Audi's new small hot drop-top - the Audi S3 Cabriolet - is arriving in Australian showrooms priced from $69,300 plus on-road costs.
As with those models, the open-top version of the S3 range is powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which now produces 210kW of power (up from 206kW due to a tuning tweak - applies to all 2015 S3 models), and 380Nm of torque. There's still no indication when Australia will get the full fat power output of 221kW seen in European models, due to our country being designated a "hot weather destination".
Power is sent to all four wheels via the company's quattro all-wheel-drive system. Unlike the hatch, which comes with the option of a six-speed manual, the convertible version is available only with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (just like the sedan).
The S3 Cabriolet uses a claimed 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres, slightly higher than auto versions of the hatch and sedan (both use 6.9L/100km). Audi claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.5 seconds, or half a second slower than both the other S tronic-equipped S3 models. The claimed top speed for the S3 Cabriolet is 250km/h.
The S3 Cabriolet measures 4.47 metres long, 1.80m wide and 1.4m tall, and has a weight distribution of 56 per cent front and 44 per cent rear. The S3 Cabriolet sits 25mm lower than the A3 version, and features S sports suspension with tauter spring and damper settings.
Standard equipment fitted to the S3 Cabriolet mirrors its siblings, including standard 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, xenon headlights, Audi's MMI satellite navigation with touchpad, a semi-automated parking assistance system that also includes front and rear parking sensors, and a reverse-view camera.
The S3 Cabriolet is also available with an S Performance Pack, which costs $4990. This includes full LED headlights, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo (705 watts), diamond-stitched leather sports seats, red brake calipers and magnetic ride control. And as with the regular A3 range, the S3 Sportback is also available with an $1800 Assistance Package incorporating adaptive cruise control, blind-spot assistance, lane-keep assistance, auto high beam and ‘pre sense’ technology that tightens seatbelts if a potential accident is predicted.
The S3 Cabriolet is fitted with an active rollover protection system as standard, and has dual front, front-side and driver's knee airbags as standard. Audi claims the S3 Cabriolet (and the A3 Cab) achieve the maximum five-star ANCAP crash test rating.
Audi says the S3 range is giving the four-ring brand access to a new buyer demographic, and that the S3 Cabriolet will likely appeal most to males over 30.
Indeed, the company claims the "S3 Sportback is in hot demand", attracting a quarter of all A3 Sportback sales, while the sedan is "ramping up strongly", with one in five buyers choosing the S3 sedan over the standard A3 four-door models.