First DriveMost frugal model in the Audi A3 range thrills with impressive economy, but it lacks dynamic sparkle
First DriveOur first drive of the new Audi A3 in the UK has revealed it to be a good, capable companion if slightly lacking in ambition
What is it?
This is the Audi A3 1.9 TDI cabriolet, the most frugal way to enjoy the open air in an Audi. The A3 1.9 TDI is the entry point into the A3 cabrio range and will return an average of 55.4mpg.
Top-down motoring can be achieved in just nine seconds, and there’s enough room for four adults too.
What’s it like?
As the cheapest diesel A3 cabriolet in the range, the A3 1.9 TDI compares favourably to pricier models, until you realise the low price is at the expense of a decent powerplant.
The direct-injection engine feels and sounds unrefined compared to its common-rail brethren, and the clattery diesel thrum is intrusive whether the fabric roof is up or down.
The 145kg of additional weight over the 1.9-litre TDI A3 hatch is also a bit of a strain for the 103bhp motor – it feels substantially underpowered. Once in its stride, the A3 does glide elegantly over the road, though. The ride is softly sprung and comfortable, without comprising the steering and body control.
Should I buy one?
If you’re looking for an economical, spacious four-seat cabriolet then the entry-level diesel A3 returns all the right figures. If, however, you’re not governed by numbers you would do better to look further up the range to the more well rounded and powerful common-rail 2.0-litre TDI. Cabin quality is a real plus, even in the most basic trim, but the gruffness of the direct-injection engine distracts you from an otherwise pleasant car.