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2017 Audi A3 Cabriolet review, test drive
Jun 19, 2017 by Gavin D'Souza
DETAILS IN BRIEF
  • Make Audi
  • Model A3
  • Edition Cabriolet



Updated convertible not only gets all the cosmetic and tech upgrades of the sedan, but also its smaller petrol engine.

Audi has recently taken a huge gamble with its choice of petrol engine for its smaller cars. It started by introducing the superb new A4 with a teeny 1.4-litre petrol engine instead of the 1.8 from the old car. That ruffled quite a few feathers, but many agreed it was passable, if not ideal, in the A4. This motor worked much better in the smaller, lighter A3 sedan of course, and it's not too bad in the Q3 compact SUV, as you'll see elsewhere in this issue. But this is the A3 cabriolet, where, once again, scrutiny becomes a little tighter. That's because, unlike the sedans and SUVs, this has clear sporting pretensions, and though it's the smallest Audi to use this engine, at Rs 47.98 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it is also the most expensive. Does this new motor pack enough performance for this sort of car? And what else is new?

For a start, like the sedan, there are a few cosmetic changes on the outside. The bumpers are now very aggressive looking, especially at the rear, where a large grey insert gives the impression of a serious aerodynamic undertray. There are also newly designed LED headlamps (optional) and tail-lamps, with dynamic indicators at the rear. And then, of course, there's Audi's massive new hexagonal grille, which really adds a bit more dynamism to the nose. The only detail I'm not a fan of are the alloy wheels, which, though are the same 16-inch size as before, look a bit smaller than the old design.

The all-black interior is almost exactly the same as before, save for a slightly different steering wheel design and a very small equipment change. Where the previous car got Audi's Drive Select drive modes, the new one doesn't, but it does get an auto park feature and a wireless charging bay for Qi-compatible smartphones. It does get the latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment interface, but we'd have liked to have seen the Virtual Cockpit digital dials too; it would have been a nice way to set this apart from the sedan. As before, you get a pair of pretty comfy (albeit not electrically adjustable) front seats, a pair of tiny little buckets at the back that could work for kids, and a surprising amount of boot space, given the folding roof and the size of the car itself.

As for the driving experience, it's still a tremendously fun handler, what with its compact dimensions, well-tuned suspension and sharp turn-in. The steering isn't full of feel, in typical Audi fashion, but it gets the job done. Because it's so compact, you get very little scuttle shake, and though they aren't the most dramatic looking, those wheels and their 55-profile tyres allow the A3 Cabrio to ride really well; perhaps, whisper it, better than even the sedan.


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Technical Specifications

Price range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom price (Delhi): Rs 47.98 lakh

Engine

Type: 4 cyls, 1395cc, turbo-petrol
 
Power: 150hp at 5000-6000rpm
 
Torque: 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm

Transmission

Gearbox: 7-speed automatic

Dimensions

Length: 4423mm
 
Width: 1793mm
 
Height: 1409mm
 
Wheel base: 2595mm

Chassis & Body

Tyres: 205/55 R16

Performance

0-20: 1.63s
 
0-40: 3.00s
 
0-60: 4.54s
 
0-80: 6.80s
 
0-100: 9.50s
 
0-120: 13.71s

Acceleration in gear

20-80kph in 3rd gear: 5.38s
 
40-100kph in 4th gear: 6.84s


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