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Frankfurt show: New-gen Audi A3 Cabriolet arrives

Audi A3 soft-top Cabriolet revealed, manic quattro S3 version on the way


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8 Sep 2013


AUDI revealed the new A3 soft-top Cabriolet over the weekend, two days ahead of its debut in-the-metal at this week’s Frankfurt motor show.

The new model is larger but 50kg lighter than the outgoing version, and offers better fuel economy, a faster roof mechanism and a stiffer body to aid dynamics.

The Cabriolet is the fourth and final member of Audi’s growing A3 model range, joining the existing three-door and five-door hatchbacks, and the new three-box sedan.

An Australian launch will take place in the third quarter of 2014, and Audi says it will be cheaper than its circa-$50K predecessor.

"The new A3 Cabriolet will enter the market in a stronger price position than the previous generation, following in the footsteps of the third-generation A3 Sportback,” said Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle.

Audi has also confirmed it is developing an S3 Cabriolet for launch shortly after the regular versions. This scorching soft-top will use the same 221kW/380Nm 2.0-litre TFSI turbo engine as the hatch and sedan versions, with power sent to all four wheels via a quattro AWD system and six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

The Ingolstadt marque claims its hottest open-topped A3 to date will dash from zero to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds and be capable of using a combined-cycle 7.1 litres per 100km of premium fuel. The ride height will be lowered by 25mm to help in the corners.

Other powertrain options in Europe will include familiar 103kW 1.4-litre and 132kW 1.8-litre turbo petrol powertrains from the rest of the range, or a 110kW 2.0-litre TDI diesel. A smaller 1.6-litre diesel will join at a later date, though unlike the other engines won't come to Australia.

All versions bar the S3 will be front-drive at first, but quattro will trickle down through the range shortly after launch. Audi will offer seven-speed dual-clutch and six-speed manual transmissions, though only the automatic will make it to Australia.

Based on same modular Volkswagen Group ‘MQB’ architecture, the topless A3 grows to 4420mm in length (up 180mm), 1790mm in width (up 20mm) and sits on a longer 2600mm wheelbase (up 20mm). But it’s also 15mm lower, which Audi says lends a sportier stance.

Underneath sits a partial-aluminium MacPherson front, four-link rear suspension system, plus the hatchback’s fuel-saving electromechanical steering system.

Cargo capacity grows by 60 litres and has an easier-access load space. The cloth roof is folded over a magnesium-steel skeleton and can open or close in fewer than 18 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h. When the roof is retracted, Audi says it’s clever design barely impinges on the 267 litre cargo area.

The cabin can accommodate four occupants, and the rear seats fold flat to liberate load space if required. The fascia design is familiar from the A3 Sportback five-door hatch already on-sale. For an extra price, Audi will add more sound-deadening foam to the roof-lining, which can be had in black, grey or brown.

As with the hatch, safety features such as adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist, active lane assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition, park assist with selective display and pre-sense braking are available.

Flagship versions also get a Bang & Olufsen sound system and MMI Navigation plus. The thin seven-inch monitor extends from the instrument panel electrically and the user terminal has a rotary/push button control with a touch-sensitive trackpad.

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