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.
There’s a good choice of petrol or diesel engines. The 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI petrol unit is our pick of the range, blending excellent performance with impressive economy, but even the earlier and less powerful 138bhp version of the 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 the facelift in 2016, some of the petrol engines were replaced with newer versions that put out fewer particulate emissions. The 148bhp 1.5 TFSI replaced the older 1.4, while the 1.8 was replaced by a 187bhp 2.0 TFSI.
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.
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.
At its 2014 launch, 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 is our favourite trim because it 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.
Page 1 of 5