Used Audi A3 Cabriolet 2014-2020 review

Category: Convertible

The Audi A3 Cabriolet is great to drive and fantastic to sit in. It’s one of the best used convertibles you can buy.

Used Audi A3 Cabriolet front
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet front
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet infotainment
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet dash
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet rear seats
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet centre console
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet 14-present
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet dash
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet rear seats
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet centre console
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet side
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet front
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet infotainment
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet dash
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet rear seats
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet centre console
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet 14-present
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet dash
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet rear seats
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet centre console
  • Used Audi A3 Cabriolet side
Used Audi A3 Cabriolet 2014-2020 review
Star rating

What's the used Audi A3 sports like?

It’s fair to say we Brits love our open-top cars, gobbling up more of them than most of our European counterparts, despite the vagaries of our weather patterns.

Those seeking a premium car of modest size and price that can, at the touch of a button, offer some wind-in-the-hair fun could do a lot worse than seek out a used version of the Audi A3 Cabriolet, a previous What Car? Car of the Year award winner in the convertible category.


The A3 Cabriolet is great to drive and fantastic to sit in. In short, it’s one of the best used convertibles you can buy.

  • Beautifully finished interior
  • Ride and handling balance
  • Well equipped
  • Sport and S Line are more refined than SE cars
  • Poor rear room
  • Optional automatic is jerky

The A3 Cabriolet was based on the underpinnings of one of our favourite family cars, the Audi A3 Sportback, so you'd expect it to be good, and it is. Alas when the Sportback was replaced by an all-new car in 2020 the convertible Cabriolet version was dropped from the range, so your only hope of getting one now is used.

Engines: There’s a good choice of petrol or diesel engines, for starters. The 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI petrol unit is our pick of the earlier range, blending excellent performance with impressive economy, but even the earlier and less powerful 138bhp version of this engine is still worth considering. The 178bhp 1.8 TFSI offers up more performance for some sacrifice at the pumps and there’s also a sporty 296bhp S3 version that’s quick enough to tear the follicles from your scalp.

Diesel fanciers can choose from a 1.6 TDI in either 109bhp or 114bhp versions, or a 2.0 TDI in 148bhp and torque-rich 181bhp forms, that all offer the advantage of improved economy.

After a major facelift in 2016, some of the petrol engines were replaced with newer versions that put out fewer particulate emissions. The 148bhp 1.5 TFSI (known as the 35 TFSI) replaced the older 1.4, while the 1.8 was replaced by a 187bhp 2.0 TFSI. There was also an updated S3 version that had a 306bhp turbocharged petrol engine and four-wheel drive. It offered astonishing performance, with acceleration times that could truly dazzle.

Ride and handling: Compared to the previous generation model, this A3 Cabriolet has precise steering and tight handling, as well as excellent refinement, even though it uses a lightweight fabric roof as opposed to the folding metal kind preferred by some rivals. It can even be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 31mph, with the whole operation taking just 18sec from start to finish.

Interior and practicality: It’s hard not to be impressed by the classy, high-quality interior. The layout and amount of space up front is familiar to anyone used to the standard A3, but there's a little less room in the back for two full-sized adults. Mind you, that's often the way with open-top cars, and most people will be able to cope with a short trip without losing circulation to their limbs.

Audi’s standard-fit Multi Media Interface (MMI) allows you to control most of the car’s major functions through a chunky rotary dial and a small collection of buttons located between the front seats. It’s a simple system to use, and some of the shortcut keys are raised to help find the one you want by touch.

The standard 7.0in display rises out of the top of the dashboard when you switch the system on and, because it’s so high, it’s easy to read without moving your eyes too far from the road. There were a variety of upgrades to choose from when the car was new, including a Technology Package that brought more functionality including sat-nav, although a more basic navigation system was standard on all trims.

Other key items that are standard across the range include DAB radio and Bluetooth telephone connectivity. They work well, too, with easy-to-use menus, decent radio reception and good basic integration with both Android and Apple smartphones.

Trims and equipment: The A3 Cabriolet was available in three trim levels: entry-level SE, Sport and S line. SE comes with plenty of equipment as standard with electric windows, air-con and alloy wheels, as well as a 5.8in infotainment display. However, Sport offers sports seats with additional adjustment, a leather steering wheel and a quieter acoustic hood. S line adds larger alloys and firmer suspension (that could have been swapped for a more comfortable setup when ordered as a new car) that the A3 Cabriolet doesn’t really need, so if you find one, it’s worth checking if it’s been specced without the firmer set-up.

All models come with plenty of safety kit, including stability control, Isofix child-seat mounting points and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

If you're interested in buying a used Audi A3 Cabriolet, or any of the other cars mentioned here, head over to our used car classifieds site here.

Used Audi A3 Cabriolet infotainment

Ownership cost

What used Audi A3 sports will I get for my budget?

Prices for a good used A3 Cabriolet start at just under £10,000. This should net you either a petrol or diesel car with an average mileage, bought from an independent or a franchised dealer. Up your budget to between £11,000 and £13,000 and you’ll find the first of the 2016 cars, with an average or below-average mileage for the year, again with a choice of engines and trims. Those spending £13,000-£18,000 can expect to find a 2017 or 2018 model with a low mileage from a franchised dealer, or even a good 2019 car. Pay around £20,000 as a max for the last of the cars from 2020.

Check the value of a used Audi A3 cabriolet with What Car? Valuations

Used Audi A3 Cabriolet dash

How much does it cost to run a Audi A3 sports?


There have been a variety of engine options with the A3 Cabriolet, initially starting with a 138bhp 1.4-litre that has a combined fuel economy figure of 56.5mpg and 114g/km of CO2. The slightly more powerful 148bhp version of the 1.4-litre engine could automatically shut off two of its four cylinders at a cruise to save fuel, and has a marginally better figure of 57.6mpg and an identical CO2 emission figure. There was also a bigger 178bhp 1.8-litre that sups a bit more fuel at 48.7mpg and puts out 133g/km, and a 296bhp 2.0-litre found in the S3 that does 39.8mpg and emits 165g/km.

After the facelifted A3 was introduced, a couple of new petrol options replaced the existing 1.4 and 1.8 engines. The 148bhp 1.5 should do 50.4mpg and 128g/km, while the 187bhp 2.0-litre gets 46.3mpg and 139g/km. These figures are down slightly on what went before, but because they were developed with the latest WLTP fuel economy test in mind, the figures quoted should be much more achievable in the real world.

Diesel variants included the popular 109bhp 1.6 TDI that achieves a staggering 74.3mpg and emits just 99g/km of CO2, although this changed to 67.3mpg and 114g/km when the 114bhp version arrived. The 148bhp 2.0 TDI originally managed 67.3mpg and 110g/km emissions before changing to 65.7mpg and 114g/km. The 181bhp 2.0 TDI is the least efficient diesel, but it still figures at 61.4mpg and 122g/km (later 60.1mpg and 122g/km) so is still inexpensive to run.

Road tax

Road tax costs for cars registered before 1 April 2017 will be based upon the car's CO2 output; those registered after pay a flat rate fee, currently £180 a year, with an additional fee levied on cars that cost over £40,000 when new, currently £390 a year. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here for further information.

Servicing and insurance

Servicing is due every two years or 19,000 miles, with Audi main dealers offering fixed price servicing and charging £170 for a minor services, and £335 for a major one.

The A3 Cabriolet was also covered by a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty from new, with the option of an extended four or five-year upgrade.


The general feedback on the Audi A3 suggests a good level of reliability, with numerous owners enjoying years of spotless ownership. However, there have been reports of electronic and engine problems.

Dealer service has received mixed reviews. Many appreciate the professionalism and expertise of dealership staff, acknowledging swift and proficient service. On the other hand, some owners have voiced concerns over high repair costs and long waits for service appointments.

Discover more about used Audi A3 reliability and common problems on our dedicated reliability page.

Our recommendations

Which used Audi A3 sports should I buy?

The best of the engines is the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol, badged 35 TFSI. It pulls strongly from low engine speeds and feels brisk when revved hard. The 2.0-litre turbo 40 TFSI is gutsier still but we don't reckon it's worth the sizeable step up in price.

Sport is our favourite trim because it has the some additional soundproofing fitted to the roof and it avoids the uncomfortably firm suspension of S Line cars.

A facelift in 2016 added some extra equipment, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the infotainment system. If you can't live without full smartphone connectivity, then you'll need a later example.

Our favourite Audi A3 Cabriolet: 1.5 35 TFSI Sport

Used Audi A3 Cabriolet rear seats


What alternatives should I consider to a used Audi A3 sports?

The A3 Cabriolet benefits from having very few natural four-seat rivals, especially those with a more premium feel.

The most obvious is the BMW 2 Series Convertible. As with the A3 Cabriolet, you get plenty of choice with the 2 Series Convertible, with a number of engines to choose from and a range of three trims. It’s good on the road, too, with strong performance, sharp handling and a pliant ride. However, its rear seats are a little cramped and the diesel engines are a little gruff. Overall, it’s a good car and makes an excellent used car purchase, but it’s short of some of the polish of the A3 Cabriolet.

The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet went off sale in 2016 and is another rival to consider. Sharing some of the underpinnings with the A3 Cabriolet, it’s not surprising to find it’s good to drive, although there is some shake on larger bumps that you wouldn’t find in the Audi.

The Volkswagen Eos also went off sale in 2016 and is similar to the Golf Cabriolet but boasts a folding metal roof. It’s slightly nicer to drive and feels more solid, but that roof mechanism is expensive to replace if it goes wrong.

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If you're interested in buying a used Audi A3 Cabriolet, or any of the other cars mentioned here, head over to our used car classifieds site here.

Used Audi A3 Cabriolet centre console