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Audi A3 convertible revealed

The A3's roof is an automated soft-top and requires just 18 seconds to go up or down.

The newest addition to the 2015 Audi A3 lineup is this stylish convertible, a “Cabriolet” in Audi-speak, and it makes its debut Tuesday at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The new model has grown slightly, stretching 4420mm in length compared to the previous model’s 4237mm, and this has resulted in more space in the cabin as well as extra storage in the boot. For performance fans, Audi says the bigger size also allows wheels ranging up to 19 inches in diameter to be fitted for the first time.

In terms of styling, the A3 Cabrio is virtually identical to other 2015 A3 models up until its A-pillar, after which much of its sheet metal is unique. Underpinning the car is the Volkswagen Group’s flexible MQB platform, which also underpins the 2015 Volkswagen Golf and the rest of the A3 range.

A key advantage of the MQB is lightweight design, which should make the new A3 Cabrio more fuel-efficient as well as more dynamic than the outgoing model. The lightest variant tips the scales at 1365kg, around 50kg less than the outgoing car.

The roof is an automated soft-top and requires just 18 seconds to go up or down, even at speeds of up to 50km/h. It has a glass rear window and comes in several colours, though black is standard. An active rollover protection system protects the occupants in case of a rollover accident. It consists of two spring-loaded plates that are recessed into the body.

The interior echoes the rest of the A3 range, with the same layout and features. Audi's latest MMI interface system handles the media and navigation functions, with displays of either 5.8 or 7 inches available. 4G LTE broadband connectivity is also offered. An optional lighting package includes a touch-sensitive switch for the reading lights--a feature being offered for the first time.

The 2015 A3 Cabrio has so far been announced with 1.4- and 1.8-litre TFSI engines, delivering 103 and 132kW, respectively. A 2.0-litre TDI is also offered, delivering 110kW. More options will be announced at a further date. Transmission options include a six-speed manual and seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch ‘box.

Audi is also planning a high-performance S3 Cabriolet. This will get the same 2.0-litre TFSI engine found in other S3 variants, good for 220kW and 379Nw of torque, as well as standard quattro all-wheel drive. Sales of the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet begin in Europe not long after the show, and we can expect to see the car in Australia early next year.

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