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Audi A3 Cabriolet road test

By Roger St. Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Enjoy driving the open road with the wind in your hair? Well, as ongoing strong sales of open-top cars like the cabrio version of Audi’s pert little TT roadster evidence so well, our love affair with convertibles continues unabated.

Should you prefer something a bit more conservative in appearance and which can accommodate more people than just the driver and his or her passenger then the same marquee can offer its pretty four seater A3 Cabriolet.

Stretching this car’s footprint has not only provided sufficient room, however tight, for a second row of seats as well as enhanced boot space but tips the scales some 50kg lighter than its predecessor.

Though the UK purchases more convertibles per capita then any other nation, it never ceases to surprise us that most of these vehicles spend most of their life with the hood firmly shut – even at the height of summer.

That’s most likely because of slow and tedious raising and lowering of the roof.

The Audi A3 Cabrio, however obviates that problem with a cleverly designed one touch of a button system that takes just 18 seconds to effect full opening and shutting and that can be operated on the move, at speeds of up to 31-mph.

There’s 275 litres of available luggage space when the roof is down, increasing to 320 litres when it is raised.

Scuttle shake affects most convertibles but the clever MOB platform, now used on cars of this size across the Audi VW group provides a level of rigidity that easily copes with the bumps and lumps our back roads.

Giving a range of options, there are SE, Sport and S-line trim levels, paired with a choice between efficient 1.4 and 1.8-litre turbo petrol and two-litre diesel engines.

The S-line comes with Audi’s well-proven Quattro four-wheel drive system for extra agility but it’s not a car aimed at those in a hurry – just sit back, relax and let the car waft you along.

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