From £13,420
Entry-level A3 cab is a strong contender for those wanting style and low running costs

Our Verdict

Audi A3

Third generation Audi A3 has been given a mild facelift, more equipment, some new engines, a new hot model, but is the three-door version the cream of the premium hatch crop?

  • First Drive

    Audi A3 1.6 TDI Sport first drive review

    Most frugal model in the Audi A3 range thrills with impressive economy, but it lacks dynamic sparkle
  • First Drive

    Audi A3 2.0 TDI Sport

    Our first drive of the new Audi A3 in the UK has revealed it to be a good, capable companion if slightly lacking in ambition
22 June 2008

What is it?

The entry-level version of the A3 cabriolet, powered by a 158bhp version of the 1.8-litre TFSI engine. It combines decent performance with good fuel economy – and undercuts the diesel version by a big enough margin to make it attractive to value hunters.

Even in base trim the A3 cabriolet gets reasonable kit, including alloys and aircon – although you have to make do with part-electric operation for the fabric hood. This means you have to manually release the roof from the header rail before it performs its dance – losing the spectacular nine second operation time of the full-auto roof in more expensive models.

What’s it like?

Very impressive. Out on the road, the 1.8 TFSI is a surprisingly strong performer. The 158bhp helps the A3 to sprint to 62mph in a creditable 8.3 seconds, and the wide spread of torque and well spaced gear ratios help keep you fizzing along at a decent pace.

The absence of a fixed roof is noticeable in the occasional wobble from the dash or through the steering wheel, but this is only obvious over particularly broken surfaces.

What is far more remarkable is the A3’s behaviour through bends – this is a four-seat, hatch-based convertible that is actually enjoyable to fling along a twisty road.

We’ve said this when we drove more powerful versions both at home and abroad, and it stands true for the base model in the UK. The nimble way the A3 turns in is a real surprise, as is the car’s composure when asked to make a rapid directional change. The only real dynamic complaint is with occasionally poor traction out of slower corners.

So should I buy one?

If you’re looking for an A3 cabriolet, yes. The cheapest version in the range is probably the best, combining decent performance with sensible running costs – the official 38.7mpg economy figure negates most of the point for the less civilised and more expensive diesel.

Matt Rigby

Join the debate

Comments
1

It would appear that the writer did not want to like the car. Why is this ? 

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals
  • Hyundai Kona
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Hyundai's funky-looking Kona crossover with a peppy three-cylinder engine makes all the right noises for the car to be a success in a crowded segment
  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    The Citroen C3 Aircross has got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer