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Ever The Optimists, Audi Plan For Spring

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The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Audi A3

Ever The Optimists, Audi Plan For Spring

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
November 12, 2013


Messerschmitt KR200
As we plunge inexorably into the dark heart of winter and huddle around our minimal overpriced heating it is fairly hard to imagine the pleasure of open-top motoring. Not so at Audi. Those eternally optimistic folk at the German manufacturer are looking ahead to balmier times as they open the books for the all-new A3 Cabriolet, which has just become available to order in readiness for first deliveries next April.

Priced from £25,790 OTR, the latest soft-top A3 takes the recently introduced A3 Saloon as its foundation, meaning that its proportions are now not only more beautifully balanced, but also make provision for complete concealment of the fast-retracting powered fabric hood within the sleek new body. A comprehensive choice of engines and an array of technological innovations adopted from the larger Audi models also transfers from the four-door A3.

A soft but extremely hard-wearing fabric roof stretched over a lightweight kinematic (describes the motion of points, bodies and systems of bodies for you science buffs) mechanism made of magnesium-steel opens the new Cabriolet to the elements fully automatically in a little under eighteen seconds at speeds of up to 3mph, and complements the design of the A3 perfectly. When retracted at the touch of a button, the top – complete with heated glass rear window – rests in a tray that barely affects luggage capacity, which amounts to 275 litres. This is an especially good feature.

A second, even more sound-absorbent acoustic soft top with three-layer inner padding is fitted as standard to UK Sport and S line versions of the new A3 Cabriolet and offered as an option for SE models. It is available in black, grey and brown, and its roof liner can be specified in black or lunar silver. In all versions, an active rollover protection system consisting of two spring-loaded plates that are recessed into the body protects occupants in case of a rollover accident. Weight has also been reduced over the previous incarnation thanks to an aluminium bonnet and weight shedding in the interior and in the engines.

In common with A3 hatchback models, the new Cabriolet will be available with a choice of SE, Sport or S line specification. Standard equipment at entry level includes the fully automatic hood finished in black, plus 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, the MMI radio incorporating an 11 millimetre-thick powered folding screen, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth interface, preparation for SD card-based navigation and a light and rain sensor package.

Sport and S line versions upgrade to the acoustic hood and sit 15mm lower on their respective 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels thanks to sports suspension. Both can also be equipped at no extra cost with the SE version’s more comfort-oriented standard suspension, while S line models can be taken to the other extreme with S line sports suspension lowered by 25mm and also available at no cost.

Shared Sport and S line features also include sports seats, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system with five operating modes to fine-tune driving characteristics, dual-zone climate control and a high-resolution colour driver’s information system.

The petrol engine range powering the new A3 Cabriolet kicks off with the highly efficient 140PS 1.4 TFSI linked to six-speed manual transmission. It powers the new premium compact soft-top to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, yet achieves up to 56.5 mpg with CO2 emissions of just 114 g/km. A key contributor to this impressive efficiency is Audi Cylinder-on-Demand (CoD) technology, which imperceptibly deactivates two of the engine's cylinders under part-load. The next step up is the 1.8-litre TFSI, which features impressive headline figures including a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.8 seconds, a top speed of 150mph and a 180PS peak output through a seven-speed gearbox. From next February additional engines, including a diesel, will join the range.

So why not shake off the winter blues and cheer yourself up? Head on down to your local Audi dealer now and place your order in the certain knowledge that in April you will be one of the first to take your top off.



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