Tim Dickson
4 June 2010

What is it?

It’s the latest in a long line of Volkswagen Group cars to receive the downsized engine treatment in a relentless drive to improve fuel economy and emissions.

This time it’s Audi’s A3 convertible, which here receives the new 104bhp, 1.2-litre TFSI engine in place of the older, less efficient 1.6-litre FSI unit.

What’s it like?

Well, it’s an Audi A3, so it’s refined, good looking, well put together and comes with a great interior – and all the more so in the top-level S-line trim tested here.

It’s also a convertible, so it comes with all the roof-down advantages and engineering compromises that you would expect. Cabin noise in particular is really quite intrusive, and all the more so thanks to the S-line’s 17-inch alloys, which also adversely affect the ride.

Performance can best be summed up as adequate. While the 0-62 and top speed figures are about on target, the day-to-day reality is that the 1.2-litre engine has to be worked exceptionally hard to offer anything approaching a thrill, while any spark the 1.2 TFSI engine might deliver is dampened by the convertible’s added weight.

Around town it’s strong and flexible enough but on A-roads and motorways the engine can feel strained and thrashy, and while the headline economy figures are reasonably impressive they’re hard to get near in everyday use without driving self-consciously carefully.

Should I buy one?

We’re not ruling out the idea completely but this reduced-capacity A3 isn’t as satisfying to use as we’d hoped, and its straightline performance is out of kilter with the perceived image of a sporty convertible.

If you’re dead set on the idea of a cheaper-to-run open-top A3, then for similar money we’d go for the 1.6 TDI in Sport trim, with the same horsepower, more torque and better economy and emissions.

Join the debate

Comments
14

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

£27k for a 1.2 engine and 0-60 in 12.2secs...Do you think the Audi guys have competitions to see how much p**s they can take!

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

104bhp and 17" wheels. sigh....

, but i do have hope for the VAG 1.2 tsi engine though, it just needs to be in a car of 1000kgs and it will be great fun and cheap. They must put it in the new VW Lupo (seat arosa/city skoda) whenever it comes out, 2011 maybe , they are taking ages with it.

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

I had a test drive in a Yeti 1.2 SE and was deeply impressed with the little engine. I did however only pootle around town and the Yeti wouldn't be for that (I have a smart for those duties). Have to agree with beachland, it's going to be all you need for the smaller car but it has some way to go before it's suitable for non urban journeys in cars A3 sized or larger.

I was particularly impressed with the refinement and torque, totally unexpected only a MultiAir 170 in a Mito has amazed me more by punching beyond it's weight.

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
Cabin noise in particular is really quite intrusive, and all the more so thanks to the S-line’s 17-inch alloys, which also adversely affect the ride.

Vorsprung durch breakneck.

Lots of money for another dynamically flawed FWD bathtub. It'll sell by the billion!

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

chris333 wrote:
£27k for a 1.2 engine and 0-60 in 12.2secs...Do you think the Audi guys have competitions to see how much p**s they can take!

Hark the voice of the befuddled and confused. A man commenting on the value for money of a modish, open-top runaround is like a fish complaining it can't see the point of a bicycle.

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

ThwartedEfforts wrote:

Autocar wrote:
Cabin noise in particular is really quite intrusive, and all the more so thanks to the S-line’s 17-inch alloys, which also adversely affect the ride.

Vorsprung durch breakneck.

Lots of money for another dynamically flawed FWD bathtub. It'll sell by the billion!

no its not I have a Audi with sport suspension and 17 inch alloys which I think are pretty small to be honest 19s would be my prefrence if I could afford it. Rides perfect no cabin noise don't know where people get these ideas from

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

moe360 wrote:

no its not I have a Audi with sport suspension and 17 inch alloys which I think are pretty small to be honest 19s would be my prefrence if I could afford it. Rides perfect no cabin noise don't know where people get these ideas from

Moe, I think Autocar are refering to the noise levels due to it being a convertible which will be more adversely affected by road noise etc.

£27k for a 1.2 engined weighty convertible is ludicrous.

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

1.2TFSI engine and S-Line trim, what a daft combination!

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

blowerbentley wrote:
1.2TFSI engine and S-Line trim, what a daft combination!

Why? Some folks want the S line looks but aren't interested in thrashing about - majority of A3 Cab buyers I would have thought.


Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

4 years 23 weeks ago

Jon Hardcastle wrote:

moe360 wrote:

no its not I have a Audi with sport suspension and 17 inch alloys which I think are pretty small to be honest 19s would be my prefrence if I could afford it. Rides perfect no cabin noise don't know where people get these ideas from

Moe, I think Autocar are refering to the noise levels due to it being a convertible which will be more adversely affected by road noise etc.

£27k for a 1.2 engined weighty convertible is ludicrous.

True forgot about the convertible factor, but 17 inch alloys with 15mm lower sport suspension will not be as bad as autocar say ! driven loads of cars with this same setup in the VAG car range and never once had a problem, mabye they should not moan so much and look at the quality of the road surfaces !

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