Audi finally adds an "entry-level" cabriolet to its line-up. The soft-top A3 arrives here in 2008 and is guaranteed to flip your lid.
The A3's body structure has been significantly strengthened and reinforced to accommodate the loss of a fixed roof.
Following Audi tradition, the A3 cabriolet will only be made available with a folding soft top. It can be opened in just nine seconds, and is available in semi- and fully automatic versions. The hood can be raised an dropped at speeds up to 30 km/h - a definite boon in traffic.
The rear seats can be folded down, extending the luggage space from 260 to 674 litres with the roof up or down. Ordinarily, Audi promises seating for up to four occupants.
As for its appearance, the A3 cabriolet adopts Ingolstadt's signature single frame grille, though its lights, particularly the daylight running lights, are inspired by those seen on the more upmarket S8 and R8 models.
While specification and engine details are still being finalised for the local market, the A3 cabriolet will be offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines equipped with direct injection and turbo technology. Outputs range from 77 kW to 147 kW.
The line-up includes the familiar 1.9 TDI and 2.0 TFSI units, along with a new 2.0 TDI and the new 1.8 TFSI with 118 kW and 250 Nm on tap.
Audi's S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox and S-Line sports suspension and exterior package will be offered as options. All derivatives of the A3 cabriolet will be available in front-wheel drive only.
The A3 cabriolet will be available in South Africa from the third quarter of 2008.