The A3 Cabriolet isn’t exactly a sports car, but then it doesn’t claim to be one. Jared tells you why he thinks the A3-cab is just about the perfect open-air driving experience.
Before I get criticized by many of my peers, and a few hardcore car enthusiasts alike, let me just say that I am undeterred – and I stand by my word when I say that in the real world the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is a fantastic, fun, and, dare I say it, a comfortable car to drive. And that’s not surprising, since it is based on the 2014 World Car of the Year. The A3 sedan is also a car in which we drove non-stop (literally, without stopping) from Delhi to Kanyakumari, and back – and we couldn’t think of a better machine in which to do it.
It’s a looker
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet looks great, thanks to a new and more athletic design. The front and rear bumpers make the car look sportier, and its massive hexagonal grille makes it look quite imposing on the road. You also get the option of new LED headlamps, as well as new tail lamps with dynamic indicators – and, lastly, a new set of alloy wheels too. I had the car in bright yellow, and it certainly drew the attention of everyone on the streets of Mumbai – where stares are not very common.
The cabin also gets new seats, with a sport design option, an auto park feature, a wireless charging bay for Qi-compatible smartphones, and Audi’s latest MMI infotainment interface. What’s gone is Audi’s Drive Select, but I didn’t really think it was necessary in this car anyway.
The updates are minimal, but the car looks way better and feels great inside. The biggest change is the downsized 1.4-litre petrol engine, which produces 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. It gets the job done just fine, but, I’ll be honest, it’s not the most punchy motor out there – but that’s not why you’ll be buying this car anyway.
Perfect weekend machine
Putting the specs aside, the A3 cab drives really well. The handling is extremely balanced, and the suspension setup offers a great driving experience. The cabin has plenty of space for the front passengers, and it’s comfortable without an over the top design. That’s the real magic of this car. It doesn’t need to be overstated, and if you push it hard enough you can get your dose of fun. The S-tronic dual clutch is engaging and offers instant shifts no matter how you drive.
The only thing that critics of this car will state is that it’s underpowered, which I think is a rather boring and overused critical point of view. It’s a cabriolet, and if you’re on a highway cruising with the top down you’ll quickly forget about all that. In the city too, it’s great to drive. Plus, the boot is actually quite big as well, so it’s also a very usable car. With its overall compact size, it’s also easy to park and easy to manage in traffic.
The A3 is a good looking, comfortable, attention grabbing, fuel efficient cabriolet that offers both an open air theatre as well as a great driving experience. I mean if you want more power, buy a sports car instead. But if you want a second or third car for that Sunday drive or weekend road trip, the A3 cab is just about perfect.
• Very comfortable
• Quite usable for a cabriolet
• Superb ride quality
• Not the most exciting motor
- Audi A3 Cabriolet
Engine: 1,395cc / 4-Cylinder / 16 Valves / Direct Injection / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed Dual Clutch Automatic / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 148bhp @ 5,000-6,000rpm
Torque: 250Nm @ 1,500-3,500rpm
Price: Rs.48.9 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)
X-factor: The perfect weekend getaway machine – and with decent boot space and a cushy ride, it’s surprisingly usable too.