2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet review and pictures

Posted on Friday, 30 November 2007 , 15:11:49 byAngela

Filed under AudiCabriolet

Audi A3 Cabriolet

Sporty, elegant, emotion-packed " the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is making its appearance in perfect time for spring 2008. The open-top Audi A3 is the premium option in the compact class. It offers the sporting genes of the A3 coupled with the uncompromising quality that distinguishes every Audi model. There are four engines to choose from, together with an extensive range of individual equipment options. Sales commence in Germany at the start of February 2008.

Audi convertible models generally sport a classic fabric top " and in the case of the Audi A3 Cabriolet this feature lends its profile a note of harmonious elegance and coupé-like sportiness. Its soft top is notable for its light weight and excellent fit. It can be opened hydraulically in just nine seconds; when open, it takes up very little space. The hood is available in semi-automatic and fully automatic versions, in the latter instance as a specially soundproofed acoustic hood.

The body structure of this premium convertible from Audi contains a high proportion of high-strength, ultra-high-strength and hot-formed steels, as well as a large number of reinforcing measures that provide maximum rigidity and crash safety. Inside, the accustomed uncompromising build quality, attractive design and exemplary ergonomics create an atmosphere of sporting elegance. There is ample space here for four occupants. The rear seat backs can be folded down, increasing the luggage capacity from 260 to 674 litres " whether the hood is up or down!

The A3 Cabriolet is being built in four engine versions " two petrol and two TDI. They combine ample power with impressive efficiency. All of them are direct injection units with turbocharging. The performance range extends from 77 kW (105 bhp) to 147 kW (200 bhp). As an option, the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox takes charge of applying the engine`s power to the wheels.

The Audi dynamic suspension lends the A3 Cabriolet superior agility. It comes complete with responsive electromechanical power steering, which consumes very little energy. The four-link rear suspension combines superb comfort with sporty handling properties. As well as the standard suspension, there is also the option of sports suspension.

Audi is offering the Audi A3 Cabriolet in the Attraction and Ambition equipment lines. In both cases its equipment specification is extensive and the Ambition line includes 17-inch aluminium wheels, sports suspension and sports seats, among other features. An S line exterior package and S line sports package are available from quattro GmbH.

The drivetrain

The A3 Cabriolet is being built in four four-cylinder engine versions, two of them petrol and two diesels. All of them are turbocharged direct injection engines " their designations TFSI and TDI embody technological combinations that blend impressive output with high efficiency. TFSI technology demonstrated its potential over many years in the realm of motor sport " the sports prototype R8 won the Le Mans 24 Hours five times between 2000 and 2005. The Audi R10 TDI added to the string of successes in 2006 and 2007 with its immensely powerful V12 TDI.

The new A3 Cabriolet is available with a choice of two TDI engines " a combination with which Audi already established a trend in 1995; back then, the 1.9 TDI became the first diesel engine in the world to be used for powering a convertible. In the A3 Cabriolet, the smaller of the two four-cylinder engines musters up an output of 77 kW (105 bhp) and a hefty 250 Nm of torque at just 1,900 rpm from a swept volume of 1,896 cm3. The speedometer needle takes 12.3 seconds to pass the 100 km/h mark, and the top speed is 185 km/h. This diesel version uses just 5.1 litres of fuel per 100 km. The A3 Cabriolet 1.9 TDI is available with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The new 2.0 TDI with its displacement of 1968 cm3 displays the strengths of the TDI concept in an evolutionary interpretation " it runs efficiently, powerfully and very quietly. The four-valve engine, which is equipped with two balancing shafts, has been fitted with a newly developed common rail system. Its turbocharger has variable vanes for greater responsiveness and the pistons have acquired an optimised geometry that further enhances the efficiency of the combustion process.

The two-litre engine develops 103 kW (140 bhp). Between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm it generates 320 Nm of torque " enough to accelerate the A3 Cabriolet from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds and up to a top speed of 204 km/h. The 2.0 TDI is content to clock up 100 kilometres on an average of just 5.3 litres of fuel and its emissions already undercut the limits of the future Euro 5 standard. As an option, Audi can supply the high-tech S tronic transmission instead of the manual six-speed gearbox.

Petrol direct injection: injection pressure boosted to 150 bar

The newly developed 1.8 TFSI produces 118 kW (160 bhp) and 250 Nm, the latter across an engine-speed range of 1,500 to 4,200 rpm. An adjustable intake camshaft optimises filling of its combustion chambers and two balancing shafts guarantee plenty of refinement.

Direct injection and turbo technology is the ideal combination for abundant driving pleasure and impressive efficiency. The turbocharger responds extremely fast and the four-cylinder engine is spontaneous, fleet-footed, high-revving and torquey. It accelerates the A3 Cabriolet with six-speed manual gearbox to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds and on to 218 km/h; it accomplishes the EU driving cycle on an average of 7.3 litres per 100 km. Alternatively Audi can supply the sporty S tronic.

Technically speaking, the 1.8 TFSI is a very close relation of the 2.0 TFSI that was voted "Engine of the Year" three times in a row by an international panel of journalists. The two-litre version puts 280 Nm of torque onto the crankshaft from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm, and between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm it develops 147 kW (200 bhp). The 2.0 TFSI likewise operates with an adjustable intake camshaft and two balancing shafts, and its compression ratio of 10.5:1 guarantees high thermodynamic efficiency.

With the S tronic dual-clutch gearbox that is available alongside the six-speed manual gearbox, the A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds; its top speed is 231 km/h. It uses on average 7.6 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.

The engine`s power is directed to the front wheels on all versions of the Audi A3 Cabriolet; the engine versions from the 103 kW (140 bhp) upwards are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The S tronic combines the advantages of both automatic and manual transmission. At high loads and engine speeds, it shifts between its six gears in just 0.2 seconds without palpably interrupting the power flow.

The driver can operate the S tronic by means of the one-touch lever or, in motor racing style, using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. There are furthermore two fully automatic modes available, D for Drive (standard) and S for Sport. The S tronic operates highly efficiently and its electronic management in the automatic mode ensures that the engine runs as economically as possible at low engine speeds. Even the most painstaking of drivers could not accomplish this better.

The dynamic suspension

The light, compact fabric top lowers the overall weight and the centre of gravity of the Audi A3 Cabriolet. This helps the Audi dynamic suspension to realise its full potential.

Audi had recourse to a classic layout for the front suspension " a McPherson design with triangulated lower wishbones. The subframe on which the structure is mounted is made from aluminium. Bolted to the body, it imparts the forward structure with very high rigidity.

The precise, firm-acting rack-and-pinion steering operates with electromechanical power assistance with speed-dependent control. The system does not use energy when the car is driving in a straight line, saving 0.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on average.

The four-link rear suspension represents another technical highlight. Its design principle brings major advantages in terms of handling characteristics because it registers and responds to longitudinal and lateral forces separately. Here again, a subframe connects the suspension with the body; compact coil springs and dampers provide vertical support.

All these technologies are key ingredients of the overall impact made by this sporty convertible. It is infused with the precision and spontaneity that the car delivers with every turn of the steering. The open-top A3 is sprung with subtlety and its steering functions with unshakeable calm. The self-steering behaviour remains neutral right up to a very high handling limit.

Options: sports suspension and large-dimension wheels

For the Ambition equipment line, the A3 Cabriolet is available optionally with sports suspension that lowers the body by 15 mm. The Attraction line comes with 16-inch wheels with size 205/55 R16 Michelin tyres. On the Ambition, 17-inch aluminium wheels with size 225/45 tyres are standard. Audi can also supply four other wheel versions as options, as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The brake system of the A3 Cabriolet likewise satisfies sports standards. The front discs are ventilated and have a large diameter. The pedal feel is direct and spontaneous, and the braking power can be regulated with outstanding ease. Particular emphasis was placed on reducing the braking distance when the stabilisation program (ESP) was being fine-tuned.

The equipment

The Attraction line of the Audi A3 Cabriolet already comes with a semi-automatic hood. Four electric windows and the standard daytime running lights round off the specification. The sporty Ambition line has the distinguishing features of 17-inch aluminium wheels, front fog lights and sports suspension. Inside, the sumptuous equipment includes sports seats, a driver information system, a leather sports steering wheel, a wind deflector and special inlays, upholstery and door sill trims.

The range of options for the A3 Cabriolet includes such convenient items as multifunction steering wheels, deluxe automatic air conditioning, leather upholstery, heated seats and a parking aid. Xenon plus headlights and the adaptive light for cornering illuminate the road effectively in the dark. The storage package for the interior and luggage compartment and a ski and snowboard bag further add to the practical utility of the A3 Cabriolet.

Typically for Audi, the A3 Cabriolet too features a broad range of multimedia technologies. This extends from the chorus CD radio, with four speakers, to the Bose sound system. All audio systems from the concert radio upwards include an interface on the centre tunnel for connecting up an iPod or MP3 player. Two navigation systems " with monochrome or large colour monitor " help with providing directions. For mobile telephony, Audi offers a mobile phone preparation in combination with the audio systems.

Those who are fond of very special features will appreciate the equipment lines on offer from quattro GmbH. The S line comprises an exterior package for the body and a sports package. A third option available from quattro GmbH is the Audi exclusive line.