we’d recommend upgrading to Sport trim, which gets you a range of desirable features including a better insulated ‘acoustic’ roof, 17in wheels, sports seat, sat-nav and dual-zone climate control. One of the less desirable features is lower sports suspension, which we recommend you deselect in favour of the standard set-up’s smoother ride.
S line models add even larger alloys, part-leather seats, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and various sporty looking touches for not much of a premium. Again, though, if you’re tempted to go for this range-topping trim, we’d suggest sticking with SE suspension – it’s a no-cost option.
Audi A3 Cabriolet reliability
The A3 Cabriolet isn’t featured in our most recent ownership satisfaction survey and the current A3 hatchback, on which it’s based, isn’t either. However, the previous generation A3 is featured, and the result isn’t encouraging. It was declared one of the least dependable family cars in the survey.
As a brand, Audi fared little better, finishing third bottom (ahead of only BMW, Alfa and Chevrolet) for reliability.
Like most Audis, the A3 Cabriolet comes with a three-year warranty as standard, which is limited to 60,000 miles. Audi does offer four and five-year extended warranties at reasonable prices but, again, their mileages are capped at, respectively, 75,000 and 90,000 miles.
Audi A3 Cabriolet safety & security
Every version of the Cabriolet 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 it senses a collision is inevitable.
It’s quite expensive but the optional Driver assistance package bundles up some impressive driver aids including adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and Audi parking system. Far cheaper is optional Audi side assist, which monitors the car’s rear blindspots and alerts the driver if another vehicle is present or approaching at speed. Adaptive cruise control with Pre-sense front is also a good value-for-money package featuring valuable safety aids.
The A3 Cabriolet hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the A3 hatch on which it’s based has. It was awarded an impressive five-star rating, and a particularly strong score for adult crash protection. Its child protection rating was only reasonable – slightly worse than a VW Golf’s.
Deadlocks and an alarm with immobiliser are fitted as standard, and the A3 Cabriolet received the maximum five stars from security body Thatcham for its resistance to being stolen. It also scored four out of five for its resistance to being broken into.
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The entry-level SE spec brings 16in alloy wheels, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, a 5.8-inch colour screen, air conditioning, front foglights, and automatic lights and wipers. It’s worth considering if you can’t quite stretch to Sport trim.
Our pick Sport
Moving from SE to Sport brings 17in alloys, sat-nav, a colour information screen between the rev counter and speedo, front sports seats, a better insulated ‘acoustic’ hood, dual-zone climate control and a three-spoke leather steering wheel. It’s worth remembering that you can specify the more comfortable SE suspension set-up on Sport editions for no extra charge. Our favourite specification.
The S line trim is focused on performance. You get even larger wheels (18in), a bodykit, part-leather upholstery with S line logos, LED headlights, LED running lights and aluminium inlays in the fascia. Again, you can specify the more comfortable SE suspension set-up on S line editions for no extra charge.
This range-topping, high-performance model gets 18in wheels, lowered and stiffened suspension, a revised steering set-up, Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, aluminium interior trim, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a bodykit as standard. It’s a very different proposition from the standard models.