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Audi A3 Cabriolet 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
7
Stuart Martin road tests and reviews the Audi A3 Cabriolet, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Macho might not always sell but a masculine tweak to the styling doesn't do any harm - just check Audi's A3 Cabriolet.

The four-ringed brand has the compact prestige segment largely to itself and is busily filling the niches. BMW will use the Paris motor show to unveil its 2 Series Cabrio and at least until then Audi's drop-top will tempt buyers with its coupe-like silhouette Audi already has 500 pre-orders for the convertible, which is tipped to account for up to 15 per cent of A3 sales.

DESIGN

More butch-looking than the outgoing Cabriolet, which was derived from the A3 hatchback, the new droptop was designed from the ground up to have a cloth roof. The soft-top has a glass rear window and can be operated at up to 50km/h.

An 'acoustic top' is a $500 option - a thicker inner foam layer reduces the interior noise levels, with wind deflectors and front-seat head-level heating also among the options. The cabin is a clean simple design and typically solid in fit and feel, with clever round air vents dominating the dash.

The body is part of the VW Group's MQB modular platform family of the VW Group so the Cabriolet is 75kg lighter than its predecessor, in the main due to use of ultra-high strength steel and aluminium panels and components.

The car physically takes up more road, at 4.2m long with an extra 20mm in the wheelbase. It's also 20mm wider and 15mm lower.

Cargo volume is 320L with the roof up or 680L with the rear seat backs folded. Top down and roof stowed, boot volume is about 275L.

VALUE

The front-drive Attraction 1.4 TFSI (with fuel-saving cylinder cutout) starts at $47,300, then come the 1.8- litre petrol and 2.0-litre turbo diesel variants, both $51,900.

For the first time, A3 Cabriolet has a quattro (all-wheel drive) option, the 1.8 TFSI starting from $54,900.

Xenon-plus headlights and sport suspension are part of the $2000 Style package. In cool and clear weather on the launch drive south of Adelaide, the neck and seat heaters meant the roof could stay down.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

The three newly developed engines emphasise the car's sporty character but also claim a 12 per cent improvment in fuel economy over the outgoing powerplants, from 4.9L/100km for the 1.4 to 6.6L for the quattro.

Diesel and quattro variants use Audi's six-speed twin-clutch auto, the front-drive petrol models have a seven-speed version.

SAFETY

Standard safety kit includes seven airbags and tyre pressure monitor. The $2650 Technik package adds satnav as well as front and rear parking sensors and rear camera.

The Assistance package, for $1800, includes the pre-sense accident prep and auto-braking accident avoidance system, auto high-beam, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

DRIVING

The first droptop built on the modular platform rides decently and possesses good body control in base 1.4 form, although overtaking needs planning well in advance.

Opportunities to test its mettle were abundant on the drive route. Precious little movement was felt in bumpy bends and the suspension maintained its composure in faster rippled bends.

The 1.4 is liveable for most uses but the 1.8 turbo four's extra output makes open-road touring a little more relaxed.

An unsealed-road section with the roof in place (a job that takes a little longer than the claimed 18 seconds) reinforced the refined first impression - only coarse grade bitumen prompted noise intrusion and even as the road surface degraded there was little cause for complaint.

Bootspace may not be cavernous but the folding rear seats (something Holden still can't do on a Commodore) to expand it is useful.

The twin-clutch seven-speeder makes the most of the outputs in both front-drive petrol guises, rarely getting caught out.

Rear vision is a little restricted with the roof up and rear legroom will be at a premium if the front passengers are above average height.

A quick spin in the diesel showed that it could be the pick of the powerplants, combining thrift and plenty of pace, thanks to quiet surges of torque.

Pricing guides

$20,999
Based on 101 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$12,950
Highest Price
$30,259

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.4 TFSI Attraction Cod 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $16,990 – 26,990 2014 Audi A3 2014 1.4 TFSI Attraction Cod Pricing and Specs
1.8 TFSI Ambition 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $16,990 – 30,259 2014 Audi A3 2014 1.8 TFSI Ambition Pricing and Specs
1.8 TFSI Ambition Quattro 1.8L, PULP, 6 SP $19,990 – 27,990 2014 Audi A3 2014 1.8 TFSI Ambition Quattro Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI Ambition 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $23,990 – 25,991 2014 Audi A3 2014 2.0 TDI Ambition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Stuart Martin
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$20,990

Lowest price, based on 16 car listings in the last 6 months

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