Audi’s most affordable cabriolet gets a significant facelift

Launched in 2003, the Audi A3 brought new standards to the premium compact market. A step ahead of the competition thanks to its well-equipped interior, state-of-the-art technology, and advanced driving assistance features, the A3 became a popular choice in both Europe and the U.S. Also, the fact that Ingolstadt offered no fewer than four body styles and performance-oriented S models for each of them made the A3 the most complete nameplate in the segment. Almost four years have passed since the third-gen compact went in production and Audi unveiled the facelifted versions of each and every variant of the A3, including the Convertible.

Much like all new vehicles the four-ringed automaker has introduced in 2015, the A3 Convertible received sharper and sportier styling features. Inspired by the design language seen on the new A4, the new A3 Convertible is by far the most aggressive looking compact drop-top Audi has released to date, especially when equipped with the S Line package. But, while the exterior gained updates worthy of a redesign, the interior remained pretty much unchanged, with all the noticeable upgrades operated in the technology department.

More changes occurred under the hood, with two brand-new engines and a dual-clutch transmission on offer. Among them, there’s a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, available for the first time on the compact. Audi also developed a more powerful and fuel-efficient 2.0-liter four-banger, which unlike the three-pot, will cross the pond to the U.S. to replace the previous range-topping unit. It won’t get here until 2017, but that gives us enough time to have a in-depth look at Audi’s most affordable cabriolet.

Updated 08/11/2016: Audi announced U.S. prices for the 2017 A3 Convertible which will be put on sale later this year in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Details on the "Prices" section below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi A3 Convertible.

  • 2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    115
  • Torque @ RPM:
    148
  • Displacement:
    1.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    36600 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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As expected based on the new design language Audi introduced on several new and facelifted models in 2015, the A3 Convertible received sharper, sportier contours. Up front, the Germans changed everything but the hood. The headlamps are flatter and feature distinctive outlines, while the grille is sharper, wider, and sports new, double horizontal bars. Below, the side intakes are significantly larger, while the thin vent at the bottom of the apron is shaped around the lower section of the main grille.

For the first time, the A3 can also be ordered with Matrix LED technology, which is also a premier for the segment.

Xenon headlamps are standard, but the customers can also have LED units for an extra fee. For the first time, the A3 can also be ordered with Matrix LED technology, which is also a premier for the segment.

Changes are unnoticeable on the sides, where everything appears to be the same except for the wheel designs, but the rear fascia showcases a couple of significant changes. The first thing that catches the eye is the new taillight design, which has horizontal LED graphics. The units are also longer and have a sharper design. The second notable change is the redesigned diffuser with new side vents. The bumper was also remodeled, now sporting a beefier design and prominent character lines.

Twelve paint colors are available, five of which are new. Additions include Ara Blue, Cosmic Blue, Nano Gray, Tango Red, and Vegas Yellow. Audi also offers Daytona Gray Pearl Effect, but this finish is reserved for the S Line exterior package, which is pictured above in Tango Red. The wheel variety is equally impressive with 16-inch rollers as standard and 17- to 19-inch rims available as options.

All told, the new A3 Convertible is quite different for an Audi facelift and the revised body elements turned the compact drop-top into one of the sportiest propositions in this segment. Not counting the M-, AMG-, and RS-badged options that is.

Interior

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Inside, changes are rather difficult to spot. Everything from the dashboard to the door panels remained essentially unaltered, with only the steering wheel, instrument cluster, and A/C vents showcasing new designs. The steering wheel gained a larger central element and a shorter lower spoke that gives it a sportier appearance. The controls have also been revised, but nothing major. New options include a heated steering wheel and a driver seat with massage function. The seats have been optimized and the newly designed equipment lines bring new upholstery colors and combinations, but other than that, the cabin was carried over from last year’s model as far as styling goes.

Visuals aside, the A3 Convertible did receive an updated 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster and a revamped infotainment MMI system

Visuals aside, the A3 Convertible did receive an updated 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster and a revamped infotainment MMI system. The menu structure has been redesigned and it is now based on smartphones for a more familiar browsing experience. The centerpiece of the MMI terminal is the round rotary/push-button control with the touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters, multi-finger gestures, and zooming within the map. The toggle switches and buttons above the rotary button enable the driver to navigate through the newly designed menu structure. The system also includes enhanced voice control for navigation, radio, and media.

The MMI radio plus with the seven-inch monitor is standard equipment, while the MMI Navigation and MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch and Audi Connect module are optional. The latter includes navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View traffic information in real time, as well as info on parking, destinations, news or weather.

Granted, interior updates aren’t as comprehensive as on the outside design-wise, but the revised infotainment system and new technology makes up for it. And needless to say, the inside of the A3 still looks fresh after more than 3 years on the market.

Drivetrain

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Under the hood, the A3 Convertible received updated and new engines, with the European lineup now consisting of three gasoline and three diesel units.

The gasoline range begins with the 1.0-liter TFSI, a three-cylinder powerplant that's offered in the A3 for the very first time

The gasoline range begins with the 1.0-liter TFSI, a three-cylinder powerplant that’s offered in the A3 for the very first time. The entry-level unit pumps out 115 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque and, while it’s the least powerful, it returns the best fuel economy. Next in line is the 1.4 TFSI four-pot with cylinder-on-demand technology that turns off two cylinders when full output is not required. This engine generates 150 horses and 184 pound-feet of twist.

The third gasoline drivetrain is the brand-new 2.0-liter TFSI. Featuring an innovative combustion process, it sends 190 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to the wheels.

On the diesel front, there’s a new entry-level four-cylinder engine that displaces 1.6 liters and cranks out 110 horsepower. Then there’s the familiar 2.0-liter TDI, which is available in two flavors. The least powerful variant delivers 150 horsepower and 251 pound-feet, while the range-topping version is rated at 184 horses and 280 pound-feet.

Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and the S Tronic seven-speed dual-clutch. The new 2.0-liter TFSI is offered with a newly developed S Tronic with wet clutch. The bigger gasoline engine is also the only one that can be ordered with the optional Quattro all-wheel drive system.

Naturally, only a few of these engines will cross the pond to the U.S. Given that the previous model was sold with the 1.8- and 2.0-liter gasoline units, the facelifted convertible will probably arrive in North American dealerships with the 1.4-liter and brand-new 2.0-liter powerplants.

Suspension

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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The A3’s suspension has been retuned for a more balanced ride, but customers looking for a sportier feel can have it with the optional sport suspension. The new setup lowers the car by 0.6 inches. Audi also offers a new suspension system with the S Line package. This one lowers the ride height by one inch for a stance similar to the S3 model. The revised electromechanical power steering is more sensitive and efficient, but the A3 can also be ordered with the optional electrically powered progressive steering system from the S3.

Safety

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
- image 671811
The facelift also brings new and updated driver assistance systems into the A3

The facelift also brings new and updated driver assistance systems into the A3. Highlights include the Traffic Jam Assist, a first for the compact segment, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go feature. This system keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and sets it in motion again after a short stop. It also takes over driving duties in sluggish traffic up to 40 mph. The drop-top is also equipped with Emergency Assist, which initiates braking to a complete stop if no steering activity by the driver is detected. Both the Traffic Jam and Emergency Assist systems are optional. Other features include the new Rear Cross-Traffic Assist that warns the driver about cross traffic when backing out of a parking space.

Prices

U.S. pricing for the A3 Cabriolet starts from $40,300. For that amount you get the Premium model, which carries a $700 premium over the previous versions. Move up to the Premium Plus trim and the sticker increases to $43,550. Finally, the range-topping Prestige fetches $49,250 before options.

2018 Audi A3 Convertible Prices

Model Price
Audi A3 Cabriolet FWD S tronic Premium $38,350
Audi A3 Cabriolet quattro S tronic Premium $41,050
Audi A3 Cabriolet FWD S tronic Premium Plus $41,600
Audi A3 Cabriolet quattro S tronic Premium Plus $44,300
Audi A3 Cabriolet FWD S tronic Prestige $46,800
Audi A3 Cabriolet quattro S tronic Prestige $49,500

2017 Audi A3 Convertible Prices

Model Price
Audi A3 Cabriolet Premium $40,300
Audi A3 Cabriolet Premium Plus $43,550
Audi A3 Cabriolet Prestige $49,250

Competition

BMW 2 Series Convertible

2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Launched in 2013 as a successor to the 1 Series Coupe, the 2 Series spawned a convertible version for the 2015 model year. Identical to its coupe sibling from the waist down, the 2 Series Convertible is arguably the more attractive proposition in this segment. Not only it’s styling is more exciting, but the Bimmer also employs a rear-wheel-drive layout, which provides a more engaging driving experience.

Unlike the A3, however, the 2 Series is available with just one engine in U.S. — a 2.0-liter four-banger rated at 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. With this unit, the Bimmer sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (5.6 ticks with xDrive). Of course, those in need of more power can opt for either the M235i or the M2, which could be as exciting as the larger M4 according to our comparison here. The 2 Series Convertible fetches $38,650 before options. For all-wheel-drive, you’ll have to pay an extra $2,000.

Find out more about the BMW 2 Series Convertible here.

Conclusion

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 671810

As Audi’s most affordable convertible, the A3 Cabriolet is an important vehicle for the German brand and a facelift was necessary after nearly four years since the third-generation A3 came to the market. The compact drop-top is still attractive and it’s interior is fresh enough to keep customers happy for a couple more years. But, the extensive exterior upgrade is more than welcome with the brand-new BMW 2 Series in showrooms. Unfortunately for Audi though, the Bimmer looks to be the better option as far as the platform, drivetrain, and design go. The 2 Series Convertible is also only $2,000 more expensive than the A3 Cabriolet as of 2016, which will probably force Audi to develop the fourth-gen model sooner than planned.

  • Leave it
    • * Built on a FWD platform
    • * The BMW 2 Series is hard to beat
    • * Not many changes on the inside

Spy Shots

November 8, 2015 - First testing session

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible Exterior Spyshots
- image 658857

Press Release

The successful model from Audi is now even more attractive: The Audi A3* approaches the starting line with new driver assistance systems and engines as well as newly designed headlights and taillights. Also new on board is the innovative operating and display concept, Audi virtual cockpit. The new A3 is available in a three-door version and as a Sportback,
a sedan and a Cabriolet. The sporty Audi S3* version comes with numerous innovations and has even further enhanced its dynamic potential. The A3 series offers the most versatile line of drive systems in the compact segment with the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron* and the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron*.

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
- image 671805

Driver assistance systems from the Audi full-size category
With numerous driver assistance systems, the new Audi A3 raises the bar in the premium compact segment yet again. The further developed Audi active lane assist and Audi pre sense front, including predictive pedestrian protection, make town and country driving even safer.

New in the segment is the traffic jam assist, which works together with Audi adaptive cruise control (ACC) and its Stop&Go feature. The optional system keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and in combination with the S tronic, automatically sets the vehicle in motion again after a short stop. In sluggish traffic up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), the traffic jam assist even briefly takes over the steering on well-paved roads. Another new feature for the A3 family is the optional Emergency Assist. This system initiates braking down to a safe stop if, despite warnings, no steering activity by the driver is detected. The new rear cross-traffic assist warns the driver about cross traffic when slowly backing out of a perpendicular parking space, for example.

Controls & displays, infotainment and Audi connect
The highlight in the interior of the new Audi A3* is the Audi virtual cockpit. This innovative operating concept is available for the first time in the compact class. The Audi virtual cockpit displays the most important driving-relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT screen. The driver can switch between two views by pressing the “View” button on the multifunction steering wheel. In classic mode, the instruments appear as large as the usual analog displays.

In infotainment mode, however, a central window predominates, which provides more space to the navigation map or shows lists for the telephone, radio and audio. The tachometer and speedometer appear as small round clocks.

The menu structure in the MMI system has been redesigned. Operation with its flat hierarchies is based on smartphones. The centerpiece of the MMI terminal is the round rotary/push-button control, whose ring is illuminated in white in the top version. On its surface is the touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters and for multi-finger gestures, allowing the driver to zoom within the map. Above and beside the rotary/push-button control are toggle switches and buttons with which the driver can navigate through the newly designed menu structure. The enhanced voice control for navigation, radio, media and phone now also understands many phrases from everyday language.

In infotainment, the new Audi A3 again sets new standards. The MMI radio plus with the electrically extended 7-inch diagonal monitor is standard equipment. The optionally available MMI navigation and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch in conjunction with the Audi connect module bring many online functions into the car. They include, for example, navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View traffic information in real time as well as practical information on parking, destinations, news or the weather. The information is transmitted via the super-fast LTE standard. The required flat rate data plan is included thanks to the Audi connect SIM card pre-installed in the car. The customer receives this embedded SIM (e‑SIM) in combination with Audi connect in Europe. It permits roaming in most European countries. Regardless of the integrated Audi connect services, data packets for individual internet use can also be booked via the Wi-Fi hotspot.

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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The free Audi MMI connect app enables other services, such as online media streaming and transfer of a calendar from a smartphone to the MMI. The A3 e-tron* also features services for programming the charging and the departure time and for the air conditioning.

Cell phones with iOS and Android operating systems are connected with the car via the Audi smartphone interface. The Audi phone box in the center armrest utilizes near-field coupling to link smartphones wirelessly to the vehicle’s antenna and enables inductive charging.

Newly designed equipment lines
Although hardly any change has been made to the dimensions – 4.24 meters (13.91 ft) in length with a wheelbase of 2.60 meters (8.53 ft) – the new Audi A3* appears even sportier and more expressive than ever. Its Singleframe grille features sharper contours and is broader. The headlights are flatter, with distinctive outer contours.

The rear accentuates the width of the new A3 – with the horizontal illuminated graphics of the rear lights and the separation edge above the redesigned diffuser. The color palette has been expanded. Twelve paint colors are available to choose from, including the five new colors Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano gray, Tango red and Vegas yellow. Daytona gray pearl effect paintwork is reserved for the S line exterior package.

New for the A3 are the modularly designed equipment lines. They afford the customer even greater freedom of choice, and for the first time, also affect details of the exterior. Besides the basic models, the future holds in store the two lines sport and design, with their optional S line sport package and design selection equipment lines.

Extensively updated: the engine lineup
The engine lineup for the Audi A3 comprises six engines (three gasoline and three diesel units). Their power output ranges from 81 kW (110 hp) to 140 kW (190 hp). All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard.

With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi is offering a three-cylinder model in the Audi A3 series for the first time. The compact engine outputs 85 kW (115 hp) and delivers 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque at 2,000 to 3,500 revolutions per minute. The new entry-level gasoline engine is efficient without sacrificing anything in terms of driving pleasure.

The 1.4 TFSI COD ultra features cylinder-on-demand efficiency technology, turning off two cylinders when the corresponding output is not required. The engine with 1,395 ccm displacement outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and develops 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque.

A technical highlight is the completely new 2.0 TFSI with its innovative combustion process. From a displacement of 1,984 ccm it generates 140 kW (190 hp), delivering 320 Nm (236.0 lb-ft) of torque at 1,500 to 4,200 revolutions per minute.

Audi offers the four-cylinder TDI engine with 1,968 ccm displacement in two performance levels in the new A3*. The 2.0 TDI comes optionally with 110 kW (150 hp) and 340 Nm (250.8 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute – and will soon be available with 135 kW (184 hp) and 380 Nm (280.3 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute.

The new entry-level diesel engine is the 1.6 TDI with 81 kW (110 hp). It is available in combination with the six-speed manual transmission or the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

The 2.0 TFSI engines are joined by a fully newly developed seven-speed S tronic with wet clutch. It replaces the previous six-speed dual clutch transmission. The new Audi A3 transmits the engine power to the front wheels by default. For the gasoline-engine versions, quattro all-wheel drive is available for the 2.0 TFSI with 140 kW (190 hp).

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The suspension of the new Audi A3 impresses with its balanced and sporty tuning. With the optional sport suspension, the body lies 15 millimeters (0.6 in) lower, and 25 millimeters (1.0 in) lower with the S line sport suspension. The electromechanical power steering is sensitive and efficient in operation. On request, Audi provides the likewise electrically powered progressive steering system for many models that is standard in the Audi S3* series.

The new Audi A3 rides on 16-inch wheels as standard equipment, with 17-inch wheels available in the design and sport equipment lines. The wide range of options with 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels includes new designs. The line of tires has also been overhauled, and now offers improved performance with optimized rolling resistance.

For the first time in the segment: Matrix LED headlights
The headlights of the Audi A3* provide a distinctive and new look with their jagged bottom edges. Xenon plus units are standard; as options Audi offers LED headlights and for the first time matrix LED headlights as well.

Consistent lightweight design has brought the curb weight of the Audi A3 with 1.0 TFSI engine down to just 1,150 kg (2,535.3 lb) – the lightest in its class. The body of the new Audi A3 is crashproof and rigid to a high extent. A noise-insulating windshield is standard equipment.

The interior affords the top quality typical of Audi. The newly designed three-spoke steering wheel is heated on request. For more comfort on long journeys, Audi offers a driver seat with massage function in the new A3.

Sustainably en route: the new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The plug-in hybrid version, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*, combines a 1.4 TFSI, which outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and delivers 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque, with an electric motor that produces 75 kW and 330 Nm (243.4 lb-ft). The system output of 150 kW (204 hp) affords sporty driving performance.

Full charging of the lithium-ion battery (8.8 kWh) from a 380-volt three phase-current supply takes a little over two hours.

The new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron
Audi offers still another drive alternative with the A3 Sportback g-tron*: The five-door compact model can use climate-neutrally produced Audi e-gas as fuel, in addition to fossil-based natural gas.

Equipped with a 1.4 TFSI engine producing 81 kW (110 hp), the A3 Sportback g-tron sets standards for efficiency and economy. Fuel costs to the customer are roughly EUR 4 per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi). Thanks to the four-cylinder engine’s configuration for bivalent fuels, its range is over 400 km (248.5 mi) in the NEDC with natural gas fuel. When powered by gasoline, the driving range is extended by as much as an additional 900 km (559.2 mi).

More power: the new Audi S3
7 kW (10 hp) features more power and, in conjunction with the S tronic, 20 Nm (14.8 lb-ft) higher torque – Audi has done one better with the Audi S3*. Moreover, Audi engineers have integrated S3-specific control for the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) and the multi-plate clutch. The result: even greater driving dynamics, driving pleasure and safety.

The 2.0 TFSI now outputs 228 kW (310 hp) and with S tronic delivers 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) over the large range of 2,000 to 5,400 revolutions per minute. The S3 Sportback, the S3 Sedan and the S3 Cabriolet also profit from the extensive new features.

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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The new Audi A3 series goes on sale in early May, with the first deliveries to customers occurring in summer. The basic price for the Audi A3 with the new 1.0 TFSI engine is EUR 23,300 in Germany.

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