Sporty, elegant and multi-faceted – Audi presents the new A3 Cabriolet. The compact four-seater impresses at first glance with its flowing lines and soft top. It is also at the top of its class technically – with systematic lightweight design, new engines, multi-faceted networking and high-performance assistance systems.
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet has grown compared to the previous model: its length increased from 4.24 to 4.42 meters (13.91 to 14.50 ft), its wheelbase from 2.58 to 2.60 meters (8.46 to 8.53 ft) and its width from 1.77 to 1.79 meters (5.81 to 5.87 ft). Only its height (1.41 meters [4.63 ft]) was reduced by 15 millimeters (0.59 in). This gives the four-seat convertible a more elegant and sporty look on the road. Luggage capacity grew by 60 liters (2.12 cubic ft), and it is easier to load. The wheel housings can handle wheels up to 19 inches in size.
The front of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is characterized by the Singleframe radiator grille. The flat headlights give it a resolute look; they emphasize the horizontal styling and the air intakes in the bumper. Audi offers headlights with LED technology as an option; they are the only LED headlights in the compact segment to offer variable headlight leveling control.
The rear overhang plays a key role in the harmonious proportions of the two-door car. The windshield frame is made of aluminum – and an aluminum-look trim strip runs around the entire car. On the flanks, the design features a taut tornado line and contoured sheet metal surfaces that create a fascinating interplay of light and shadow.
The soft top
The new A3 Cabriolet has a soft cloth top that is stretched over a lightweight kinematic mechanism made of magnesium-steel, and it complements the car's design perfectly. At the press of a button, the top opens or closes electro-hydraulically in less than 18 seconds, even while driving up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). In the opened state, the top – folded into three layers – rests in a tray that barely affects luggage capacity, which is 287 liters (10.14 cubic ft).
The fully automatic soft top has a glass rear window and is offered in Black as standard. A fully automatic acoustic top is available as an alternative; it has a thicker inner foam layer which reduces the already low interior noise level of the A3 Cabriolet even more. The acoustic top is available in the three exterior colors of Black, Gray and Brown, and its roofliner is available in black and lunar silver. A wind deflector is standard for the Ambiente trim line, and head-level heating is an option for the front seats. An active rollover protection system protects the occupants in case of a rollover accident. It consists of two spring-loaded plates that are recessed into the body.
In the base version, the car's curb weight is just 1,365 kilograms (3009.31 lb) – the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is around 50 kilograms (110.23 lb) lighter than the previous model despite its larger size and better comfort. Including its special reinforcements, which deliver high torsional stiffness, the body-in-white weighs 30 kilograms (66.14 lb) less than previously; the engine hood is made of aluminum. Weight was also significantly reduced in the interior and in the engines. This let Audi – a pioneer in this technical field – set an impressive best value in the compact class. Customers can choose from 16 different exterior paints for the body.
Elegantly drawn lines and clean surfaces also typify the interior design of the new Audi A3 Cabriolet. The instrument panel is lean and low, its front is slightly curved, and the center console is angled slightly towards the driver. The large, round air vents in jet design, the control panel for the air conditioner and the three-dimensional trim strips bring premium class elegance into the interior. The optional lighting package includes a touch-sensitive switch for the reading lights – a feature being offered for the first time.
As in every Audi, workmanship quality is uncompromisingly high, and the car's controls are simple, intuitive and convenient. It offers enough space for four adults, and the seatbacks of the two rear seats can be folded down which opens up a wide through-load area. The steering wheel and seats are new designs, and the also new electro-mechanical parking brake is operated by a pushbutton on the center console.
The trim lines are named Attraction, Ambition and Ambiente. The S line sport package for the Ambition line immerses the interior space entirely in black. Customers can choose cloth, leather or Alcantara/leather upholstery materials. The Audi design selection lasso brown conveys an exclusive look.
Driving in the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is even more impressive with its highly developed assistance systems. The driver information system with efficiency program and attention assist are already standard features on the Ambition and Ambiente lines. The options program includes adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition, park assist with selective display and various feature levels of the Audi pre sense safety system.
Also extremely attractive is the line-up of infotainment components; at the very top are the Bang & Olufsen sound system and MMI Navigation plus. The super-slender seven-inch monitor extends from the instrument panel electrically. The user terminal has a rotary/push button control that is designed as a touchwheel with MMI touch – the touchwheel’s top surface is a touch-sensitive pad for inputting alpha and numeric characters.
The Audi connect concept aims to network the driver with his or her environment. In the new Audi A3 Cabriolet, this function – which supplements MMI Navigation plus – provides a connection to the Internet, and whenever possible via the fast LTE transmission standard (available starting in November). The integrated WLAN hotspot lets passengers use their mobile devices to surf and e-mail freely.
The system brings Internet services from Audi connect into the car for use by the driver – from navigation with Google Earth images and Google Street View to online traffic information and services such as Facebook and Twitter. The latest service from Audi connect is parking information; it shows available parking spaces in parking and underground garages and parking lots.
The three newly developed engines being offered in the Audi A3 Cabriolet at its launch all emphasize the car's sporty character. The two TFSI engines produce 103 kW (140 hp) and 132 kW (180 hp) from 1.4 and 1.8 liters of engine displacement, respectively. The 2.0 TDI develops 110 kW (150 hp); Other engines will follow – ranging from the 1.6 TDI with 81 kW (110 hp) to the 2.0 TFSI, which will power the Audi S3 Cabriolet with 221 kW (300 hp). All engines in the new Audi A3 Cabriolet combine the technologies of direct injection, turbocharging and a start-stop-system.
On average, the three engines offered at market launch have twelve percent better fuel economy than the engines in the previous model – and they do so while improving driving performance. The 1.4 TFSI, for example, accelerates the new Audi A3 Cabriolet from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 9.1 seconds, yet its combined fuel consumption value is 5.0 liters fuel per 100 kilometers (47.04 US mpg) and its CO2 emissions are 114 g/km (183.47 g/mile). Also contributing to this efficiency is Audi cylinder on demand (COD) technology, which deactivates two of the engine's cylinders in low load conditions.
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet also features state-of-the-art technology in power transmission. At its launch, the 1.8 TFSI is being offered with a seven-speed S tronic; together with the Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system, it offers a free-wheeling function that further improves fuel economy. The 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI are each paired with a manual six-speed transmission. This will be followed by the quattro all-wheel drive system – another new feature and USP of the compact Cabriolet.
The chassis of the new Audi A3 Cabriolet impresses with sophisticated technology that delivers sporty handling, superior vehicle safety and a high level of comfort. Some of the components of the MacPherson front suspension are made of aluminum; the four-link rear suspension handles longitudinal and transverse forces separately. The power steering system features an efficient electromechanical drive.
The ESC stabilization control system integrates an electronic limited slip differential – this makes handling even smoother and safer at the vehicle’s cornering limits while driving fast through curves. The brakes are powerful and durable. Wheel sizes range from 16 to 19 inches, and tire sizes range up to 235/35. Two versions of the sporty chassis are offered; the sport suspension lowers the body 15 millimeters (0.59 in), while the S line sport suspension is 25 millimeters (0.98 in) lower.
High-end options in the new Audi A3 Cabriolet include the Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system (standard on the Ambition line). The driver can use this system to modify engine management, power steering, S tronic and air conditioning operation over several modes. This control also extends to optional systems such as the adaptive suspension control system Audi magnetic ride, adaptive cruise control, adaptive light and progressive steering whose steering gear ratio becomes increasingly more direct when turning.
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet will come off the assembly line at Audi's plant in Gy?r, Hungary, which Audi has expanded with an investment of more than 900 million euros. Sales begin this autumn in Germany, and first deliveries will be in the first quarter of 2014. The base price for the 1.4 TFSI (103 kW with cylinder on demand technology) is 31,700 euros. Many sporty and comfort/convenience options round out the standard features; they include the deluxe key and S sport seats with integrated head restraints and diamond topstitching in the shoulder area.
Audi S3 Cabriolet (preliminary data)
In the top S3 version, which will follow shortly after the car's initial launch, the compact Cabriolet delivers very sporty driving performance. The 2.0 TFSI engine produces 221 kW (300 hp) and transfers 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft. With a six-speed S tronic, the car completes the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.4 seconds. The combined fuel consumption of the four-cylinder turbo is 7.1 liters per 100 kilometers (33.13 US mpg).
The quattro drivetrain operates with an electronically-controlled hydraulic multi-plate coupling. The body was lowered 25 millimeters (0.98 in), and 17-inch brakes are mounted behind the 18-inch wheels. 19-inch wheels are also available in conjunction with Audi magnetic ride. Progressive steering is standard.