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New models - Audi - A3 - Cabriolet range

Audi A3 convertible from $47,300

Drop-top: The Audi A3 convertible has a nifty new lightweight folding roof and a new platform than cuts weight over the old version.

Leaner and swifter new Audi A3 soft-top destined for Australia in June from $47,300

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Audi logo6 Feb 2014

IT WON’T arrive in Australia until June, but Audi has revealed a sharpened $47,300 plus on-roads starting price for its new-generation A3 Cabriolet.

The all-new four-seater sits on the Volkswagen Group’s stretched and widened ‘MQB Convertible’ architecture, bringing weight reductions of 50kg and dynamic improvements over its predecessor.

It also packs a lighter and less intrusive ‘K fold’ canvas roof – the letter refers to the folding pattern – which is stretched over a magnesium and steel skeleton to yield significantly more boot space and bringing an ability to open-and-close at up to 50km/h.

Three turbo powertrains available in other A3s will be offered in the convertible, each with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission as standard.

The entry Attraction gets the 103kW/250Nm 1.4-litre petrol with cylinder de-activation, while the Ambition comes with a 132kW/250Nm 1.8-litre or 110kW/320Nm 2.0-litre diesel. Both of these variants are priced at $51,900.

The petrol version is also available with a quattro all-wheel-drive system at a $3000 premium over the front-drive version, bringing the price to $54,900.

A hardcore S3 Cabriolet will launch after the regular versions, potentially by the end of 2014. This scorching soft-top will use the same 221kW/380Nm 2.0-litre TFSI turbo engine as the hatch and sedan S3s, with power sent to all four wheels via quattro AWD.

The revised starting price is $2600 cheaper than the launch price of its convertible predecessor. Each variant in the new range is $9400 more expensive than the equivalent A3 Sportback.

The starting price is also $6500 cheaper than the price of entry into a BMW 120i convertible. Volkswagen’s Golf Cabriolet, which is based on previous-generation architecture, is $39,900.

Thanks to the MQB platform, the topless A3 grows to 4420mm long (up 180mm), 1790mm wide (up 20mm) and sits on a longer 2600mm wheelbase (up 20mm). But it is 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.

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 and sedan.

Audi Australia has withheld full specification levels until June, but said to expect the features list to echo the equivalent hatchback.

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