When Audi’s A3 sedans were introduced, they offered the latest in progressive technology at a competitive price, without sacrificing any luxury appointments, design appeal or performance capability. The 2015 Audi A3 lineup initially consisted of two sedan models based on the VW Golf and featuring two engine variants, a singular transmission offering, and two drive configurations. The base model A3 sedan is powered by a 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with TFSI® turbo direct injection that produces 170 horsepower from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm, while developing 200 pound feet of torque from 1,600-4,400 rpm. A more upscale A3 sedan’s energy comes from a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with TFSI® turbo direct injection that delivers 220 horses in a range from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm while generating 258 pound feet of torque from 1,600-4,400 rpm. Engines are mounted forward in a transverse orientation. Now a convertible has been added to the A3 stable in the form of the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.8T FWD||$35,600.||$42,225.||170 @ 4,500-6,200 rpm200 @ 1,600-4,400 rpm|
|EPA Rating||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||24 mpg city / 35 mpg highway||Not tested|
EPA mpg estimates (city/hwy/comb.) range from 24/32/26 for the 2.0-liter TFSI to 24/35/28 for the 1.8-liter TFSI, and 0-60 times range from 5.9 seconds (2.0 TFSI) to 7.4 seconds (1.8 TFSI). Curb weights range from 3,173 lbs. (1.8 TFSI) to 3,583 lbs. (2.0 TFSI)
Ultimately, there will be a total of seven A3 model variants in four body styles, with five unique engine choices – the new Audi A3 Cabriolet, an A3 TDI® clean diesel, the high-performance, 292 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder S3 Sedan and coming soon, the A3 Sportback e-tron® gasoline electric hybrid with a PHEV emissions rating. and a FWD hatchback with diesel and hybrid powertrains available.
We’ll deal here with the new Audi A3 Cabriolet which is available with the same two engine variants first introduced in the coupes, the same transmission – a 6-speed S tronic® dual clutch automatic – both models will gear power from their engines to the driving wheels via a six-speed S tronic® dual clutch automatic transmission, with the 1.8T model in FWD with no paddle shifters, while the 2.0T A3 features Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, with the transmission featuring steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The same drive configurations are available as well – FWD or Quattro, Audi’s permanent all-wheel drive system. The A3 Cabriolet is available in three trim levels: Premium, which starts at $35,600; Premium Plus, starting at $38,150; and the A3 Prestige model, which begins at $44,050.
The A3 Cabriolet’s top can be opened or closed electro-hydraulically in approximately 18 seconds while driving at a speed of up to 31 mph at the press of a button.
All A3 models feature every aspect of Audi’s expertise found in the full size Audi luxury vehicle lineup, making that technology available in an affordable premium compact vehicle including: Audi side assist; Audi drive select; Bang & Olufsen® audio; and MMI® touch. Audi’s connect® system achieves an all-new level with faster connections and faster, state-of-the-art graphics. External dimensions for all A3 Cabriolet trims are shared, as is the exterior styling, which features all-new sheet metal.
The exterior of the Audi A3 Cabriolet was completely redesigned, and tailored specifically for the American marketplace, displaying a compact, but very sporty persona. The signature Singleframe® trapezoidal grill leads off the sleek and aerodynamic profile, which presents a low, stealthy image.
The Audi A3 Cabriolet interior reflects the athletic exterior, exhibiting a “wraparound” dash design that incorporates an innovative three-dimensional inlay concept, which surrounds both the driver and front passenger. The craftsmanship of the A3 along with the exceptional fit and finish abound throughout the cabin.
Technology abounds as well, raising the bar to new heights for what is normally expected from entry-level luxury vehicles. The A3 marks the first time that an A-segment vehicle offers MMI® technology, Audi drive select, 4G LTE connectivity and Bang & Olufsen audio (an optional 705 watt, 14-speaker system is available from Bang & Olufsen). The MMI operating system features an electronically extending screen that is housed in the console of the center dashboard. A touchpad is now offered, which is incorporated into the rotary MMI control wheel. A NVIDIA graphics-processing unit generates complex 3-D images utilized in all online voice control, media navigation and telephone functions. The latest and most advanced version of Audi connect® allows for optimum social networking and connectivity.
The Audi A3 Cabriolet also offers as standard, Audi’s pre-sense basic system, as well as an optional advanced technology package that includes: Audi active lane assist and Adaptive cruise control with stop and go. Audi’s Drive Select system enables the driver to make adjustments to throttle response, shift points, as well as the electromechanical steering effort through its four settings: Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Individual.
Suspension componentry consists of a MacPherson strut design up front with aluminum A‐arms and a stabilizer bar. Pivot bearings are joined to an aluminum subframe. In the rear is a Four-link system utilizing a steel crossmember, with springs and shock absorbers mounted separately. Braking is accomplished through a power hydraulic assisted, dual circuit four-wheel disc system (vented front) with a diagonal split, ESP with EBD, ABS; brake servo with dual-rate function, and electronic differential lock.
My test Audi A3 Cabriolet was a FWD version, in Premium Plus trim with the 1.8-liter TFSI four cylinder as the driving force. It was sprayed with a Scuba Blue exterior finish, while the interior was executed in Chestnut Brown with Charcoal accents. The base sticker was set at $35,600., while adding the Audi MMI Navigation Plus; and the Destination charge, elevated the final tally to $42,225.
SUMMARY: The 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet represents the epitome of the class that it falls into. It is visually attractive and appealing, with a sporty aura. It is also available at a very attractive price, especially when taking into consideration its feature and equipment inventory, and its performance capability.
The 1.8-liter, turbocharged, direct injection engine delivers more than satisfactory doses of acceleration on demand, and the 6-speed S tronic gearbox shifts smoothly up and down, whether in automatic or manual mode.
The seating is both comfortable and supportive, the handling characteristics sporty and precise, and the ride quality is pleasingly compliant without undue harshness. The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a delight to drive, whether simply cruising or prodding with gusto. In the final analysis, it leaves virtually nothing to be desired from an entry-level luxury convertible, and it will surely prove to be highly competitive in its market segment, considering its exceptional superiority in terms of price and standard equipment and features. It is unquestionably a highly desirable sedan in either of its model offerings. I found the 1.8T to be much more than adequate, but should one require a higher level of performance, the 2.0T is available to up the ante. Best of all, either A3 Cabriolet encourages a sunny disposition with open-air motoring.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet a Buy It! for stylish open-air motoring.
Check out the 2015 Audi A3 1.8T sedan in Colorado!
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.8T FWD S tronic
Base Price: $35,600.
Price as Tested: $42,225.
Engine Type and Size: 1.8-liter DOHC, 16-valve TFSI turbo direct injection
Horsepower (bhp): 170 @ 4,500-6,200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 200 @ 1,600-4,400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed S tronic® dual clutch automatic.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front -MacPherson strut design with A‐arms and aluminum and stabilizer bar.
Pivot bearings joined to an aluminum subframe.
Rear – Four-link, utilizing a steel crossmember, with springs and shock
absorbers mounted separately.
Brakes: Hydraulic power-assisted dual circuit four-wheel disc system (vented front) with a
diagonal split, ESP with EBD, ABS; brake servo with dual-rate function, and
electronic differential lock.
Tires: ContinentalProContact 225/40 R18 92H M&S mounted on10-spoke (5-liong / 5-short
alternating) silver painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 103.8 inches
Length Overall: 175.4 inches
Width: 77.2 inches – with mirrors
Height: 55.5 inches
Curb Weight: 3,373 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.1 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 24 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.30
0 – 60 mph: 7.4 seconds – Top speed electronically limited to
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.