The Audi A3 Cabriolet has many positives going for it – it’s stylish, and, as with all Audis, it’s very well built. And, of course, it’s a convertible at a relatively affordable price – which is perhaps its biggest selling point. So if you’re looking for a convertible that’s usable in our conditions and yet won’t break the bank, the A3 makes a lot of sense. However, we were looking for more than just making a statement – and so took the A3 out on the track at the BIC to see if the performance matches up to the looks.
At first glance, one has to admit that the A3 Cabriolet is a good looking car. Smaller in length than the sedan version, it still retains good proportions. The sharp styling means that it’s quite a looker. The interiors are up to the usual Audi standards, which simply means that they are amongst the best in their class. However, the interior space is definitely not one of the A3’s strengths – as anyone looking at the car’s overall size would’ve guessed already. While the front seats offer comfortable seating for two adults, the rear seats are more or less only for show and aren’t really suitable for a full-size adult. But, then again, that’s the compromise one has to make for the pleasure of owning a small convertible – as the folding fabric roof, and its mechanism, takes away precious room.
On the track, however, the A3 is quite a hoot. The 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine revs freely, and the dual-clutch transmission offers quick shifts. Because of its relatively light weight, you can throw the A3 around the track quite freely and the chassis responds very well to aggressive driving. However, there’s not much in terms of feel or feedback, so you have to place your trust in the car and push till the stability control kicks in and spoils the fun.
Overall, for some easy fun on the road (or even at the racetrack for that matter), the A3 is quite a decent car – especially since it adds that ‘wind in the hair feeling.’ But, in more practical terms, the real appeal of the A3 Cabriolet lies in the fact that it’s a compact, everyday usable convertible – and one that just as rigid and well built as its sedan cousin. Of course, it’s a niche product – but it’s one that’s actually quite usable and practical at the same time!