DRAWING inspiration from the new Audi A3 saloon, the all-new A3 Cabriolet made its world public debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The compact class open-top will become available for UK ordering in late October, and will reach its first customers here in March 2014.
To achieve its sleeker profile and provide the capacity for complete soft-top concealment when in open mode, the new compact class cabriolet has grown compared to the previous model.
Its length has increased from 4.24 to 4.42 metres, its wheelbase from 2.58 to 2.60 metres and its width from 1.77 to 1.79 metres. Only its height (1.41 metres) is down on its predecessor, by 15 millimetres. Luggage capacity has also grown by 60 litres (2.12 cubic ft), and access to that space has been improved.
The front of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is characterised by the single frame radiator grille, which is flanked by flat headlamps that can light the way using either halogen or xenon bulbs depending on version, or using optional LED headlamp technology.
The new A3 Cabriolet has a soft fabric roof 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 at speeds of up to 31mph.
When retracted, the top — folded into three layers — rests in a tray that barely affects luggage capacity, which is 287 litres (10.14 cubic ft).
Three newly developed engines will be offered in the Audi A3 Cabriolet at its launch, all placing the emphasis as much on performance as on efficiency.
Elegant lines, clean surfaces and typically uncompromising quality also mark out the interior design of the new cabriolet. The instrument panel is lean and low, with a gently-curved frontal section and a centre console angled slightly towards the driver.
The cabin offers enough space for four adults, and the seatbacks of the two rear seats can be folded down to create a wide through-load area.
By Nigel Wigmore