New Car Awards 2014: best convertible
The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the 2014 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series Convertible and Porsche 911 Cab commended
Style, substance and sunshine thrills – the Audi A3 Cabriolet has it all. Based on the already excellent A3 hatch, the elegant drop-top version is as close to a zero-compromise convertible as you’ll get. For starters it looks great, roof up or down, plus the classy, beautifully built cabin is one of the best in the business.
You can lower the powered fabric roof at up to 31mph, and once it’s stowed you’ll be treated to plenty of wind-in-the-hair thrills - although the steeply raked screen means you’re not blown about too much.
When the British weather takes a turn for the worse you can be back under canvas in around 18 seconds, while Audi’s clever three-layer hood construction provides the sort of snug refinement you’d expect from a conventional coupe. Plus, as the roof is a traditional fabric set-up, once it’s folded the mechanism doesn’t eat into luggage space.
Happily, Audi hasn’t taken any half measures when it comes to chopping the top off the A3, meaning the bodyshell is very nearly as strong and stiff as the hatch’s. That means you get the same agile handling, rock-steady composure and cushioned ride as the standard car. Even on the most punishingly rough roads, the Audi remains free of any unnerving shake, rattle and roll.
Other highlights include the desirable line-up of familiar petrol and diesel engines, plus the option of the brand’s slick-shifting S tronic twin-clutch gearbox. Pick of the powerplants is the smooth 1.4-litre TSI petrol, which provides just the right blend of punchy performance and low running costs.
Classy, beautifully constructed and cost-effective to run, the A3 Cabriolet is a car that appeals on every level.
A3 Cabriolet 1.4 TFSI SE (£25,790)
The entry-level SE version of the A3 Cabriolet is well equipped and stylish, plus its softer suspension delivers a supple ride. Clever 1.4-litre TFSI engine features cylinder-on-demand tech for power and economy.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
It’s got a new number and sharper looks, but the new BMW 4 Series Convertible retains all the qualities that made its 3 Series predecessor such a hit – and a former Auto Express New Car Awards winner. There’s the same folding metal hard-top, plus a range of fast and frugal engines and engaging rear-wheel-drive handling.
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Continuous development has meant the drop-top 911 is now every bit as sharp to drive as its coupe counterpart, plus it features the same practical 2+2 seating layout and fabric roof that’s as refined as a tin-top when in place. With it lowered, you’ll be even closer to the legendary wailing flat-six engine.
- 1IntroductionWe reveal the best new cars on sale today in every sector of the market, plus we name our overall 2014 Car of the Year
- 2Car of the Year 2014The British-built MINI is Auto Express' Car of the Year 2014
- 3City Car of the YearThe Skoda Citigo is the 2014 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2014 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Dacia Sandero and Peugeot 208 commended
- 5Premium Small Car of the YearThe MINI is the 2014 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Small Family Car of the Year The SEAT Leon is the 2014 Auto Express Small Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf commended
- 7Family Car of the Year The Mazda 6 is the 2014 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year The SEAT Leon ST is the 2014 Auto Express Estate of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2014 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Picasso and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year The Nissan Qashqai is the 2014 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-5 commended