The A3 Cabriolet rides well for a car that’s had its roof structure removed, although you do still get some movement through the chassis over bumpier roads.
The A3 Cabriolet is available with three diesel and three petrol options, which pretty much cover all the bases when it comes to offering fuel economy and performance.
In the Convertible model, the 150hp, 1.4-litre petrol seems to be the way to go – with the roof down it’s easier on the ears than the diesels and doesn’t pump out quite as many noxious fumes. It’s a clever engine, with the ability to turn off half of its cylinders off, when they’re not needed, to save fuel. You’ll struggle to notice when the systems working but it helps the 1.4 return fuel economy of 56.5mpg, despite it having a heady top speed of 138mph. It’s this mix of power and performance that makes it preferable to the less-economical 2.0-litre model.
The A3 is a nice car to drive in isolation but, if you wanna have fun – you want a BMW 2 Series
If you really want to limit running costs only a diesel will do and, with fuel economy of 65.7mpg, the 1.6-litre diesel is the cheapest of the lot to run. But it’s also quite slow – somewhat at odds with the sporty-convertible theme. That can be rectified by choosing one of the 2.0-litre models which get from 0-62mph in 8.3 (150hp) or 6.8 seconds (184hp).
However, the ride quality depends on which suspension setup you order. Sport and S line trim levels come with firm springs that lower the car by 15mm, but also make the ride pretty harsh. Even on these trim levels, though, you can opt for the softer SE setup at no extra cost. If you plump for the 296hp, four-wheel-drive S3 Cabriolet you get Audi’s Magnetic Ride that lets you tune the car to your liking.
Few will find the A3 Cabriolet an exciting car to drive fast around corners, but in its role as a warm-weather cruiser, not many cars equal it for the money – the A3 is quiet, even with the roof down. There’s an optional wind deflector that reduces wind noise even more, but it sits across the rear seats, turning the A3 into a two-seater.