Entry-level engine doesn't live up to the promise of the rest of the car

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.

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jelly7961 24 August 2009

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.6

J400uk wrote:
The very worse offenders are here - http://www.channel4.com/4car/feature/feature.jsp?id=16994

Thanks - very interesting indeed. Although I suppose the expectation is that an Audi Convertible will be faster than a Daewoo Matiz...
J400uk 21 August 2009

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.6

jelly7961 wrote:

Whoa! (literally!) I think the last time I had a car that slow it was a 1976 Audi Fox. Does anyone know what the slowest car 0-60 at the moment is?

12.5 seconds really isn't that bad at all, theres lots and lots of cars on sale with far worse 0-60 times. The very worse offenders are here - http://www.channel4.com/4car/feature/feature.jsp?id=16994

Some of those cars in the 4car link take almost double the time that the 1.6 A3 does it in

jelly7961 20 August 2009

Re: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.6

cheshire_cab wrote:
Question: what new car has the oldest engine?

The 6.75 litre Rolls would come close wouldn't it? That would be getting on for 50 years old now