The open-top Audi A3 is the premium option in the compact class. It couples the sporting genes of the A3 with the uncompromising quality that distinguishes every Audi model. Five engines and a wide array of individual extras are available to choose from.

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The body structure of this premium convertible from Audi contains a high proportion of high-strength, ultra-high-strength and hot-formed steels, as well as a large number of reinforcing measures to provide maximum rigidity and crash safety. Inside, the customary superb build quality, attractive design and exemplary ergonomics create an atmosphere of sporting elegance. There is ample space here for four people. The rear seat backs can be folded down to increase the luggage capacity from 260 liters (9.18 cubic feet) to 674 liters (23.80 cubic feet) – whether the top is up or down!

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The A3 Cabriolet is available with five engine options, comprising two economical TDI diesels and three high-efficiency gasoline-fueled units: the 1.9 TDI with 77 kW (105 hp), the 2.0 TDI with 103 kW (140 hp), the 1.6 with 75 kW (102 hp), the 1.8 TFSI with 118 kW (160 hp) and the 2.0 TFSI with 147 kW (200 hp). Four of them have direct fuel injection and are turbocharged.

Full details after the jump.

Sporty, elegant, emotion-packed – the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is making its appearance in perfect time for spring 2008. The open-top Audi A3 is the premium option in the compact class. It offers the sporting genes of the A3 coupled with the uncompromising quality that distinguishes every Audi model. There are four engines to choose from, together with an extensive range of individual equipment options. Sales commence in Germany at the start of February 2008.

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Audi convertible models generally sport a classic fabric top – and in the case of the Audi A3 Cabriolet this feature lends its profile a note of harmonious elegance and coupé-like sportiness. Its soft top is notable for its light weight and excellent fit. It can be opened hydraulically in just nine seconds; when open, it takes up very little space. The hood is available in semi-automatic and fully automatic versions, in the latter instance as a specially soundproofed acoustic hood.

The body structure of this premium convertible from Audi contains a high proportion of high-strength, ultra-high-strength and hot-formed steels, as well as a large number of reinforcing measures that provide maximum rigidity and crash safety. Inside, the accustomed uncompromising build quality, attractive design and exemplary ergonomics create an atmosphere of sporting elegance. There is ample space here for four occupants. The rear seat backs can be folded down, increasing the luggage capacity from 260 to 674 litres – whether the hood is up or down!

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The A3 Cabriolet is being built in four engine versions – two petrol and two TDI. They combine ample power with impressive efficiency. All of them are direct injection units with turbocharging. The performance range extends from 77 kW (105 bhp) to 147 kW (200 bhp). As an option, the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox takes charge of applying the engine’s power to the wheels.

The Audi dynamic suspension lends the A3 Cabriolet superior agility. It comes complete with responsive electromechanical power steering, which consumes very little energy. The four-link rear suspension combines superb comfort with sporty handling properties. As well as the standard suspension, there is also the option of sports suspension.

Audi is offering the Audi A3 Cabriolet in the Attraction and Ambition equipment lines. In both cases its equipment specification is extensive and the Ambition line includes 17-inch aluminium wheels, sports suspension and sports seats, among other features. An S line exterior package and S line sports package are available from quattro GmbH.

The Exterior Design

Audi’s decision in favor of the classic soft top brings with it many advantages. The most obvious is evident at first glance – in the design. Thanks to the top’s compact folding design, the Audi designers were able to create a four-seater whose sleek harmonious lines stand out.

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With its top down, the Audi A3 Cabriolet is lean and light; with a closed top, it radiates the elegance of a coupe. Measuring 4,238 millimeters (13.90 ft) in lengt , 1,765 mm (5.79 ft) in width and 1,424 mm (4.67 ft) in height, the A3 Cabriolet ranks among the sporty compact convertible models in its competitive field. With a closed top and depending on the engine and tires fitted, it has a low drag coefficient of 0.33 or 0.34.

The strong presence of the A3 Cabriolet sets the scene in typical Audi fashion. The interplay between the curved surfaces gives the body the character of a sculpted athlete. Striking, forward-penetrating lines embrace these surfaces. The horizontal dynamic line above the sill and the rising shoulder line visually elongate the car body.

The engine hood and the front fenders together with their exciting curves form an intricate image. In typical Audi style, the large single-frame grill encased by a chrome bar dominates the self-assured face of the A3 Cabriolet. The air slots under the grill and the large grill openings in which the optional front fog lights are located hint at the power of the engine.

Craftsmanship: the headlights

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Even the headlights attract the attention of passers-by. Their precise design puts them in the ranks of technical craftsmanship and embodies Audi’s vision of perfection. The A3 comes with the choice of powerful H7 lights or with xenon plus lights; the latter can be integrated to operate with adaptive light, the dynamic cornering light technology. The “wing” – a chrome vapor-coated plastic contour – has become a typical Audi feature. With the halogen headlights, the wing borders both lights while keeping them separate; with the xenon plus headlights, it emphasizes the upper line.

Daytime running lights – an important safety innovation from Audi – are integrated in both headlight designs as light strips. With the H7 lights, the daytime running lights are powered by long-lasting bulbs in the lower area of the headlights; with the xenon plus lights, the daytime running light comprises seven white light-emitting diodes that are positioned above the wings.

Audi has also developed a new, unmistakable look for the rear lights. They have a flat, broad design and wrap from the side of the car around to the tailgate. Fiber optic rods – plastic rods that are powered by LEDs – generate a sweeping band of light in the dark, similar to the A6 Avant. At the same time, this technology provides a particularly exact light pattern.

A distinctive trailing edge increases its stability and, together with a diffuser panel, adds a strikingly dynamic touch to the rear view.

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When viewed from the side, the athletic body of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is especially apparent. Prominent wheel arches house the large wheels. In the Attraction equipment line, the car is equipped with 16-inch wheels; in the Ambition version, the wheels measure 17 inches in diameter and are made of cast aluminum. 18-inch wheels are available as an option from quattro GmbH. The front-angled roll bar and the exterior mirrors, in whose housing the side indicators are integrated, provide eye-catching features. All four side windows go down all the way so as not to disturb the lines when the top is down.

Audi manufactures the A3 Cabriolet in 15 colors: three solid paint finishes and twelve metallic/pearl effect shades. The solid paint finishes are Ibis White, Brilliant Red and Brilliant Black, the metallic colors are Ice Silver, Amethyst Gray, Liquid Blue and Dakar Beige, and the pearl effect paint finishes are Condor Gray, Meteor Gray, Phantom Black, Garnet Red, Glass Blue, Aruba Blue, Deep Sea Blue and Deep Green. The colors Glass Blue and Amethyst Gray are new. The latter is available exclusively for the A3 Cabriolet.

The 15 paint finishes can be combined with three hood colors: black, blue and red. On request, Audi also offers the aluminum look in the form of radiant aluminumlook roll bars and decorative strips on the door handles. The surrounding window molding as well as the hood end strip are made of aluminum.

The Convertible Top

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Audi has remained true to its successful line: The new A3 Cabriolet also has a classic fabric top. It perfectly harmonizes the original, authentic notion of open-air driving with the feeling of carefree lightness. The top has an intricate design. At 218 cm (7.15 ft) long, it exceeds the soft top of the Audi A4 Cabriolet – which is 199 cm (6.53 ft) long – considerably in length.

The top keeps its shape thanks to the mechanically movable metal frame that gives an excellent, close fit and the silhouette of a coupe. A large heated rear window ensures excellent rear visibility.

The Audi convertible top comes in two versions: a semi-automatic soft top with two layers and fully automatic, three-layered acoustic top. The semi-automatic version has a central handle for locking and unlocking; in the fully automatic version an electric motor performs this task.

In both versions, a high-pressure pump and two hydraulic cylinders move the top. They open the soft top extremely quickly in nine seconds and close it in eleven – a short stop at a traffic light is sufficient for this process to be completed. The acoustic top can be opened and closed while driving up to 30 km/h (18.64 mph) – very convenient when driving in city traffic.

The Z fold saves space

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When the top is opened, the soft top folds down into a Z-shape, thus taking up very little space. When folded down, the header at the front of the top – which is a board – rests flush with the car body and is hydraulically locked in place. It forms a sturdy cover for the soft top, which is why the car comes without a tonneau cover and without a soft top box cover. The folded-down top rests in a compact steel metal compartment with a slanted floor, which takes up very little space in the trunk.

A switch for opening and closing the top is located on the center console. All four power windows can be individually operated as usual, but they can also be opened and closed simultaneously via a central switch. The top can be conveniently opened and closed from the outside by actuating the door lock with the ignition key; if opened and closed, the side windows automatically drop down a bit. The fully automatic soft top is designed as an acoustic top. Between the outer skin and the inner lining, which completely covers the metal frame, there is a mat six millimeters (0.24 inches) thick that is made up of three layers. It further improves the thermal insulation and soundproofing. At a speed of 140 km/h (86.99 mph) with 71 dB (A), it is just one dB (A) louder in the Audi A3 Cabriolet interior than in the hardtop A3. The interior headlining comes in black or silver.

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In the Ambition line, Audi provides as standard a wind deflector that can be mounted above the back seats. Thanks to its intelligent design, it can be opened up in just a few steps and easily used from one side. The fabric selection guarantees maximum freedom from drafts with the largest possible view to the back. Unused and folded down, the wind deflector can be packed into a bag that takes up very little space in the trunk.

The body

Audi has made no compromises in the design of its car when it comes to safety and torsional rigidity. A comprehensive package of design features provides the body of the A3 Cabriolet with its rigidity. These features ensure that the convertible Audi operates precisely, agilely and comfortably like the three or fivedoor A3 models. 54 percent of the body consists of high-strength and ultra-highstrength steels, which combine low weight with maximum rigidity and are integrated as reinforcing profiles in the A-post, side sills, floor, doors and back wall. V-shaped braces arranged in the subfloor as well as an aluminum frame additionally brace the front and rear ends.

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A box-shaped steel structure separates the passenger compartment and the trunk. The roll bars made of high-strength, hot-formed steel tubing are bolted into this structure. Optimal rollover protection is achieved with the aid of the reinforced Apost. The A3 Cabriolet also is well-equipped in terms of passive safety. Longitudinal supports with defined deformation absorb energy in the front and rear of the car. Strong profiles in the doors protect passengers in case of a side collision. Sensors that respond to changes in the air pressure activate the head-thorax side airbags that are integrated into the backs of the front seats. The full-size airbags receive their signals from the early responding upfront sensors in the front of the car. In the event of a rear-end collision, the integrated head support system ensures that the rebounding head is effectively cushioned early.

Four three-point belts – the front ones with tighteners and seat-belt load limiters – round out the package of occupant restraint systems. In case of a collision, pedestrians are protected by the flexible design of the front bumper and engine hood. For small passengers in the A3 Cabriolet, Audi has included Isofix child seat mountings for the back seats as part of the standard specification. Front Isofix mountings can optionally be supplied along with a front passenger airbag that can be deactivated.

Audi has remained faithful to its successful line: the new A3 Cabriolet likewise has a classic fabric top. This blends in perfectly with the original, authentic idea of open-top driving and the feeling of carefree agility. The hood keeps its shape thanks to the mechanically moved metal linkage, which assures an excellent close fit, perfect tightness and the silhouette of a coupé. A large, heated glass rear window affords a good view to the rear.

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Audi can supply the fabric top in two versions – the semi-automatic soft top and the fully automatic acoustic hood. In both cases the hood is moved by a high-pressure pump with two hydraulic cylinders. They open the large soft top in an extremely rapid nine seconds. This means that even a short stop at traffic lights is long enough to complete the process.

When lowered, the hood is folded up in a Z-pattern so that it takes up a minimum amount of space. The header – a board at its front edge – comes to rest on top, basically flush with the body, with the result that the structure needs neither a tonneau cover nor a cover flap. The folded hood is set down in a compact sheet steel compartment that reduces the luggage compartment capacity only very slightly. The high-performance kinematics mean that the acoustic hood can also be opened and closed at speeds of up to 30 km/h – a big advantage in terms of convenience when driving in urban traffic. The process is controlled by a switch on the centre console; the hood can also be opened and closed conveniently from outside the car, via the ignition key in the door lock.

The fully automatic soft top takes the form of an acoustic hood. Between the outer skin and the inner lining there is a synthetic fibre mat that further improves thermal insulation and soundproofing – at a speed of 140 km/h it is only 1 dB (A) louder inside the Audi A3 Cabriolet than in the A3. If only the front seats are occupied, a wind deflector can be erected above the rear bench seat in a few simple steps from one side of the vehicle.

High-strength steel: low weight and maximum rigidity

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An extensive package of measures gives the body of the A3 Cabriolet its rigidity, and this open-top Audi drives with the same standards of precision, agility and comfort as the A3 with permanent roof. 45 percent of the bodyshell is made from high-strength steels, while nine percent in fact consists of ultra-high-strength steels, combining low weight with maximum rigidity. The roof frame and roll-over bar incorporate hot-formed steels for maximum safety.

Reinforcing profiles are integrated into the side sills and vehicle floor. V-pattern steel profiles additionally reinforce the forward structure and rear end, and there is a capsule with another reinforcing frame beneath the engine compartment. There are high-strength panels in the B-posts.

A box-shaped structure made from high-strength sheet steel separates the passenger compartment from the luggage compartment. The roll-over bars of hot-formed steel tubing are bolted into this structure. Similar high-tech tubes serve to reinforce the A-posts internally. Head/thorax side airbags are integrated into the backs of the front seats. In the event of a rear-end collision, the Audi integrated head restraint system promptly cushions the head and upper body.

The Interior

Get in and get comfortable — this motto also applies to the interior of the Audi A3 Cabriolet. Regardless of whether the top is open or closed, the interior will always indulge its passengers with an air of sporty elegance. Its materials and design highlight Audi’s usual uncompromising build quality and the luxurious character of the new convertible. The high belt line conveys a feeling of safety.

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The basic character of the exterior design is also reflected in that of the interior – calm lines embrace generous surfaces, all elements are beautifully aligned with one another. The four round air vents and the side knee cushions are reminiscent of the TT Roadster, as are the chrome interior lighting and the lean interior mirror. It is a matter of honor for Audi to maintain perfect ergonomics, so all switches and levers are located where you think they should be. An elegantly curved hood overlaps the instrument panel, which is dominated by the large dials for the speedometer and the tachometer.

Red needles sweep over the instrument dials in sporty black. Two smaller dials for indicating fuel level and coolant temperature and the screen for the driver information system (DIS) display additional important information. The driver information system – a standard feature for the Ambition line – displays its information in a brilliant white font.

The standard four-spoke steering wheel is available with a leather cover, and can be ordered along with a multifunction switch for operating radio and telephone. The Ambition equipment line offers a modified slip-proof leather sports steering wheel with a three-spoke design. On request, this is also available with multifunction switches and shift paddles.

Ergonomics: navigation with MMI operating logic

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Some of the switches and controllers in the center console have an elegantly rounded design. An optional navigation system as well as the navigation system plus read data from a DVD and display it on a large 6.5-inch color monitor. Both follow the intuitive MMI operating concept from Audi.

When it comes to seats, Audi offers a broad range of choices. The Attraction line contains a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The Ambition line also offers this comfort feature for the front passenger seat; both seats have a sporty contour. An electric four-way lumbar support can also be ordered, as well as heating for the front seats or even for all four seats. The standard seat is covered with fabric, but leather is available as an option. For the sports seat in the Ambition line, two types of leather as well as a leather/Alcantara combination are available instead of fabric.

In the Attraction equipment line, the Audi A3 Cabriolet comes with decorative inlays in pearlescent granite or umbra. The Ambition line offers micrometallic silver. On request, Audi also delivers the inlays in aluminum, burr walnut and Vavona wood. Door sill trims with aluminum inlays are additional features of the Ambition line.

The fabric roof gives the A3 Cabriolet the classic convertible character, which is also noticeable in the feel of the interior. The windshield is just as upright as in the standard A3. Due to the short roof rail, there is a freer, more open-air feel for the driver and passenger – unlike with many steel roof concepts from competitors. Because the folded top requires so little space, the rear seat bench does not sacrifice space. The result is generous leg room for both rear seats that also benefit from the long wheel base of 2,578 millimeters (8.46 ft).

High everyday use: expandable trunk compartment

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Another major strength of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is its expandable trunk compartment. The rear seats, split 50:50, can easily be released by a lever located to the side in the trunk compartment. When the seats fold forward, the head supports, which are attached to the roll bars, stay where they are. The broad and high pass-through opening behind the seats enlarges the trunk compartment to 674 liters (23.80 cubic ft) and a loading length of 150 centimeters (4.92 ft) – generous space even for large pieces of luggage and sports equipment.

When not expanded, the trunk compartment holds a generous 260 liters (9.18 cubic ft), enough for an extended vacation for two. It’s high enough for crates of mineral water. This volume is the same whether the convertible top is opened or closed. Two bag hooks in the level walls of the trunk compartment as well as four lashing eyes are part of the standard equipment package. As part of its storage package, Audi includes two additional hooks, a 12V plug-in connector and a luggage-securing net that can also be used as a mesh bag or a versatile space divider.

For the interior space, the storage package provides nets on the front seats and on the center tunnel as well as a storage compartment under the driver’s seat. As standard features, the Audi A3 Cabriolet offers storage in the center tunnel along with a 12V plug-in connector. There are also storage compartments in the doors and the left rear side paneling. These are also complemented by a compartment under the front passenger’s seat and a locking glove compartment.

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The Drivetrain

The Audi A3 Cabriolet will be rolling off the production line with a choice of four four-cylinder engines, two of which are TFSI and two TDI. All four are turbocharged with direct fuel injection – a technology combination that unites powerful performance with high efficiency.

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In the TFSI sector, the TFSI technology engineered by Audi has demonstrated its superior potential over many years in auto racing. In 2001 a turbo-charged FSI engine powered the sports prototype Audi R8 to overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Four further wins at Le Mans and numerous victories in other races followed over the next few years. For the last two years, the successor of the R8 – the R10 TDI – has added a string of successes. Its V12 diesel engine has an output of about 480 kW (650 hp), thus demonstrating the superiority of Audi’s TDI principle, the most successful efficiency technology in the world.

Cabriolet and TDI — an Audi success story

In 1995, the 1.9 TDI was the first diesel engine in the world to be installed in an Audi convertible model. It was followed in 2002 by the first V6 TDI, a 2.5-liter engine. In the A3 Cabriolet, the smaller of the two four-cylinder engines has 1,896 cc capacity, musters up 105 hp (77 kW) and a powerful 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) torque at just 1,900 rpm. It takes only 12.3 seconds for the speedometer needle to exceed the 100 km/h (62.14 mph) mark; the top speed is 185 km/h (114.95 mph).

In terms of fuel consumption, the 1.9 TDI is commendably efficient, at 5.1 l/100 km (46.12 mpg) — a value that once more proves the advanced level and the high efficiency of TDI technology. The injection pressure of 2.050 bar ensures extremely refined atomization of the fuel and thereby an excellent degree of efficiency. The A3 Cabriolet 1.9 TDI comes with a five-speed manual transmission.

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The 2.0 TDI with its 1,968 cc capacity demonstrates the strengths of the TDI concept in a highly modern interpretation. The diesel engine is efficient, powerful and very quiet. The four-valve engine, which is equipped with two balancing shafts, has been fitted with a newly developed common rail system. Its eight-hole piezo injectors operate with a maximum 1,800 bar pressure and divide each injection into up to five cycles. The new turbo is equipped with adjustable guide blades for rapid responsiveness and the pistons were optimized with an improved geometry that has improved combustion efficiency even more. The 2.0 TDI reaches a maximum of 5,000 rpm, which is unusual for a diesel engine.

The two-liter engine has an output of 103 kW (140 hp). Between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm it generates a massive 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque – enough to accelerate the A3 Cabriolet from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 9.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 205 km/h (127.38 mph). The 2.0 TDI has an average fuel consumption of 5.3 l/100 km (44.38 mpg). As an option, Audi can equip this model with the S tronic transmission instead of the standard manual six-speed transmission.

High tech TFSI: The new 1.8 TFSI

When it comes to gasoline engines, the newly developed 1.8 TFSI has a carrying capacity of 1798 cc and can power up to 118 kW (160 hp) and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque, with a constantly available engine speed range of 1,500 to 4,200 rpm. Thanks to its turbo, the compact lightweight four-cylinder engine weighing only 135 kilograms (297.62 lbs) delivers as much power as an aspirating V6, but consumes much less fuel.

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An adjustable intake camshaft optimizes the filling of its combustion chambers. Two balancing shafts compensate for the gravity forces of the second degree, thus ensuring smooth running. Thanks to its new, precise controller strategy, the oil pump consumes little energy, thereby improving fuel consumption.

The 1.8 TFSI is equipped with direct fuel injection technology. The fuel shoots out of a high-pressure reservoir under 150 bar pressure through the newly developed six-hole injectors directly into the four-valve cylinder head. There it is first combined with the turbulent incoming air displaced by the valves in the intake track in precisely calculated degrees of turbulence. The mixture is homogenous, 1 part fuel to 14.7 parts air. The evaporation of the direct-injected fuel extracts the heat from the combustion chambers, permitting a high compression ratio even with the turbo.

Direct fuel injection and the turbo technology form an ideal combination for outstanding drive comfort and impressive efficiency. The turbo responds extremely quickly – at 2,000 rpm, the 1.8 TFSI produces its maximum torque in just 1.2 seconds. The four-cylinder engine is responsive, fleet-footed, highrevving, and heavy on the torque. It accelerates the A3 Cabriolet with a six-speed manual transmission in 8.3 seconds to highway driving speed and faster to 218 km/h (135.46 mph). It satisfactorily completes the EU driving cycle with 7.3 l/100 km (32.22 mpg). Alternatively, Audi offers the sporty high-tech S tronic transmission also with six speeds.

Three-time winner: the 2.0 TFSI

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In terms of technology, the 1.8 TFSI is closely related to the 2.0 TFSI, which was voted “Engine of the Year” three times in a row starting in 2005 by a jury made up of international journalists. The two-liter engine has 1,984 cc capacity and at 1,800 rpm jams 280 Nm (206.52 lb-ft) of torque on the crankshaft. Its maximum torque goes up to 5,000 rpm. Nominal power of 147 kW (200 hp) is produced between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm. The two-liter engine runs with an adjustable intake camshaft and two balancing shafts.

With the 2.0 TFSI engine, Audi has achieved a high compression ratio of 10.5:1 – a value that has so far been reserved for naturally aspirated engines. The thermodynamic efficiency of the engine has also improved further. The four-valve engine fulfills all the tasks it is assigned with playful ease.

With either the S tronic dual-clutch transmission or the standard six-speed manual transmission, the A3 Cabriolet accelerates to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 7.3 seconds; its top speed is 231 km/h (143.54 mph). The 2.0-liter TFSI engine with the S tronic transmission consumes 7.6 l/100 km (30.95 mpg).

In all versions of the Audi A3 Cabriolet, the engine’s power is directed to the front wheels. Engines starting at 103 kW (140 hp) are powered by a standard sixspeed manual transmission whose weight-saving case is made of magnesium. It shifts precisely and easily over short distances and, as is typical for Audi, is very efficient.

S tronic: two transmissions in a row

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One highlight that makes the A3 Cabriolet an exception among its competitors is S tronic, which combines the advantages of an automatic transmission with those of a manual transmission. The dual-clutch transmission can shift in an instant between its six speeds, almost without interrupting the power flow, in only 0.2 seconds. The driver benefits from this fascinating dynamic driving as much as from the outstanding comfort of the shifting process.

S tronic is a highly advanced construction. Two three-speed transmissions, each with one clutch, are housed in one casing; the two multi-plate clutches are arranged behind one another. The first operates the odd speeds and the reverse gear; the second handles the even speeds. Two input shafts on one common axle are connected together – a solid shaft rotates in a hollow shaft. While one speed is engaged, the next is already pre-selected. To use it, only the clutch has to be closed; this guarantees S tronic its time advance.

The driver can shift S tronic using a one-touch lever or, like race car drivers, using shift paddles on the steering wheel. In addition, two fully automatic drive modes are available: D for drive and S for Sport. The S tronic multi-plate clutches operate in an oil bath and are able to implement various types of start-ups: from a soft start on slippery ground to a sporty, fully loaded acceleration. The computercontrolled launch control effortlessly implements the best acceleration.

S tronic has an innate high level of efficiency. Its electronic management in Automatic mode ensures that the engine, whenever possible, runs fuel-efficiently at low revs. Even an attentive driver could not do it better.

The dynamic suspension

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Compared to cars with a hinged hardtop made of steel, the A3 Cabriolet enjoys a weight advantage thanks to its light and compactly built fabric top. This also proves advantageous when it comes to the driving dynamics of the A3 Cabriolet. When designing its front wheel suspension with a large 1,534 millimeter (60.39 inch) track width, Audi reverted back to a classic layout: a McPherson design with lower triangulated wishbones. The subframe on which the structure is mounted is made of aluminum; this improves the distribution of weight between the front and rear axle. Bolted onto the body, the frame ensures the highest possible rigidity in the front of the car.

The four-link rear axle with 1,507 mm (59.33 inch) track width is an additional technical highlight. Its construction principle offers major driving dynamic advantages because it functionally separates the longitudinal and the lateral force support from one another. Like the front suspension, the beam is rigidly bolted onto the body. All the control arms are made of high-strength steels. Separate compact coil springs and dampers are used for vertical support. The suspension is
especially aligned to meet the needs of a sporty convertible. During the alignment process, springs, dampers, bearings and stabilizers are retuned on the front and rear axle.

Precise and efficient: the steering

The rack-and-pinion power steering operates with speed-dependent control. The precise and firm steering feel with a gear ratio of 16.2:1 is an excellent example of how Audi combines efficiency and sportiness. Negative road influences are cushioned. The system results in an average fuel saving of 0.2 l/100 km.

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The interplay of all of these technologies is a key factor in the overall image of a sports-driven convertible. It is infused with the precision and spontaneity that the car delivers with every turn of the wheel. The convertible A3 has a light touch and even its steering is unshakeably calm. The resonant intrinsic steering behavior remains neutral right up to a very high handling limit that is preceded by a small amount of understeer.

In the Ambition equipment line and as an option in the Attraction line, the A3 Cabriolet comes equipped with a sports suspension that lowers the body 15 mm (0.59 inches). The Attraction line equips the Audi A3 Cabriolet with 16-inch wheels on which 205/55 tires are mounted. The Ambition line comes equipped with 17-inch wheels and 225/45 sized tires as standard equipment. Furthermore, Audi offers a broad and diverse range of options. It comprises ten different wheels, including four designs in the particularly sporty 18-inch format from quattro GmbH. A tire pressure control gauge is also offered as an option.

For sporty needs: the brakes

The braking systems installed on both the front and rear axle are equipped with 15-inch brakes or with 16-inch brakes on cars with the top engine configuration. The brake discs on both axles are ventilated. The braking system designed for the A3 Cabriolet has a direct and spontaneous pedal feel and can be easily modulated. In addition, the Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) is optimized for a sporty driving style and subtle control function. Its functions include dry braking under wet conditions in which the linings are briefly and repeatedly pressed down on the disks. Furthermore, the hill-start assist function (standard in cars with S tronic) can be added to the ESP.

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The Equipment

The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the luxury convertible in the compact car class – the rich offering of standard equipment and optional extras confirms this claim. Even in the distinctive Attraction line, the convertible Audi rolls off the production line with a semi-automatic top. Four electric power windows and the standard daytime running lights round off its standard equipment features.

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The sporty Ambition line can be recognized from the exterior by the 17-inch aluminum wheels, front fog lights, and a sports suspension. On the inside it pampers its passengers with two height-adjustable sports seats with special upholstery, a driver information system, a leather sports steering wheel, a wind deflector as well as special decorative inlays in micrometallic silver and aluminum door sill trims.

The range of options for the A3 Cabriolet include comfort features such as electrically heated and foldable exterior mirrors, a light and rain sensor, multifunction leather steering wheels, a deluxe automatic air conditioning system, sports seats, leather upholstery, heated seats, a cruise control system and a center armrest.

The safety features of the convertible Audi A3 include additional equipment options: a burglar alarm system, tire pressure control system and Isofix attachments for child seats on the passenger seat. Xenon plus headlights and the adaptive light cornering light technology illuminate streets superbly in the dark. The storage package as well as a ski and snowboard bag further increase the practical use of the A3 Cabriolet. The accessories package also includes a bike rack that is mounted on the optional trailer hitch.

Typical for Audi, the A3 Cabriolet offers a broad range of multimedia technologies starting with the chorus CD radio, which controls four speakers, to the MP3-compatible concert radio (eight attractive speakers with 140 watts) and the symphony radio with CD changer, to the Bose sound system which has an output of 195 watts and integrates eight speakers.

2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet
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From the concert radio upwards, auxiliary inputs on the center console for connecting an iPod or MP3 player come as standard. Two navigation systems – with a monochrome or large color screen – show the way. When it comes to cell phone technology, Audi offers two different cell phone connection options combined with audio systems. The radio antennas are integrated into the windshield and are therefore invisible.

S line packages and exclusive line

For those for whom individuality is of utmost importance, quattro GmbH offers additional equipment lines. The S line is divided up into an exterior package for the body and a sports package. The S line exterior package includes a specially designed apron with distinctive contours as well as newly shaped air intakes with a grill design. An S line logo is located behind the front wheel housings, and the door sill trims are individually shaped. A large diffuser unit and exhaust pipe trims for the four-cylinder versions endow the rear with even greater visual individuality and appeal.

2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet
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In the S line sports package, the interior comes in black with silver or black seams. The leather steering wheel, the decorative inlays in brushed aluminum or piano finish black, the door sill trims, the seat upholstery, the gearshift/selector lever and the floor mats have special designs. Logos for the body, two exclusive paint colors and dynamically designed wheels complete the sports package. A third alternative from quattro GmbH is the Audi exclusive line; among other features, it includes multicolored seat upholstery with colored seams. Additional sophisticated optional extras ranging from a visual package in black to individual paint designs complete the product range from quattro GmbH.

2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet
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