Range-topping S3 cabriolet gets 296bhp, four-wheel drive and a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.4 seconds
18 February 2014

The Audi S3 cabriolet, the new halo car in the A3 drop-top range, has been priced at £38,910 in the UK.

The four-wheel-drive S3 cabriolet – which was first revealed at the Geneva motor show earlier this year – receives the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as other recent S3 models, including Audi’s three-door S3 hatchback, four-door S3 saloon and five-door S3 Sportback.

The S3 cabriolet's turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI engine produces 296bhp and 280lb ft respectively, an increase of 119bhp and 96lb ft over the most powerful front-wheel-drive A3 cabriolet.

In keeping with other Audi S3 models, drive is channelled through a standard six-speed dual clutch auto gearbox and electro-mechanical multi-plate four-wheel drive system. The new driveline hardware adds to the kerb weight, bumping it up to 1620kg.

Audi claims a 0-62mph time of 5.4sec and a top speed limited to 155mph. Combined cycle consumption and CO2 emissions are put at 39.8mpg and 165g/km.

Accompanying the performance enhancements is a reworked chassis. It gets a 25mm reduction in ride height, firmer springs and dampers, larger diameter anti roll bars and altered elastokinematic properties.

Standard fit 18-inch wheels are shod with 225/40 profile tyres, with 19-inch rims available as an option. The brakes also move up a size, with the front discs increasing to 340mm in diameter.

Styling additions include a grey front grille insert, deeper bumpers, a chromed windscreen surround and aluminium-look mirror housings among other detailed changes to the exterior. Inside, there's standard Nappa leather and fabric upholstery, sports seats and brushed aluminium trim.

Both S3 and A3 are fitted with a soft roof with three-layer inner padding. This is stretched over a lightweight mechanism made of magnesium-steel which opens up in a little under 18sec at speeds of up to 31mph.

The other four variants in the Audi A3 cabriolet range are all powered by the same 2.0 TDI diesel, which produces 181bhp. The entry-level model is the front-wheel-drive six-speed manual in Sport trim, which costs £29,735. A price of £32,775 is asked for a four-wheel-drive A3 cabriolet with a six-speed S-tronic transmission.

In manual, front-wheel-drive form the more powerful 2.0 TDI can return 65.7mpg on the combined cycle, while emitting 114g/km of CO2. Top speed is 150mph and the 0-62mph dash takes 7.9sec.

In the version combining S-tronic transmission with quattro drive, the 0-62mph time falls to 7.6sec, and the top speed to 147mph. This car returns a claimed 56.5mpg and 132g/km.

Two trim levels are offered – Sport and S-line. Sport specification elements include 17-inch alloy wheels, 15mm lower sports suspension (which can be ‘de-selected’ in favour of a more comfort-oriented standard set-up if required), Audi drive select, aluminium interior details and front sports seats.

Highlight features of S-line trim include exclusive exterior styling, 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights as standard.

The A3 and S3 cabriolet is available to order now, with first UK deliveries of the S3 expected in September and the A3 a month later.

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Our Verdict

Given the Audi S3’s price, it’s difficult to think of a more entertaining, yet refined and rapid ownership proposition

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