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Audi A3 Cabrio at the IAA: soft top and notchback

Stefan Baldauf /Robert Kah
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D he new Audi A3 convertible lays in length significantly and consequently has a longer tail than its predecessor. With an exterior length of 4.42 meters (predecessor: 4.24 meters), the convertible ranks between the three-door model and the latest model in the A3 series, the notchback sedan. The vehicle width of 1.79 meters (plus 2 cm compared to its predecessor) corresponds exactly to that of the notchback A3. At 1.41 meters, the height is about 1.5 centimeters less. The convertible takes over the wheelbase of 2.60 meters from the three-door. Despite the larger dimensions, the cabrio with an unladen weight of 1,365 kg should weigh around 50 kg less than its predecessor, with 30 kg being saved on the body shell.

Audi A3 Cabrio with more space in the trunk

Thanks to the extended rear section behind the convertible top of the Audi A3 Cabrio, the trunk is of course larger. The capacity is said to have increased by 60 liters. This means that the trunk of the convertible now offers space for up to 287 liters of luggage.

As with the previous generation, the new Audi A3 convertible also has a classic folding fabric top. The substructure consists of a mix of magnesium and steel. If the roof is closed, the shape of the notchback variant comes very close. To open the roof, all you have to do is press a button and the structure folds electro-hydraulically within 18 seconds. This should also be possible while driving up to a speed of 50 km /h.

Audi supplies the fabric soft top in black with a glass rear window as standard. Gray or brown can be selected as further colors. An acoustic hood with thick inner foam is optionally available. A wind deflector is standard on board from the Ambiente equipment line upwards, while the headroom heating is only available at an additional cost. There will be 16 paint finishes available for choosing the color of the body.

Rear with 2 foldable individual seats

The design adds the Audi A3 Cabrio fits seamlessly into the series. The front is of course dominated by the single-name radiator grille, which can be flanked by LED headlights if desired. With the exception of the roof, the convertible resembles a notchback sedan from the front to the rear. The windshield with an aluminum frame is a bit flatter, the entire interior including the fabric roof mechanism is made offramed by a trim strip in aluminum look.

The interior of the Audi A3 Cabrio is largely similar to its model series brothers. The cockpit is geared towards the driver. The round air vents, instruments and all controls are already familiar from the other A3 models. In the rear, the convertible offers space for 2 more people in 2 individual seats. The seat backs can be folded down if necessary and provide a wide through-loading space. Audi offers fabric, leather or a leather-Alcantara mix as materials for the covers.

Three engines for market launch

On the drive side, the new Audi A3 Cabrio will be available for market launch in spring 2014 with the two gasoline engines 1.4 TFSI (140 PS, with cylinder deactivation) and the 1.8 TFSI (180 PS). The 2.0 TDI with 150 PS and a little later the 1.6 TDI with 110 PS are available as diesel engines. The Audi S3 Cabrio with a 300 hp turbo gasoline engine (2.0 TFSI) will follow later in the year. All engines are equipped with a start-stop system, the 1.8 TFSI and the S model roll off the production line with the seven-speed S-Tronic, all other engines are linked to a six-speed manual transmission. Audi will offer the Quattro drive with the introduction of the S3.

When it comes to assistance systems, the Audi S3 Convertible will of course be able to use the full range for the A3 series. These include adaptive cruise control, the lane change assistant (side assist), the lane departure warning system (active lane assist), traffic sign recognition, a parking assistant and the Audi pre sense safety system.

Audi A3 Cabrio goes on sale in spring 2014

The other options include the MMI navigation plus infotainment system with a 7-inch monitor and rotary /push button and touch-sensitive input field, as well as a sound system from Bang & Olufsen. As a supplement to the infotainment system, Audi Connect brings the Internet into the car and networks the driver with his environment. And with the optional Audi Drive Select dynamic handling system, the way the engine management, power steering, automatic transmission or air conditioning works can be changed.

Sales of the new Audi A3 Cabrio will begin in the autumn following the IAA. The convertible will be built in the Hungarian plant in Györ, and the first customers will be delivered in spring 2014. The price for the base model Audi A3 Cabrio 1.4 TFSI is 31,700 euros.

What innovations Audi still presented at the IAA, read here.

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