Edge your bets

Audi aims the S3 soft-top at those who like driv­ing — as well as fresh air

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE -

SPRING days are best for ope­nair driv­ing, be­fore it gets too hot and burn­ing, and Audi is cast­ing its open-air net us­ing a drop­top with a dif­fer­ence.

It’s the S3 Cabri­o­let, a good looker with a rea­son­able turn of pace and a price tag that won’t break the bank, from $69,300.

It’s not a proper pocket rocket but it has enough go to sat­isfy peo­ple who like to drive but en­joy fresh air first.

It also helps that it steps up and away from a reg­u­lar A3 Cabrio to pro­vide the brag­ging rights that are so es­sen­tial in up­wardly mo­bile jobs and sub­urbs.

Aus­tralia is still de­nied the full 221kW pack­age of the Euro­pean S3 turbo cars but the S3 Cabrio drives tidily and there is plenty of stan­dard lux­ury.

The ar­rival of the S3 Cabrio has been timed for the start of the sun­shine sea­son and the changes to the car, from the reg­u­lar A3 Cabrio and the S3 hatch, are enough to sat­isfy peo­ple who might be crossshop­ping some­thing like a Mini Road­ster.

Be­ing re­al­is­tic, there is no proper, log­i­cal rea­son for Audi to rip the roof off the S3. But it could, so it did, and it works well. The roof it­self has a glass rear win­dow, acous­tic lin­ing and takes 18 seconds to fold or un­fold at up to 50km/h.

Me­chan­i­cally, the lat­est en­gine is 5kg lighter and comes with a big­ger tur­bocharger, the out­puts (210kW/380Nm) fed through an S-Tronic gear­box.

There is an S-sig­na­ture fourpipe ex­haust, an mul­ti­mode touch­screen, xenon lamps, dual-zone auto air­con and sports seats with Nappa leather.

Audi says there is ex­tra strength­en­ing in­clud­ing mag­ne­sium and alu­minium sup­ports, dis­tinc­tive al­loy wheels and other body bling. The S3 Cabrio is a gen­uine fourseater but you won’t want to be car­ry­ing much in the boot. If you do, it could mean — as I found after the gro­cery shop­ping — that the roof won’t fold away.

It’s not cheap at $69,300, but the price is in step with other A3 mod­els in­clud­ing the S3 sedan that landed in May. Against its ri­vals, it’s a rea­son­able price.

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