What is it?
Audi’s new entry level open top, the A3 cabriolet. Conceived as a direct competitor to BMW’s new 1-series cabriolet, the elegant new four-seater extends the A3 line-up to three distinct body styles, following on from the familiar three- and five-door hatchbacks offered throughout the first and second generations of Audi’s classy entry level model.
“It is targeted at those who might be in the market for traditional C-segment cabriolet, but are perhaps seeking sometime a little more upmarket than that offered by the volume car makers,” says Audi. In other words, watch out Ford (Focus coupe-cabriolet), Vauxhall (Astra TwinTop) and Volkswagen (Eos).
What's it like?
This is one good looking car, much better in the metal than any pictures seem to convey. Flaunting the refreshed front end look soon to be adopted by the upcoming facelifted version of the A3 hatchbacks due out this spring, the new Audi sun seeker also receives a pert notchback style rear end and, like the 1-series cabriolet, a large fabric roof that retracts back at the press of a button before stowing in a dedicated well behind the cabin.
By opting for a compact fabric roof instead of the more fashionable folding hardtop arrangement, Audi’s design team has managed to provide the A3 cabriolet with a clean and uncluttered look that’s sure to find favour not only among style conscious buyers but those seeking a car offering practicality, too.
There’s no long rear overhang or awkwardly high boot line to spoil its lines - something that can’t be said of other many recent open top offerings. With the roof down, the hard front part of the roof cleverly forms a tonneau cover behind two prominent fixed roll over hoops, giving the rear end a tidy appearance that’s further enhanced with tail lamps similar to those adorning the new A5 coupe.
Inside, you get the same high quality dashboard as other A3 models, with soft touch plastics, expensive looking instruments and nicely damped switchgear. There is, however, some evidence of cost cutting in the decision to provide the air vents with cheap, shiny plastic surrounds.