The new Audi A3 Cabriolet.
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet.

Audi A3 Cabriolet starts from less than $50,000

STARTING below $50,000 for the first time, the Audi A3 Cabriolet is fun wrapped in a sexy package.

With the four-rings coming off a record-breaking sales month in June, and poised to soon eclipse 10,000 units, the new drop-top is another alluring offering which will capture attention from the image conscious.

The Hungary-built Audi A3 Cabriolet starts from $47,300, book-ended by an all-wheel drive derivative that starts from $54,900.

There is a choice of Attraction and Ambition trim levels with the option of three turbocharged four-cylinder powerplants, two petrols and an oil-burner.

Base variant Attraction comes with an eight-speaker CD stereo, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, along with front and rear parking sensors, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, auto lights/wipers, cruise control, leather trim and dual zone air con.

Ambition adds Drive Select modes where you can choose between styles such as "sport" and "comfort", colour driver display, sports steering wheel and front seats, as well as groovier five-arm alloys.

While there are optional extras aplenty, five packs offer the best value. One of the finest is the Technik grouping which comes with a larger screen, sat nav, 64GB harddrive, DVD capability and two SD card readers along with a rear view camera for $2650.

For extra safety gizmos over the five airbags and usual technological suite, opt for the pack which includes radar cruise control, lane and blind spot assist for $1800.

Audi also offers a sport suspension option which lowers the body 15 millimetres. It can be ordered individually or as part of the S line sport package.

While growing in size, the new A3 Cabriolet is about 75kg lighter courtesy of various lightweight materials including an aluminum bonnet.

That means it's one agile performer that is more than capable in entry-level guise. For those who stay within city confines or undertake easy highway travels, the 1.4-litre donk is adept in all areas.

While lacking the punch of the 1.8-litre, which is more useful for rapid overtaking and sprints away from traffic lights, the base powerplant is no shrieking violet. No wonder it will account for the bulk of A3 Cabriolet sales.

Those digging deeper into pockets for the diesel won't be disappointed either. It's the most rewarding with 320 Newton metres of twist on tap which delivers instantaneous mid-range throttle response and also lopes along at the national speed limit with consummate ease.  

Audi A3 Cabriolet.
Details: Two-door four-seat front-wheel or all-wheel drive luxury compact convertible.
Engines: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol generating maximum power of 103kW @ 103kW @ 5000rpm and peak torque of 250Nm @ 1500-3500rpm; 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol 132kW @ 5100-6200rpm and 250Nm @ 1250-5000rpm (280Nm on Quattro); 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel 110kW @ 3500-4000rpm and 320Nm @ 1750-3000rpm.
Transmission: Seven or six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 1.4-litre 4.9 litres/100km; 1.8-litre 5.8L/100km; 1.8-litre Quattro 6.6L/100km; 2.0-litre diesel 4.7L/100km.
CO2: 114g/km; 133g/km; 154g/km; 122g/km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 9.1 seconds; 7.8; 7.6; 8.8.
Bottom line plus on-roads: 1.4 - $47,300, 1.8 - $51,900, 1.8 Quattro - $54,900, 2.0 TDI - $51,900.