I don’t think I could be accused of gender stereotyping were I to suppose that the majority of buyers of the Audi A3 Cabriolet are ladies.
This new model is so good though, I’ll be donning a frock and calling myself Florence. Where the old car was stumpy, rattly, windy and noisy, its replacement is none of those.
For a start, it has a considerably bigger and more spacious cabin (and of the superlative quality you would expect), plus the longer, more elegant body – now made of the VW Group’s ‘MQB’ platform – is remarkably stiff and around 50kg lighter thanks to hybrid steel and aluminium construction.
The cloth roof fits as snug as a bug in a Lycra rug and opens silently in a little under 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph.
When retracted, it rests in a tray that barely impinges on the useful boot, which at 287 litres is space aplenty for the vast amount of make-up needed to transform me into Florence.
Roof up, you’d be hard-pressed to notice you were in a soft top, for there is only a little extra wind noise around the A-pillars, and with the hood down buffeting has been reduced considerably. There are none of the rattles and squeaks of most convertibles either.
A 1.4-litre cylinder-on-demand petrol engine is likely to be the star of the show (but was unavailable to drive) yet the 148bhp 2.0 TDI proved plenty quick enough and surprisingly refined too, even on tickover with the umbrella tucked away.
Like other A3s, the Cabriolet is a competent, easygoing-if-not-spectacular drive, and the sports suspension is best avoided, as on-limit thrills and a hard ride aren’t its thing. Florence is a fine lady, after all.