Reduced-capacity A3 isn’t as satisfying to use as we’d hoped
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
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disco.stu 18 June 2010

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

Zedboy wrote:
You guys have summed it up perfectly ... expect 6 month waiting lists from sales girls across the UK - Vorsprung *** rip orf.All Audi need to do is increase the range of coloured hoods / leather to ensure total option overload and max an outrageous final purchase price. At least punters won't be able to escape our taunts.... or escape anything with that 1.2L I imagine. Staggering that people fall for this time and again from the Ingolstadians

You do realise that you don't have to have the 1.2T engine with the S Line spec, don't you? There is a base model with soft suspension and 16" alloy wheels and lower equipment levels for old people who like to whine about expensive options and big wheels. And the 1.2T engine has replaced the old 1.6 engine, which no-one ever complained about despite being slower, noisier and thirstier...

Yet it is interesting that most of the A3 Cabriolets you see on the road have the S Line trim, so the punters voting with their wallets obviously don't have a problem with the price or the ride quality.

Zedboy 18 June 2010

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

You guys have summed it up perfectly ... expect 6 month waiting lists from sales girls across the UK - Vorsprung dick rip orf.All Audi need to do is increase the range of coloured hoods / leather to ensure total option overload and max an outrageous final purchase price. At least punters won't be able to escape our taunts.... or escape anything with that 1.2L I imagine. Staggering that people fall for this time and again from the Ingolstadians

chris333 17 June 2010

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI

nicksheele wrote:

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.

There's only one of us who is befuddled and confused, and thats the one who spents his sad and lonely life writing pointless comments on just about any subject about which he knows nothing.