Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.4TFSI18 | 03 | 2014Scotcars rating

    Audi lifts the roof from its A3 hatch and delivers a real headturner just in time for Spring

    JUST IN TIME for Spring, Audi has lifted the wraps — literally — from its new A3 cabriolet. Capable of carrying four adults and their luggage, the A3 cabrio also does a good job of cleverly folding its fabric roof away into the bootspace.

    Based on VW Group's extremely versatile MQB platform — the same as the A3 saloon — the new cabrio is 28mm wider and 183mm longer than the model it replaces: plus it has a 17mm longer wheelbase.

    The result? More room for rear passengers, and usefully, more luggage space.

    That growth in bootspace is significant. Increased by 60-litres over the previous model to 320-litres with the roof in place, it also gets an additional 15-litre with the roof folded, albeit the total drops to 275-litres.

    And while we're ferreting around the stowage area, the car comes with an active rollover protection system, though it's a pity you need to stump up an extra few quid for the folding windbreak which, to be honest, is a necessary requirement.

    Worth highlighting here that the roof folds away at the press of a button in 18-seconds, and can be closed, on the move, up to speeds of 31mph: impressive.

    At launch there's a choice of three engines: a 178bhp 1.8 TFSI, which can only be had with a seven-speed S tronic DSG transmission; 148bhp 2.0TDI; and the model we test here, the 138bhp cylinders-on-demand 1.4TFSI.

    Expected to take 30% of new A3 cabrio sales — the same as the 1.6TDI, which arrives later, along with a 182bhp 2.0TDI — the 1.4TFSI emits just 114g/km of CO2.

    Related: Audi S3 saloon roadtest

    It'll also deliver 56.5mpg, hit 62mph from standstill in 9.1secs and carry on to a max of 135mph. It'll cost you a very reasonable £25,790; that said, the model we tested would set you back £32,065 once the stack of additional goodies was accounted for.

    As is the case with the excellent A3 hatch, buyers can choose from three grades of suspension stiffness and ride height: and while it is possible to tuck 19in alloys under the wheelarches, the test car was fitted with 18in wheels, though with 10mm lower sport suspension.

    In 1.4TFSI guise, the A3 cabrio delivers a sprightly zest as it pooled around the south coast countryside. It's very pleasant to drive, and the steering is both light and pointedly accurate, allowing you — should the urge take you — to target the apex of a sweeping corner and clip it effortlessly.

    The cabin? Well, it's an Audi: need I say more? Everything exactly where you would expect it, and with a tactile quality most rivals would envy.

    There's plenty of space for front occupants, and rear passengers benefit from the additional space.

    Of course, most of the time spent driving in the UK will be with the roof in place, so it's reassuring to know the headlining and sealing make it easy to forget you're actually in a cabrio, such are their sound-deadening attributes.

    And, of course, the test car came with Audi's cylinders-on-demand technology, which cleverly closes two of the cylinders when the power isn't needed, thus saving fuel and reducing emissions. It's seamless, and fun to enjoy.

    Overall, the A3 cabrio is an excellent all-rounder which delivers that 'wind-in-the-hair' experience a growing number of Brits want to enjoy.

    Related: Audi RS Q3 roadtest

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £25,790 / £32,065
    Engine / Power: 1395cc four-cylinder / 137bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.1secs / Max 135mph
    How big/heavy?: L4421mm W1793mm (excl mirrors) H1409mm
    How thirsty/CO2?: 56.5mpg combined / 114g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: VW Golf Cabrio; BMW 1 Series Cabrio, Peugeot 308 CC, VW Beetle Cabrio

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