Even with the road conditions improving considerably open top motoring has not been very popular in India. To start with, in a city like Mumbai the weather gods need to be particularly generous to grant clear, rain free conditions with sub 25 degree temperature. And speaking of gods forget Italian and British with even the German convertibles kissing the Rs 100 lac mark the gods needs to be particularly generous with you as well. No one can control the former but yes something can be done about the latter, here to catalyse your desire of a beautiful open top car that drives well and is easy on the pocket is the Audi A3 Cabriolet.
The front the car is all A3 or I would say typical Audi, you have the signature daylight running lamps which punctuate the four rings on the black grille. Neat lines and creases accentuate its length. Audi does like to make its cabriolets stand out the windshield is framed in silver and paired with the black soft top. Very contrasting yet subtle. Coming to the roof it folds down neatly in a tad under 20 seconds and you can do that while driving upto 50 km/hr so you dont have to pull over for those nasty passing showers. It is as easy as toggling a switch that is on the center console and once the roof is up or down completely the car gives out an assuring beep so you can take on the road ahead.
The car is cute enough to turn heads.
The A3 Cabriolet is essentially a four seater but with the constraining rear seats three tall passengers can be a crowd in it, let alone the fourth one. But it’s a different ball game for the front passengers as the front cabin is comfortably spacious. One thing we particularly like about the interiors is the dashboard – its very inundating for luxury automakers to be minimalistic yet classy but the bright minds at Ingolstadt have done a very fine job,not a knob, surface, or angle feels out of place. A dual zone climate control cools the cabin and it seems to be fine tuned for the soft top, after some top down driving on a sunny and humid Mumbai afternoon the cabin was cooled comfortably in less than a minute.
Popping out from the top of the dash is a 7 inch screen which is paired with the latest version of Audi’s MMI infotainment system. A click wheel which doubles as touchpad provides an intuitive experience for you to control the entertainment, GPS and other functions of the car. The A3 Cabriolet comes with the Bang and Olufsen sound system, oh yes, its the best sound that money can buy. This system has 16 speakers which deliver 625 watts of pristine sound. Yes, it is expensive but when you take the top down, and blast away your favorite track, it is money well spent.
The A3 Cabriolet is available in India only with a 1.8 TFSI engine or as Audi calls it 40 TFSI. It powers the front wheels, generates 180 horses and can take the car from a standstill to 100 km/hr in a claimed 7.8 seconds. The engine is extremely refined, almost silent when idle and even lets out a mild grunt when you push it beyond 4,000 RPM, quiet and noisy just when you need it, making it ideal for top down driving. However the icing on the cake is the 7-speed S-Tronic transmission that it is paired with. We have always been big fans of the fluidic dual clutch system from Audi and this one is no different it is lightning fast, picks out the right gears and teases you with mild throttle blips. Like with most of the Audi cars my only qualm is the steering it is on the lighter side and offers negligible feedback. To put it simply the ride is ‘calm’ and ‘effortless’.
It is not as sharp as other Audi’s when it comes to performance, but it is still a great car.
The Audi A3 Cabriolet does not have any competition in India, sure there is the Mini Cooper Cabriolet but both the cars are in a different segment altogether. Overall the A3 Cabriolet is a beautiful car from the outside and the inside, it drives well, handles well, offers decent tech and along with all this offers top down driving experience at an unmatched price. An attractive price does come with its caveats it was not the manual front seats but the lack of a push button start system that got to us. The 1.8 TFSDI engine is a fuel miser and that along with the start-stop system makes the car easy on the fuel delivering 9.5 kms and 12.8 kms to the litre in the city and highway respectively,
Top down driving is like cruising on a Harley, it has an irreplaceable charm and in someway does signify breaking the shackles. With a car like the A3 Cabriolet that drives well, looks well and is easy on the pocket, there is a good chance of top down driving will come into vogue soon.
|Engine||Turbocharged Petrol - 1798 cc, 4 cylinder|
|Power||180 bhp @ 5100 RPM|
|Torque||250 Nm @ 1250 RPM|
|Top speed||240 km/h|
|City fuel efficiency||9.5 kmpl|
|Highway fuel efficiency||12.5 kmpl|
|Safety||ABS, DSC, Rear parking camera|
|Price, ex-showroom (Mumbai)||Rs 58.12 lacs|