Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI Sport review

10 Mar, 2014 5:30pm Luke Madden

Audi A3 Cabriolet arrives just in time for first sunny days in the UK

Verdict

4
Once you discount the smaller Golf Cabriolet and the old 1 Series Convertible there aren’t many competitors for the Audi A3 Cabriolet. Even if there were you’d struggle to find one that offers such a grown-up driving experience, premium cabin and stylish design for a price that hovers around the £30,000-mark. The comfortable ride even seems perfect for UK roads and the roof – which can be raised at up to 31mph in 18 seconds – even seems perfect for the unpredictable British weather, too.

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.

Audi A3 Cabriolet interior

Midlife crisis cars

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.

Audi A3 Cabriolet rear tracking

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.

Disqus - noscript

I don't think it's possible for a car to be any more abhorrent than this one.

Abhorrent, I think you need your glasses on!!

Ouch 33k for a Audi A3 with a 150bhp 2ltr Diesel.

I dont mind diesels but to me they are at odds with one of the main things of having a cab. Roof down windy coastal roads and a tractor noise from the front and no noise from the back.

I've had convertibles and probably will do again but it wont be diesel powered.

Alloys remind me of Mk2 Vauxhall Astra wheels......dont like them.

You can only have a Bmw or Mercedes cabriolet. Audis just don't look right

It's probably a nice driving car but I find nothing about the way it looks that would make me want one. I find it boring looking.

Hmm, good point thank you. I've put them on now.

Arrgghhhhh!! It's hideous <vomit> omg it's execrable! What my eyes have seen cannot be unseen and that will forever scar my soul.</vomit>

Luke, what do you mean the interior hasn't been updated? I drive the new audi A3 sportback and it's the same interior as that. it's not the same interior as the old A3 cabrio which I also used to drive. Can you clarify what you mean ?

I think he means it hasn't been updated from the interior of the new A3 hatchback models. Sometimes the cabrios get a slightly swisher interior than the hatchbacks they are based upon.

Key specs

  • Price: £27,820 (£33,010 as tested)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 148bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 139mph
  • Economy/CO2: 67.3mpg/110g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch alloys, climate control, electric windows, 6.5-inch colour screen
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1334
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