Audi springs sur­prise

The A3 cabri­o­let ar­rives later than its BMW ri­val, but comes with many ad­van­tages, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Audi A3 Cabriolet -

CON­VERT­IBLES seem more ap­peal­ing now spring has sprung. One of the new drop-tops vy­ing for the at­ten­tion of Aus­tralian sun seek­ers is the new A3 cabri­o­let, which has just ar­rived in lo­cal show­rooms — months af­ter its BMW 1 Se­ries con­vert­ible ri­val touched down.

There are many sim­i­lar­i­ties be- tween the two cars. Both start at about $50,000, seat four and have fab­ric roofs in­stead of the met­al­fold­ing de­signs that are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar.

There are sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences, too. The BMW is rear-wheel drive and has nat­u­rally as­pi­rated four and six-cylin­der en­gines. The Audi is front-drive with two turbo four­cylin­der en­gines avail­able.

The A3 cabri­o­let starts at $49,990 for a 1.8-litre TFSI model that man­ages 118kW and 250Nm.

It does come stan­dard with a du­al­clutch au­to­matic (the same as VW’s DSG) that can be con­trolled with steer­ing wheel-mounted pad­dles. No man­ual is avail­able with this en­gine.

Next up is the $54,900 2.0-litre TFSI, which lifts power to 147kW and 280Nm. The stan­dard trans­mis­sion for this unit is a six-speed man­ual. A dual-clutch au­to­matic costs an ex­tra $2600.

The A3 cabri­o­let, equipped with ei­ther en­gine, is more cruiser than race car. Go­ing from 0-100km/h will take 8 sec­onds in the 1.8 and 7.3 sec­onds in the 2.0, so don’t ex­pect to set any quar­ter-mile records at Calder Park.

Audi has fit­ted the A3 cabri­o­let with a semi-au­to­matic roof. You pull a lever to un­lock it, then the car does the rest at the touch of a but­ton.

A fully au­to­matic lid, with an ex­tra layer of in­su­la­tion, costs an­other $1300 and has been fit­ted to all the A3 cabri­o­let test cars.

Con­vert­ibles are renowned for their im­prac­ti­cal­ity, but the A3 drop­top is an ex­cep­tion.

It has split-fold rear seats, which is some­thing miss­ing from much more fam­ily ori­ented cars such as the Holden Com­modore.

Drop­ping th­ese down al­lows you to carry quite long items in the back and there is prob­a­bly enough room for a bike.

The space has been opened up be­cause the A3 cabri­o­let has steel rollover hoops that sit in place above the rear head­rests.

Cruis­ing: Audi’s spec­tac­u­lar A3 cabri­o­let comes with a semi-au­to­matic roof. A lever un­locks it, then the car does the rest at the touch of a but­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.