AUDI DELIVERS BANG FOR BUCK
NOTHING TO BLOW YOUR TOP OVER
THE soft-top of Audi's S3 cabrio can go up or down in 18 seconds, even at up to 50km/h.
So I was told when I first drove one at its launch in Monaco.
Having had experience with various sports cars through the years, including a few years with an MGA, the folding top of which took two men up to 10 minutes to erect, I just had to put Audi’s claim to the test.
It was raining in Monte Carlo but the city has quite a few tunnels, and that’s where I was able to give the S3’s system a whirl.
It was faultless and all it took was a finger on a button. No hooks, no hinges, no leaks, and it had a clear glass rear window, rather than the MG’s yellowed plastic one. Evolution can be wonderful. The S3 cabrio is an interesting car: a two-plus-two with a small boot and a mighty 2.0litre turbo four-cylinder motor that puts out 210kW/380Nm.
That’s 11kW down on the Euro spec but it doesn’t matter, because it still goes like stink and it’ll probably only just have shifted into third gear when the Multanova takes a picture of you.
Transmission is a smooth sixspeed dual-clutch system that feeds all four wheels.
It’s a high-tech drivetrain that can take the fairly heavy droptop to 100km/h in a blistering 5.5 seconds and on to 250km/h, should you be lucky enough to be in the Northern Territory.
It has several driving modes too and gets quite vocal in sport mode, with its quad exhausts giving sharp barks on full throttle upshifts.
Other items that might get some people excited include a multimode touchscreen, xenon headlights, dual-zone auto aircon and Nappa leather on the nicely bolstered seats.
Of course, the Audi behaves impeccably at Perth urban speeds and has a lot of comfort for a car riding on biggish alloys with lo-pro tyres.
All-wheel drive gives it secure passage through the corners, eliminates wheelspin and makes for excellent stability.
The car is beautifully built.
Its efficient engine doesn’t use much fuel (about 7.1litres/100km) at cruising speeds and it’s a very pleasant thing to be in, irrespective of the weather.
It’s priced from $69,300, which is not bad given its pedigree, and there’s a list of optional gear, including a pricey 14-speaker stereo system, which I'd stay away from because it would drown out the rapid-fire bang, bang, bang from those magnificent musical exhausts.
Verdict: Comfort, class and performance in one quickly convertible package.
Audi's S3... a classy cabrio.