With the first sunny days of the year arriving in the UK, it all of a sudden doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to buy a convertible. The Audi A3 Cabriolet arrives just in time, then, and of the initial set of engines this 2.0 TDI model we’re testing is set to be most popular.
That’s probably down to the fact that it offers 148bhp and 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, along with CO2 emissions of just 110g/km and 67.3mpg. But the issue with this 2.0-litre TDI is that it can be a little rough, so how does it fare in the A3 Cabriolet?
The answer is that it’s far better than we’d expected – at a cruise, with the roof up or down, you can barely hear it. Even under hard acceleration you’ve either got the wind rushing through the cabin and drowning it out or you’ve got the excellent triple-insulated roof up and barely any engine noise gets in.
That extends to a motorway cruise as well, where you can happily drive for hours on end – weather permitting – with the roof up or down. With the optional wind deflector in place there’s very little buffeting, and if you choose to go roof-up then you’ll find a car that’s almost as refined as any other A3.
Despite the longer body – compared with the squashed previous-generation A3 Cabriolet – this car doesn’t actually use the same platform as the A3 Saloon. Instead it has the same wheelbase as the three-door hatch A3, which is 36mm down on the Saloon and five-door Sportback. That means less legroom for rear passengers but there is at least a pretty reasonable boot – it’s 275 litres with the roof down and 320 litres with it up.
As for performance, this 2.0-litre diesel provides all the acceleration you could reasonably want, with plenty of torque in the middle of the rev range. Bumps reveal a slight flexing in the chassis but only people extremely familiar with the standard A3 are likely the notice. It’s a similar story with the ride and handling – the Sport springs of this car provide a nice cushioning over bumps while the accurate steering and grippy chassis promote a feeling of confidence and surefootedness.
Perhaps most importantly of all, though, the A3 Cabriolet looks the part. The smart roof creates a nice low, sporty profile and when you;ve got it folded away the sharp taillights and multi-spoke alloys of our test car reveal an A3 that’s got a chance at being the best looking in the entire line-up.
The interior hasn’t been updated but we’ve never had a bad word to say about it – the design is clean, the materials are top-notch and it’s packed full of technology. In many ways it feels more premium than an A5 but with this car costing £33,010 with a few options added (metallic paint, sat-nav, Alcantara/leather seats) you’ll have to be willing to pay A5 money, too.