Audi has finally chopped the roof of the new A3, giving the world a small but luxurious soft-top for next summer.
Deliveries of the open top A3 start as early as April in Europe, where the latest premium compact cabriolet will be available with 1.4 and 1.8-liter TFSI petrol engines or a 1.6 or 2.0-liter TDI, starting at $40,961 (£25,790 - £32,420 in the UK).
The all important roof's fabric is stretched over a lightweight mechanism made of magnesium-steel and opens fully in a little under 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. When retracted, luggage space amounts to about 9.71 cubic feet. With higher trim levels, a more sound-absorbent acoustic soft top with three-layer inner padding comes as standard, while the entry level car can also get that as an extra.
The bonnet is made of aluminum and despite its growth, the new car weights 110 pounds less than its predecessor at 2,998 pounds (Euro spec). Good!
Standard equipment at entry level includes a black roof, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, the MMI radio with a 11 millimeter-thick powered folding screen (which we love), iPod connection, DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth interface, preparation for SD card-based navigation and a light and rain sensor package.
The Sport and S line versions also get the acoustic hood and sit 0.59 inches lower on 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels thanks to the sports suspension. They can also be equipped at no extra cost with the standard suspension if comfort is the priority, while the S line can get lowered by an additional inch.
Sport seats, adaptive damping, dual-zone climate and the high-res infotainment system also come with the higher trims, while the S line's cabin is wrapped partly in leather with embossed logos and has paddle shifters in case you go for the automatic. Xenons, LEDs and the bigger wheels complete the most expensive A3's looks.
In Europe, the A3 starts with the 1.4 TFSI with 140 horsepower and a six-speed manual. Go for the bigger 1.8 engine, and you get 180 horses, 150 mph and a 0-62 in 7.8 seconds. This only comes with the dual-clutch seven-speed auto box which Travis liked a lot in the S3.