true be­liev­ers

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

The 2.0-litre adds 17-inch al­loys, sports sus­pen­sion, rear park­ing sen­sors, front fog lights, sports steer­ing wheel and seats, leather trim and up­graded sound with six-disc CD.

But the devil is in the op­tions list. Metal­lic paint is $1300, a three-layer fully au­to­matic roof also $1300, Xenon head­lights $1900 and adap­tive corn­ing tech­nol­ogy $800.

Lum­bar adjustment for the front seats is $600 and heat­ing $750.

A Bose sound sys­tem adds an­other $1350, mo­bile phone Blue­tooth prepa­ra­tion $950 and nav­i­ga­tion from $4400.

There is more if you start off with the en­try-level car.

What the A3 cabri­o­let does of­fer, whether it’s with the stan­dard roof or the fully au­to­matic, is rea­son­able boot space that can be ex­panded to im­pres­sive by fold­ing the rear seats.

The com­pact fold of the roof means boot space does not al­ter whether the roof is de­ployed or stored away.

The launch drive of sev­eral hun­dred kilo­me­tres through far north Queens­land high­lighted sev­eral things about the A3 cabri­o­let, none of which were un­ex­pected.

The 2.0-litre with its sports sus­pen­sion and 17-inch wheels was a less fussy drive than the smaller sib­ling.

It rode well over some com­pro­mised sur­faces and the en­gine — well proven in VW guise— could rarely be faulted.

The cou­pling with the S tronic gear­box is a treat and af­ter some early fas­ci­na­tion there is lit­tle need to play around with the wheel-mounted shift pad­dles. The box’s Sports mode will hap­pily take care of most en­thu­si­as­tic de­mands.

The 1.8-litre— and the sus­pi­cion is that it was down to the more com­pli­ant sus­pen­sion and smaller wheels— was less set­tled, with more vi­bra­tion back through the steer­ing wheel.

Road noise with the roof down was again a slightly bet­ter propo­si­tion in the top-end car, with less tyre roar in par­tic­u­lar.

All the test ve­hi­cles were fit­ted with the more heav­ily sound-in­su­lated, three-layer op­tion roof and though that was very ef­fec­tive when de­ployed, judg­ment on the stan­dard roof is go­ing to have to wait.

No mat­ter how fer­vently the com­pany may wish it, the rear seats in 2x2 con­vert­ibles are al­ways go­ing to be best suited to kids or the ver­ti­cally chal­lenged.

In the case of the A3, the area is more com­fort­able with the roof off.

But the real is­sue is knee room, par­tic­u­larly be­hind a driver of even av­er­age height.

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