2017 Audi A3 Cabriolet Review: Features, Price


The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a fascinating automobile. It’s quiet and comfy with the fabric roof up, much like a conventional A3 sedan, but with the roof down, it transforms into a sleek boulevard cruiser, rolling top down through the crowded streets and attracting observers as you creep through traffic.

This is essentially what cabriolets do – they have a certain mystique about them, but they are not the most practical of vehicles. When we initially drove the Audi A3 Cabriolet in 2015, we found it to be quite practical (with its clever roof arrangement and suitable seating for four).

Fast forward to present, and we’ve just experienced the 2017 Audi A3 Cabriolet, which retains all of the previous model’s positive attributes while adding edgier aesthetics, new colour options, and a significantly different driving experience. Let’s take a closer look at the 2017 model and assess the upgrades.

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Exterior Appearance of Audi A3 Cabriolet

It’s difficult to realise that the foundation of this design has been around for several years when you look at it from any angle. The 2017 model is simply a facelift, with limited but significant stylistic upgrades in classic Audi manner. A new single frame grille and LED headlights with the same kink as the new A4 are among the modifications. The taillights, too, are detailed differently and contain dynamic turn indicators.

Overall, the 2017 model, particularly in its brilliant yellow paint, makes a statement whether it’s still or in motion. Even with the fabric roof, which comes in black, grey, or red, the side profile looks nicely balanced. The roof takes 18 seconds to raise and lower and can travel at speeds of up to 50 kilometres per hour.

Interior Appearance of Audi A3 Cabriolet

The cabin design may appear a little drab, but it’s unquestionably well-made and finished to the high standards you’d expect from a high-end Audi. Dark black patterns, velvety leather, and high-quality materials, such as the circular air vents and switchgear on the centre console, are all positives. The all-black wraparound dash with horizontal lines that heighten the sensation of width has also been preserved by Audi.

Despite the shorter wheelbase, the Audi A3 Cabriolet front seat comfort is on pace with the rest of the lineup. There is plenty of shoulder support as well as decent padding. The under-thigh support is also excellent. The view out when the roof is down, though, is far better; the thin A-pillar, low-set door-mounted wing mirrors, and lack of a B-pillar all combine to allow excellent sight all around.

Because it’s a 2+2, you wouldn’t expect it to seat two full-size adults in the rear, and it’s barely adequate for short trips. Still, headroom and legroom are adequate, and the back seat should be reserved for children. However, the seats are extensively curved and, as a result, provide excellent support for those small enough to fit into them.

To fit the roof mechanism, the boot space has been decreased from 425 to 320 litres, down from 425 litres in the regular A3. Because of the enclosure’s lack of height and depth, it is now impossible to fill it with large suitcases, despite its broad aperture.

Wireless phone charging and full LED lighting are new features for the 2017 Audi A3 Cabriolet. It also has dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, and an MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch retractable screen. However, it lacks features such as a start/stop button, keyless entry, and electric seat adjustment.

Driven By Results

When you look behind the hood of the new A3 Cabriolet, you’ll see the largest difference. The original 1.8-litre 177bhp engine has been replaced with a smaller but more powerful 1.4-litre one that produces 150bhp and 250Nm of torque between 1,500 and 3,000rpm. This 1.4 motor, which produces similar torque to the 1.8, is particularly interesting since it features cylinder-on-demand technology, which shuts down two of the four cylinders when you’re just walking around. Then, as you press down on the accelerator, all four cylinders fire up for maximum power.

The 1.4-litre engine is a blast to drive, with a scratchy tone that gets stronger as the revs rise. When the roof is down, the same engine that is rather quiet under the hood of the A3 sedan becomes a bit of a screamer.

The powertrain is surprisingly quick around town, with considerable pulling power starting at around 2,000rpm. It produces the same amount of torque as the 1.8-litre engine and is also rather sporty at the high end. When fitted with our timing equipment, the car ran from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 9.65 seconds, then touched 150 kilometres per hour in 22.39 seconds before reaching its top speed of 220 kilometres per hour.

The 1.4 can’t match the bigger motor during in-gear acceleration; despite the engine’s excellent mid-range and top-end, it doesn’t pull as hard as the older car. The 1.4-litre motor feels more linear and easygoing in its operation than the 1.8-litre motor, which pushed you back in your seat. To put it another way, the 2017 model runs in-gear sprints of 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph (in kick-down) in 5.36 and 6.69 seconds, respectively.

The 7-speed S-tronic gearbox has two modes: D and S, and shifting to S causes the gearbox to hold higher rpm and shift up near the redline at around 6,000rpm. This gearbox continues to dazzle us with its ferocity and responsiveness, as well as its buttery smooth operation. However, in stop-and-go traffic, it might become confusing and choppy. During hard launches, we also noticed a delay in the gearbox delivering torque to the front wheels.

The new Audi A3 cabriolet car pleased us in terms of performance, and the Cabriolet is no exception. After getting behind the wheel, it was evident that this was a very tight and well-executed drop top. With the fabric roof up, there is no squeaking, rattle, or shimmy to be heard or felt, even on terrible roads. When you remove the top, there’s no scuttle shake or juddering to deal with.

Even more impressive is the Audi’s ride quality. Its suspension, which rides on very high profile tyres, handles bumpy roads admirably, and the entire car remains well planted – something not every convertible vehicle can say. We found it failed to impair the car’s equilibrium with little vertical movement and roughness while driving over some very sharp-edged road joints and pot holes. When driving with the roof up at high speeds, however, there is some wind noise from around the rear quarter glass.

The steering, on the other hand, is light through town and surprisingly direct, with a great amount of feel and input. Although there is some body roll when you want to clear your head with some vigorous driving, the A3 maintains its composure and never seems unsettling, even when you’re close to the limit of grip.

Conclusion of Audi A3 Cabriolet

Despite being based on Audi India’s entry-level sedan, the audi A3 Cabriolet is a long way from the company’s mainstream products. It’s a niche product with little competition, priced at Rs 47.98 lakh ex-showroom. The closest 2-door convertible in terms of price is the Mini Cooper, which costs a lot less at Rs 34.90 lakh, but it’s nowhere like as practical or well-built as the A3.

The audi A3 Cabriolet should be near the top of the list for those seeking the unrivalled joy of driving under the sun, with boundless headroom and the ‘wind rush,’ thanks to its willing powertrain, superb cabin, and sleek roof. We wish the 2017 model came with additional features, but when it looks this nice and draws so many people’s attention, it’s safe to say Audi has delivered on something that will appeal to the target buyer exactly as planned.

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