1 Jul 2008
AUDI released the A3 Cabriolet in July 2008.
Based on the second-generation Audi A3 unveiled in 2003, it is a two-door front-wheel drive four-seater employing the basic MacPherson strut front and four-link independent rear suspension that forms the backbone of the VW Golf V understructure.
Audi has elected to eject the fashionable folding hardtop for more traditional folding fabric sheathing a movable metal frame, in the interests of lightness, maximised boot space and overall simplicity.
It employs a new ‘Z-fold’ design, whereby the soft top concertinas into a compact space.
Two roof-powering mechanisms are being offered. The basic system is a powered semi-automatic that requires the car’s occupants to latch and unlatch it, or there is an optional ‘Acoustic Top’ option that also includes two instead of three layers for better soundproofing and thermal insulation, there is a full-automatic roof with an electric ‘latching’ motor.
Audi says the A3 Cabrio has class-leading luggage space, aided by a standard split-fold rear seat, which provides a capacity of between 260 and 674 litres whether the soft-top hood is open or closed.
Meanwhile, over at the front of the car, lives a turbo-charged twin-cam 16-valve variable-valve direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine in either 1.8- or 2.0-litre capacities.
The former is the lightweight 1798cc unit delivering 118kW of power between 5000 and 6200rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1500 to 4200rpm.
Audi’s famous DSG six-speed twin-clutch transmission (known as S-Tronic) is the only gearbox on offer with this engine, but the larger, 1984cc 2.0-litre unit is available with both S-Tronic and a six-speed manual shifter. Its power and torque outputs are 147kW at 5100 to 6000rpm and 280Nm between 1800 and 5000rpm respectively.
Both engines return 7.6L/100km, while the 1.8’s 180 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions is just 1g less than the 2.0 S Tronic and 2g better than the 2.0 manual.
There is a high amount of re-engineering necessary to maintain strength, rigidity and safety levels.
To this end, 54 percent of the Cabrio’s body is composed of high-strength and ultra-high strength steels, integrated as reinforcing in the A-pillars, side sills, floor, doors and rear wall.