The 2014 A3 Cabriolet is bigger than its predecessor, its longer, lower and wider. In a complete deviation from old hatch-like style, the new A3 Cabriolet is based on the sedan with long, strong lines and a sportier silhouette, and for the first time its being offered up with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive.
Each of the four models in the drop-top range have all-new drivetrains - the entry level 1.4-litre TFSI Attraction, 1.8-litre TFSI Ambition and the 2.0L TDI Ambition.
The base Attraction starts from $47,300 (manufacturers list price) and pairs its 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This front-wheel drive model produces 103kW at 5000rpm and 250Nm between 1500-3500rpm.
It also has Cylinder On Demand (COD) which works by shutting down two cylinders at low load to improve fuel efficiency. Audi claim it uses just 4.9L /100km and can hit 100km/h from a standstill in 9.1 seconds. Audi is tipping the 1.4 TSFI Attraction to make up 45 per cent of sales.
The 1.8 TFSI Ambition is the most powerful in the line-up, with its 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It produces 132kW between 5100-6200rpm and 250Nm within the 1250-5000 rev-range. Fuel efficiency is a claimed 5.8L/100km and it goes from 0-100km/hr in 7.8sec.
The 1.8 TFSI is also front-wheel drive (priced at $51,900) but Audi will also offer this four-cylinder drivetrain with quattro all-wheel drive (adds $3000). It has a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and though it's power output remains the same (132kW - but at a lower 4500-6200rpm) it produces more torque: 288Nm between 1350-4500rpm. The quattro variant can accelerate from 0-100km/hr in 7.6sec and it's claimed fuel consumption is 6.6L/100km.
For those that prefer the fuel efficiency of a diesel engine, there's the TDI Ambition. It's 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine also pairs with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and can produce 110kW at 3500-4000rpm and 320Nm between 1750-3000rpm.
The front wheel drive TDI Ambition hits 100km/hr from a standstill in 8.8sec and has a claimed fuel consumption rate of 4.7L/100km.
All four variations have the sporty S tronic transmission as standard, meaning buyers who prefer a manual 'box may be left to look elsewhere.
The A3 Cabriolet's soft-top electric roof can retract in just 18 seconds and works at speeds up to 50km/hr. Those prominent roll-bars behind the rear passenger seats of the previous generation are gone - in their place is a new pyrotechnic rollover system that deploys in the event of a crash.
Boot space is 320 litres with the roof up, and 275L with the roof down. The rear seats will fold forward to allow for extra cargo space when needed.
Audi A3 Cabriolet Key Features: Model by Model
1.4 TFSI Attraction:
17-inch alloy wheels in 10-spoke ‘dynamic’ design
Front and rear parking sensors
Aluminium-look interior styling
Dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat vents
Bluetooth phone and audio streaming
Electrically retractable, 5.8-inch colour display monitor
Auto headlights & rain sensing wipers
Leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddleshifters and mounted stereo and cruise controls
1.8 TFSI, 1.8 TFSI quattro and 2.0 TDI Ambition - On top of Attraction features:
17-inch alloy wheels in ‘star’ design
Front leather upholstered adjustable sports seats
Extra aluminium trims
Driver information system
Audi Drive Select
Leather-wrapped sports steering wheel with paddle-shift & mounted controls
2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet price (plus on-road costs):1.4 TFSI COD S tronic $47,3001.8 TFSI S tronic $51,9002.0 TDI S tronic $51,9001.8 TFSI quattro S tronic $54,900
MMI Navigation, Driver Information System, parking system with rear view camera & park assist, Audi sound system.
Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, sport suspension & 18-inch alloy wheels.
Electric front lumbar support, front seat heating, convenience key, auto-dimming mirror, folding electrically adjustable mirrors, acoustic hood.
Adaptive cruise control, Audie pre-sense, lane departure warning, high beam assist & side assist.
S line Sports Package
Sport seats in perforated Alcantara/leather with S line embossing, flat bottom sport steering wheel, inlays in aluminium, sport suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels
You can also option heated front seats with neck-level heater.