Sporty, versatile and elegant – the new A3 Cabriolet is appealing at first glance with its flowing lines and soft top. The open-top four-seater is also at the top of its class technically – with systematic lightweight design, highly efficient engines and high-performance assistance systems.
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet has a sporty stance on the road. The new Audi A3 Cabriolet is significantly larger compared to the previous model: its length increased from 4.24 to 4.42 meters (13.91 to 14.50 ft), its wheelbase from 2.58 to 2.60 meters (8.46 to 8.53 ft) and its width from 1.77 to 1.79 meters (5.81 to 5.87 ft). Yet, the base version of the A3 Cabriolet weighs just 1,345 kilograms (2,965.22 lb); that is around 60 kilograms (132.28 lb) lighter than before. In the occupant cell, many components are made of ultra-high-strength steel, and the engine hood is made of aluminum. Audi lightweight design competence was also applied to the design of engines and the chassis.
The extended rear overhang plays a key role in the harmonious proportions of the two-door car. Aluminum trim strips wrap around the windshield frame and the edge of the body; the car's sides are defined by precise lines and athletically taut surfaces. The flat headlights give the face of the car a resolute look, just as the air intakes and bumper emphasize the width of the A3 Cabriolet. Audi also offers the headlights in LED technology as an option.
The new A3 Cabriolet is available with a lightweight soft top. With the standard electrohydraulic drive, the top opens or closes, even while driving at speeds up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). When the top is down, it rests in a variable tray. An acoustic top is available as an alternative; it has a thicker inner foam layer which further reduces the already low interior noise level of the A3 Cabriolet. A wind deflector is standard in the Ambiente equipment line, and head-level heating for the front seats is an option for all equipment lines. An active rollover protection system protects occupants in the event of a rollover.
The interior of the open-top four-seater features a light and clean design. The instrument panel is lean, and the center console is angled towards the driver. The three-dimensional trim strips, large round air vents and elegant control panel for the climate control system give a full-size-class feel to the interior.
As with every Audi, user controls in the new A3 Cabriolet are simple and intuitive; the quality workmanship sets standards. The 320 liter (11.30 cubic ft) luggage compartment can be expanded by folding down the rear seat backs; its volume is 275 liters (9.71 cubic ft) when the top is down.
Up to 132 kW (180 hp): three engines at launch
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet rolls off the assembly line with a choice of two TFSI engines or a TDI; all engines conform to limits of the Euro 6 emissions standard. Engine displacement is 1.4, 1.8 or 2.0 liters, and output ranges from 103 kW (125 hp) to 132 kW (180 hp). All three engines have been newly developed; they consume up to thirteen percent less fuel than the engines of the previous model while delivering improved driving performance. One highlight is cylinder on demand (COD) technology in the 1.4 TFSI; it shuts down two cylinders at low load. Other engines are in preparation.
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet also features state-of-the-art transmission technology. The 1.8 TFSI is coupled with a seven-speed S tronic; together with the Audi drive select dynamic driving system (standard in Ambition), this lightning-fast dual-clutch transmission offers a free-wheeling function that further reduces fuel consumption. The 1.4 TFSI cylinder on demand and 2.0 TDI clean diesel transfer power to the front wheels via a manual transmission. The new quattro all-wheel drive system for the A3 Cabriolet will also be available.
The sporty character of the open-top four-seater is due, to a great extent, to its finely balanced axle load distribution – with the quattro drive system it is 56:44. This is an effect of the modular transverse matrix (MQB), upon which the Audi A3 Cabriolet is based. In the MQB, all engines have the same mounting position, and compared to the previous model, the front axle has been shifted forward by 40 millimeters (1.57 inches).
Concentrated know-how is also evident in the car's chassis technology. Many of the components of the McPherson front suspension are made of aluminum; the four-link rear axle handles longitudinal and transverse forces separately. The power steering system features an efficient electromechanical drive. At the limit, the electronic limited slip differential, a function of the electronic stabilization control (ESC), makes handling even more fluid and safe. Wheels range from 16 to 19 inches (the latter only in conjunction with the sport suspension or Audi magnetic ride); tires range up to 235/35 in size. A sport suspension and S line suspension are available to choose from.
As an option, the Audi A3 Cabriolet can come equipped with the Audi drive select system; it is a standard feature of the Ambition equipment line. The driver can use this system to modify engine management, power steering, S tronic and air conditioning operation over several modes. Audi drive select also incorporates multiple optional systems into its operation: Audi magnetic ride shock absorber control, adaptive cruise control, adaptive light and progressive steering, which modifies its gear ratios in response to steering input.
High-end technology: the MMI navigation plus
A whole modular system of infotainment components is available to customers of the open-top four-seater. At the very top are the Bang & Olufsen Sound System and MMI navigation plus. Its flat seven-inch monitor extends electrically from the instrument panel. The user terminal has a rotary/push button control and MMI touch, which together form the touchwheel – the top of which is a touch-sensitive pad for inputting letters and numbers.
The Audi connect system supplements MMI navigation plus. It connects the new Audi A3 Cabriolet to the Internet – via the fast LTE transmission standard, which enables download speeds of up to 150 MBit per second. The integrated WLAN hotspot lets passengers surf and email freely. The driver can use customized Internet services ranging from navigation with Google Earth images and Google Street View to Facebook and Twitter.
The line-up of assistance systems also highlights the leading role of the new A3 Cabriolet. The driver information system with rest recommendation is standard in the Ambition and Ambiente lines. Options include adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition, park assist with selective display and the Audi pre sense safety system.
Audi is supplying the new A3 Cabriolet in three equipment lines. The base line is called Attraction; the Ambition and Ambiente lines will appeal to customers who like an especially sporty and comfortable car. The interior colors are also adapted to the equipment lines. Customers can choose from fabric, leather and Alcantara upholstery options, and in some cases they may also be combined. The Audi design selection lasso brown conveys an exclusive look. Many of the options come directly from the full-size class, such as the convenience key.
In Germany, the new Audi A3 Cabriolet, which comes off the assembly line at the plant in Győr, Hungary, will be delivered to customers from the beginning of 2014. The price for the 1.4 TFSI with 92 kW (125 hp), which will follow a little later, is €30,500, while the 1.4 TFSI with 103 kW (140 hp) is available at a price of €31,700.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.