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 entry-level Audi A3 Cabriolet, the elegant four-seat BMW 1-series rival that has done much to wow buyers looking for something a bit more upmarket than a Ford Focus coupe-cabriolet, Vauxhall Astra TwinTop or Volkswagen Eos.
The base petrol engine has 101bhp and 109lb ft of torque. It averages 40.4mpg and pumps out 167g/km of carbon dioxide, putting it in VED road tax band H.
What’s it like?
Slow. Getting from 0-62mph takes 12.5sec, but it feels even longer – possibly because the Audi A3 is such a sporty-looking car in the metal. It’s clean, uncluttered look deserves to be complemented by a modicum of performance, and it just doesn’t get anything remotely sprightly with this engine.
It is, however, a refined unit, quiet to all but the highest revs, smooth throughout the range and, as you would expect, reasonably frugal – although the 1.8 TFSI achieves greater economy and the 2.0 TFSI isn’t far behind.
Elsewhere, the A3 continues to impress in most areas. The cabin is well appointed, there’s a decent level of equipment and the driving position is good, adapting to most shapes and sizes of drivers (although taller drivers do get a good buffeting when the roof comes down).
The cloth roof does a pretty good job of insulating you from road and wind noise, while you also need to find a below-average road surface to really notice the shudder and shake that tells you you’re in a cabrio.
Should I buy one?
The A3 Cabriolet is a fine car, managing to do pretty much everything well in a nicely understated way. However, this isn’t the engine the car deserves, and we’d recommend digging deeper to get something with a little more poke.