Competes with: Volkswagen Eos, Mini Convertible
Looks like: Audi kept the A3’s bold shape even after chopping off its roof
Drivetrain: Turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder with front-wheel drive and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive; six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Fall 2014
Variants of Audi’s upcoming A3 are running rampant — three body styles by our current count — well before the sedan’s launch in early 2014. That number includes the all-new droptop A3 Cabriolet debuting at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show; the e-tron plug-in hybrid will be a hatchback, which is scheduled for 2015.
The A3 Cabriolet wears a soft-top with power up and down operation. Audi says the top opens or closes via the electrohydraulic mechanism in less than 18 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. The top folds into three layers and rests in a tray when retracted. Cargo space is 10.1 cubic feet when the top is down, which is more than the Volkswagen Eos and Mini Convertible.
Without a hardtop, Audi shields occupants in rollover collisions with active rollover protection. Two plates spring upward from the body when a rollover is detected. Perhaps most intriguing is the A3’s availability of all-wheel drive with the convertible platform. All-wheel-drive convertibles are rare and a combination our readers have asked about in the past.