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2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet
2015 audi a3 cabriolet
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

MSRP
$35,600 - $38,600
FUEL ECONOMY (CITY/HWY)
23-24 / 32-35 mpg
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2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Slide 1 of 25: 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

2015 audi a3 premium cabriolet angular front
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Expert Reviews

New York Daily News

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet Review and Test Drive

Monsoonal moisture streamed into Southern California, teasing drought-weary residents with a juicy atmosphere, billowing clouds spewing lightning, and the occasional drop or two of rain. It looked and felt Hawaiian outside, so I peeled back the roof of the Audi A3 Cabriolet, streamed some positive aloha-themed tunes via Pandora, and set off across the Santa Monica Mountains for the beach. Driving a convertible, for me, is therapeutic, a tonic for the stress of daily living. The A3 Cabriolet, with just an exception or two, makes for a great rolling stress reliever. And when equipped like my test car, it’s even thrilling to drive when properly set up. Audis are terrific automobiles. Conservatively drawn and tastefully detailed, an Audi appears to be relatively unassuming. Don’t fall for it. Once the driver engages the transmission’s Sport driving mode, switches Audi Drive Select into Dynamic mode, and stomps on the go pedal, even the entry-level A3 Cabriolet will tackle a twisty road with a level of aggression you simply need to experience in order to believe. Reach the beach, disengage Sport mode, set Audi Drive Select to Auto, and you’ll comfortably cruise along the coast getting an EPA-rated 32 mpg. If there’s a chill, it’s easy to power all four windows up using a single switch mounted on the driver’s door. The cabin remains a bit drafty, but powerful seat heaters and an effective climate control system extend top-down driving time. If it’s hot, and you stop along the way for a frosty beverage, keep in mind that the A3’s leather is not solar-reflective, and turns into a frying pan for your legs and butt if you leave the car parked in the sun with the top down. Also, Audi does not offer front seat ventilation for this car; it really needs it. Once you’ve had enough exposure to the elements, raising the car’s power-operated, fabric roof is easy, and can be done when the A3 is traveling at speeds under 31 mph. It drops the same way, and when folded it does intrude upon the already tight 9.9 cu.-ft. of trunk space – something to remember if you’re planning a trip. Or, just plan to use the folding rear seat for transporting belongings; adults won’t want to ride back there for longer than a few minutes, anyway. My “Florett Silver” metallic test car was loaded up, including Prestige trim, a Sport Package, and a more powerful turbocharged engine, bringing the total to $48,400. That’s a substantial amount higher than the base model’s price of $35,600, but the quality of the materials, the substance of the engineering, and the pleasure of driving this more powerful and performance-oriented version appears to justify the additional spend. A single, and rather egregious, exception is the manual seat height adjusters. They feel cheap, and they scrape on the plastic seat base when used, calling into question the wisdom of dropping almost 50 large on a car that doesn’t have power adjustable front seats. This, in combination with the A3 Cabriolet’s lack of seat ventilation, represents one of the few oversights associated with this car. On a positive note, the front seats are quite comfortable, and while grown-ups can squeeze into the back seat, accommodations are tight. Audi ought to use soft front seat back materials to improve the situation. My A3 had the latest version of Audi Multi-Media Interface (MMI), a collection of buttons and switches arrayed around a main control knob on the car’s center console. These controls correspond to sections of the infotainment screen, which rises out of the top of the A3’s simple and elegant dashboard when the car is started. Designed for operation by touch, MMI presents a steep learning curve but becomes easier to use with time. Still, I’m always tempted to look down to make sure I’m about to execute the desired action, and this completely removes the road ahead from view. There must be a better way. New handwriting recognition technology is included with the latest generation of MMI. The touch-sensing pad atop the center controller can read characters as they are added to the system one at a time. It is fairly accurate, and when mistakes are made it is easy to delete faulty character input or recognition. While this handwriting recognition tool is frequently faster at completing a task than is twisting the control knob and selecting characters from the dash-mounted screen, it was far easier and faster for me to simply whip out my iPhone, ask Siri for directions, and get them. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are coming to an Audi near you in the near future, so this handwriting tool might prove short-lived. Once you hit the road for wherever it is that you’re heading, you’ll be glad you paid the extra three grand for the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Based on my previous drive of an Audi A3 1.8T Sedan, the difference in terms of responsiveness and acceleration is very palpable. With 58 additional lb.-ft. of torque between 1,600 rpm and 4,400 rpm, as well as 50 extra horsepower from 4,500 rpm to 6,200 rpm, the A3 is transformed from sprightly to speedy, getting to 60 mph a full 1.5 seconds sooner than the A3’s standard 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Exceptionally refined, and equipped with a brilliantly mapped power curve, this engine never, ever, feels like it’s going to stop whooshing the A3 from one place to the next. Want to know how much fun I had driving this car? Check out my 23.2-mpg fuel economy average. That’s far short of the EPA’s rating for combined driving, at 26 mpg. I’m 95-percent certain that fault rests with my right foot. Aside from a single harsh, delayed upshift while I ran the A3 hard in the mountains, its 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission works exactly as the driver expects it to. Choose the normal Drive mode, or flick the stick down to access the more aggressive Sport mode. The driver can also manually select gears using the shifter or paddles mounted to the steering wheel, and when doing so the A3 executes subtle rev-matched downshifts. Though the A3 Cabriolet feels softly sprung, even with the optional sport suspension, body motions are perfectly managed. The car does lean when rounding fast corners and bob a bit when traversing imperfect pavement, but never in a sudden or uncontrolled way. I’d characterize the A3 Cabriolet as competently concentrated, if not outright sporty. Quattro, combined with sticky tires, delivers an exceptional amount of confidence in a variety of driving situations. The car’s brakes are stout, though they can be a bit grabby when driving around town, making it harder to creep smoothly forward in traffic. Steering is beautifully weighted, crisp and precise, with no light or numb spots throughout the range of motion. In Dynamic mode it stiffens up in a noticeable way, but not necessarily in an unpleasant manner. Taken together, these dynamic traits make it easy to merge with highway traffic, to take intersection corners with ease, and to run down a back road carrying considerable speed. In other words, the A3 Cabriolet might be the least expensive way to get a tan while driving a car with four chrome rings on its grille, but it drives exactly as an Audi should. It also serves as excellent therapy.
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