Audi A3 Convertible 1.6

New petrol version of cabrio makes it cheaper than ever. is it as good to drive?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

This entry-level petrol-engined A3 Cabriolet may not be a hot hatch, but it’s still a desirable drop-top in the fine tradition of Audi. It boasts neat handling, decent refinement and is fun to drive. Add in low running costs and a high-quality electric folding roof, and it’s a worthy contender.

It's the new starting point for A3 Cabriolet ownership!

Audi has added this entry-level 1.6-litre petrol variant to its popular drop-top range – and although a price tag of £19,935 means it’s not exactly cheap, it does cost £1,300 less than its base diesel stablemate.

With the promise of sprightly performance and low running costs, it should be a winner – but how does it shape up?

Well, the A3 Cabrio looks as good as ever with a brilliant fabric roof which stows away in just under 10 seconds at anything up to 19mph. Inside, despite the car’s entry-level status, cabin quality remains solid and impressive. Roof down there’s plenty of wind noise, yet raise the multi-layer hood and refinement is just as good as in the hatchback.

In the rear there’s enough room for two small adults, although most owners will probably use these seats as additional load space. The 260-litre boot is as big as a supermini’s, but it’s hard to squeeze much more than bags through its narrow opening.

On the road, the 1.6 lacks the torque of its diesel sister car, but is still a competent performer. Only 101bhp means you have to rev the engine to get the best out of it, as is reflected by the 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds. However, the caris nippy around town and adequate on the motorway. The five-speed manual ’box has a snappy throw, too.

While you won’t be winning many traffic light grands prix, there are big benefits to be had at the pumps. The small-capacity engine returns a combined fuel economy figure of 40.4mpg. And that lightweight motor results in lithe steering and excellent turn-in to corners, where it

impresses more than the oil-burner. In fact, the agile handling makes up for the relative lack of pace. Factor in a smooth, comfortable ride and you’ve got a likeable drop-top.

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