You can’t fault Audi for lack of choice. You can get your 296bhp all-wheel-drive kicks in the S3 three-door, S3 Sportback, S3 saloon, and now this: the Audi S3 Cabriolet. It’ll go on UK sale this summer, and cost around £35,000.
Audi S3 Cabriolet: the spec
Using the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-banger to drive all four 18in wheels as the rest of the S3 range does, the S3 Cabriolet doesn’t hang about. It’ll go from 0-62mph in 5.4sec, aided by a fast-shifting dual-clutch S-tronic transmission as standard.
The gearbox is revised from its more humdrum applications elsewhere in the Audi A3 family. Here, it uses shorter ratios for the first three gears for maximum acceleration, and longer top ratios for improved fuel economy. Audi claims the car will return up to 39.8mpg.
>> Click here to see CAR pitch Audi S3 against BMW M135i and Mercedes A45 AMG
This is the first S3 Cabriolet – the last-gen model never got a go-faster version. Thanks to the use of magnesium in the soft-top mechanism and aluminium body panels, the S3 Cabriolet is lighter than you might expect for an automatic, Quattro-drive drop-top: 1620kg to be exact. That’s not the full story, however: the S3 drop-top weighs a porky 225kg more than a basic front-drive Audi A3 Cabriolet.
>> Click here to read CAR’s review of the 296bhp Audi S3 Sportback
You can drop the S3 Cabriolet’s canvas roof in 18sec at up to 31mph. The car rides 25mm lower than a standard A3 Cabriolet, and sports 340mm front brakes, a subtle bodykit, and quad exhaust pipes to signal its intent.
But can it outpace and out-pose the new BMW M235i, which develops a handy 322bhp and has an extra two cylinders to enjoy listening to? Over to you in the article comments below…