Audi A3 Convertible

The Essentials

  • Price from £21,180
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 65.7mpg
  • What is it? The Audi A3 Cabriolet is classy, refined and surprisingly practical. It is a touch pricey, though.

Great

  • Good to drive, even with the roof down
  • Has room for four fully-grown adults
  • Looks good, and has the brand image to match

Gripes

  • Fully automatic roof costs extra
  • Hardly a bargain buy
  • Boot is awkward to load
  • Drive

    Yes please! Expect plenty of volunteers for 'designated driver' status

  • Inside

    Comfortable, but take time to navigate the fiddly dash controls and be aware that the roof restricts rear visibility

  • Safety

    Standard stability control is good, but the fabric roof is a potential security weak-spot

  • Reliability

    Hatchback sibling's popularity with owners and reliability record bodes well for the Cabriolet

  • Space

    Cabin has good space for four as long as they aren't too hefty. Boot is a reasonable size, but slightly awkward to load

  • Standard and extras

    All get air-con, alloy wheels and electric windows, but upgrade to Sport for the fully automatic roof and climate control

  • What's it like to drive?

    When you chop the roof off of some cars, they lose a little rigidity, and some of the driving fun goes with it.

    The A3 Cabriolet is still remarkably smooth when it comes to tackling bumps and lumps on tattier roads, and is quite agile when you want to throw it around the corners, too.

    It comes with a cloth roof, rather than a folding metal affair, but Sport trim gets a slightly thicker top that helps keep more road- and wind noise at bay.

    The 1.2-litre petrol is adequate, but not that quick - if it's pace you're after then the 1.8-litre turbo is rapid, with reasonable fuel economy. Those mindful of trips to the pumps will be happy with the smooth and frugal 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesels.

  • What's it like inside?

    It can be tricky to see out of the A3 Cabriolet's cabin from some angles when the fabric roof is up, but the great news is that it folds in just nine seconds and even when you are driving at speeds up to 19mph.

    The boot is a decent if not great size - at 260 litres it is bigger than the VW Golf cabriolet's, but not as spacious as the drop-top BMW 1 Series. The seats fold flat as an added bonus, though. Leave the seats in place and there is plenty of room in the back for two adults.

    The best trim level is Sport, which has a nifty fully electric hood that is operated with just the touch of a button. Go for S Line and the suspension is a bit too firm.

  • How reliable is it?

    The hatchback version of the A3 was rated as below average for reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.

    The Audi gets plenty of safety kit thrown in, but it doesn't get the full-length curtain airbags that come with the A3 hatchback. It does get an alarm to make up for the reduced peace of mind that can come with owning a convertible with a cloth roof, mind.

    There's no Euro NCAP test for the A3 Convertible, and the hatch was last tested on the old scoring system, when it got four stars for adult protection, but just three out of five for child protection.

  • Should I buy one?

    The A3 convertible isn't cheap - you won't get a new one for less than 20,000 - but it holds onto that value well, which is good news when you come to sell.