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Audi models, news & reviews
By the CAR road test team
19 February 2008 11:21
The A3 has been with us since 1996, while the second-generation model arrived back in 2003. Yet this is the first time a cabriolet has been offered, and it’s incredibly late in the model cycle. The official line is that Ingolstadt has been struggling to meet demand – it produced 231,000 A3s in 2007 alone – but that the bottleneck has now been eliminated, paving the way for the cabriolet.
But Audi won’t have the niche to itself. Almost simultaneously, BMW is launching the A3 soft-top’s only direct rival: the 1-series convertible.
There are two petrols and two diesels to choose from, all turbocharged and featuring direct injection: in the petrol corner there’s a 158bhp 1.8-litre petrol complemented by the 197bhp 2.0-litre engine already found in the Golf GTI; oil burners come in 103bhp 1.9-litre or 138bhp 2.0-litre trim. The S-tronic paddleshift gearbox is offered throughout the range. Sixteen-inch wheels come as standard fit, while Sport spec introduces 17s plus sports seats and a 15mm reduction in ride height. There’s also the option of 18in alloys and the S-Line trim pack with its bolder grille and bumper treatment.
CAR drove every model bar the 1.9-litre diesel which was wasn’t available at the launch.
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Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0T Sport (2008) CAR review
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This car reminds me, from the rear, of the Fiat Punto convertible from the mid-1990's. I don't like it - at all. I'm not sure where Audi are going lately - they used to be solid, understated and classy, but lately I feel they are becoming 'tarty' and flasy and a bit 'blingish'. The big grille and those awful LED driving lights on the bloated new A4 do not appeal to me at all. I think the 3 series and is a much neater and classier looking car.
03 March 2008 04:52
Awful car from an increasingly awful brand.
29 February 2008 12:54
..or try a 1-series convertible!
This is the ultimate updated Golf 3 convertible with Mini roll-bars instead of the shopping basket handle from back then. Don't like it. 'Yuck' is about right. OK it's not as awful as the 307/8 & Focus CC's, an EOS is on a paar, but the Baby Beemer must surely be the way to go in this market segment.
21 February 2008 19:56
Audi A3 Cabriolet
At 1st, I just couldn't see the point. The A3 has been around for several years now so why produce a Cabrio this late into a product life cycle? Also, for a few grand more there is the TT, which is better to drive and a lot better looking. But then after thinking about it for a while it seemed to make more sense.
There is obvious demand for convertible cars [Especially in the UK], that's a given. But, if you want 4 seats and wind in your hair and a premium badge then currently there is only the A4 Cabrio, BMW 3-Series CC and Merc CLK. The Merc & A4 are cars that are looking past there sell-by date and considerably more expensive than the A3 cabrio, while the BM is way too expensive. Also, while the TT is seen as a better car, it is very similar to this car in terms of it's oily bits.
So in effect, this is a 4 seat TT for less money. It doesn't look as good as a TT, but it still has the Audi badge on the front which in itself means a better image than say a Focus CC. So, it has a good brand, is a decent drive, seats 4, has a decent sized boot and it looks different enough from the standard A3 for it to be produced for years to come. Clever stuff Audi.
19 February 2008 22:25
This is the first time I can recall anyone at "Car" recommending a manual shifter over a semi-automatic in ages.
19 February 2008 14:47
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