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Audi A3 Review: Audi A3 Cabriolet Drive Review

Audi A3 Cabriolet Drive Review

By Aditya Chatterjee; 24th August, 2015
Introduction

Audi A3 Cabriolet Drive Review

There is no better way of putting this that we love the A3 sedan for numerous reasons. It looks better than its siblings and offers more enthusiasm that its rivals find difficult to match but then there is a slight bit of an issue in it. The A3 is too serious at being good. It feels like an obedient first bencher working hard to score more in exams.

Audi A3

Contrasting to the seriousness of the sedan, we have its cousin who prefers wearing a fabric hat to metal and has a relaxed approach to life. Based on the sedan, the A3 Cabriolet is more for them who want to feel the breeze running through. It also happens to be India’s most affordable premium cabriolet at Rs 44.75 lakhs. Also, it comes with a 1.8-litre 177 Hp motor which can do a 0 to 100 kmh dash in 7.8 seconds, meaning, it is not just show but has the performance to back it up as well.

We take the A3 Cabriolet around a set of turns and curves to lean more on this lifestyle offering by Audi.

Exterior

They haven’t made any drastic change to the way it looks from outside and essentially because the A3 Cabriolet is very much an A3 sedan underneath. While the metal roof has been chopped and the number of doors has gone down, the Cabrio now gets a more elegant character in design.

Audi A3

It gets a single piece radiator grille with a chrome surround. The stream lined Bi-Xenon projector lights with LED DRLs make it to the standard equipment list. The lower section of the front bumper has large pockets with a matte mesh. Also, to help reduce air flow resistance, there is a low positioned air splitter carved below the grille. The long flowing lines on the bonnet give it an elongated profile.

The front windshield gets a tasteful brushed aluminium surround and the same gets highlighted when the fabric roof subsides in the boot section. The A3 Cabriolet too makes use of 17-inch five spoke alloys which look sporty. Getting inside the front seats is easy, just that doing the same for the rear is little tricky as it gets only two doors for ingress and egress. Even with the roof up, it manages to look as elegant with a large glass area on the side. The long fabric roof gives a clean profile to the side.

Audi A3

Sharp tail lights with a crisp tail section give the A3 Cabriolet an impressive rear profile. The fabric roof gets a conveniently placed rear windshield which folds down with the roof. While the rest of the arrangement is similar to that of the sedan, it gets twin chrome tipped exhaust nicely tucked inside the rear bumper.

Interior

Upmarket quality and strong built has now become a signature trait inside all new age Audi cars. The A3 Cabriolet too features the best and latest in features and gadgetry. The justification to the steep price tag can be found by looking at the intricate details on the trims, simply impressive.

Audi A3

The front layout of the dashboard has been deliberately kept clean to make it look more spacious. It gets semi beige and black colours on the front dashboard which feels neat and tidy. It might not have the fancy toys seen inside its rival but frankly the absence of zesty lines doesn’t make any difference, as long as you enjoy simplicity in things.

Nothing looks out of place inside this expensive Audi and that is because of the top down approach in interior designing. Thus, if you have been inside one of their more premium sedans, you will have something to relate to inside this. Also, this is the closest you can get to an expensive convertible as all others sit far away from a realistic tag.

Audi A3

It gets a tiny switch to operate the fabric roof, which takes a good 18 seconds to fold up neatly inside the rear boot. Clearly, it is not the fastest but then it is not a mood spoiler either. The switch is located on the console at an easy reach of front occupants. The 7-inch infotainment screen can be hoisted electrically, if need be, else can be made to descend, a feature that I really like else the screen looks forcefully placed like that in the CLA Class. One can store up to 20GB worth data in the on-board storage memory. Needless to say, features like USB, AUX-in and Bluetooth come as standard with an option to pair telephony as well.

In terms of space, the front passenger area feels welcoming with decent kneeroom and legroom. It can accommodate average sized adults without much hustle and bustle. But things aren’t as merry in the rear as firstly, getting inside is tricky by making the front seats fold down and secondly, the lack of space proves discouraging for adults to squeeze in. The best way to use this space is by making kids sit or perhaps, throw in a bag or two.

Audi A3

There are stowage provisions at different areas with twin cup holders for the rear occupants and a decently sized storage bin between the front seats. The only area where it gets a bit tight is the boot section. Once the roof is down, it neatly folds itself and tucks inside the rear area eating on the luggage zone making it smaller than that of the sedan.

Performance

In terms of performance, it is regardless to say that Audi seems to have checked in the right boxes with the A3. The ride and handling department has just got better with this compact luxury class. And happily, all the traits have been carried over to the A3 Cabriolet as well.

Audi A3

For starters, the A3 Cabrio is only available in a 40 TFSI configuration, meaning, one can drop the roof and just hear that 1.8-litre motor make tunes to please the ears. This pint of a motor makes 177 hp of power and also goes ahead to make 250 Nm of torque at just 1250 rpm. And to make sure all that power is whipped at the very precise moment of need, it comes with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission along with the famous Audi Drive select.

It is as silent as a sheep’s whisper when idling and only gets audible when the motor is made to deliver strongly. Also, one wouldn’t need to keep shuffling between the steering wheel and the shifter stick as this one gets paddle shifters, thus, ensuring a seamless shifting experience. Shift it into D-mode for a smooth drive mode negating the need to shift completely. It is in this mode that the woes of city traffic instantly disappear also making the motor feel livelier than the diesel unit. The advantage of this gearbox is once you have engaged a particular gear; the other is waiting to be activated thus reducing the intermittent shift timings. Just in case, you lose out on patience, there is the Sport mode for more spirited style of driving.

Audi A3

Mentioning of the Sport mode, the A3 Cabrio is not a tarmac scorcher for sure. It does have its zesty share of mood swings and the TFSI does a fine job of creating enough boosts for an engaging drive. Around corners, everything feels very well put and strongly held together. With the roof folded, all the enthusiasm of the motor is felt in real as the breeze giving a realistic feel.

Ideally, the confidence of the standard sedan should have gone down in the Cabriolet but thankfully, that is not the case with the A3 as the overall design and chassis tuning has been done to make sure the agile dynamics of the vehicle is retained and also has some characteristic traits individual to the body type.

Audi A3

Similar to the sedan, the A3 Cabriolet too makes use of Audi’s Drive Select which fine tunes throttle, gear shift pattern and steering response according to the five individual modes. Overall, it exhibits a positive drive experience and is well suited for its character.

Tech specs
Make Audi
Model A3 Cabriolet
Fuel Petrol
Variant 40 TFSI
Engine Capacity 1798
Power in hp/RPM 177 /5100-6200
Torque in Nm/RPM 250 / 1250
Gears 7-DCT
Length mm 4421
Width mm 1793
Height mm 1409
Wheel base mm 2595
Fuel tank capacity L 50
Tyre Spec 205 / 55 R17
Mileage (kmpl) 16.6
Features
Features 40 TFSI
R17” alloy wheels Yes
High gloss package Yes
Exterior mirrors, electrically adjustable, heated and electrically folding Yes
Xenon plus Yes
Automatic Headlight Range Adjustment Yes
S-Line Exterior Package  Yes
Panoramic Roof No
Inlays in 3D-look Aluminium  Yes
 Leather Milano Yes
Door Sill Trims with S Line logo Yes
 Load-through facility Yes
 Folding rear seat back  No
 Smoking package front Yes
Parking aid plus Yes
Delux automatic air conditioning with sun sensor Yes
 Cruise control Yes
 Front center armrest Yes
 Storage Package Yes
Driver information system ( Yes
 Bluetooth interface Yes
Audi Sound System Yes
 MMI Radio Yes
Front airbags, front side airbags, head airbags  & driver knee airbag Yes
 Space-saving spare wheel  No
 Wheel bolts  Yes
 Tool kit and jack  Yes
 First aid kit with Warning Triangle  Yes
 Electronic vehicle immobilization device  Yes
Competition
Specifications Audi
A3 Cabriolet
Mercedes Benz
CLA Class
Variant 40 TFSI 200 Petrol Sport
Fuel Petrol Petrol
Engine Capacity 1798 1991
Power in hp/RPM 177 /5100-6200 181 / 5500
Torque in Nm/RPM 250 / 1250 300 / 1200
Gears 7-DCT 7-G Speedshift
Length mm 4421 4630
Width mm 1793 1777
Height mm 1409 1432
Wheel base mm 2595 2699
Fuel tank capacity L 50 50
Tyre Spec 205 / 55 R17 225 / 45 R17
Mileage (kmpl) 16.6 15.5
Conclusion

With the senses of a sane individual, shelling out Rs 44.75 lakhs on this small convertible of a car might sound totally outrageous but then you might want to take a second look at the A3 Cabriolet. It looks ready to be a weekend getaway or perhaps an excuse for late night coffee at a popular joint inside the city.

Audi A3

The A3 Cabriolet will hold the parking spot quite nicely beside your primary means of commuting. And to make it more convincing, it comes loaded with rich features and best in class comfort. So the next time, you wish to feel nature in real, the A3 Cabriolet shall do the needful.