2015 – 2017 Audi A3 Convertible Review

2015 – 2017 Audi A3 Convertible Review

2015 Audi a3 Cabriolet also known as the a3 convertible this is actually one of my favorite cars for the 2015 model year but you can have to stick around to the end to know exactly why the convertible market has been shrinking there are actually fewer convertible models available in the United States today then there were just a number of years ago and next year we’ll be saying goodbye to the Volkswagen Eos which is actually unrelated to the a3 convertible because there aren’t that many convertibles to compare the a3 to in the United States you’ll notice that I will be

comparing this vehicle to vehicles that the sedan version would not be compared to so I will be comparing this to things like the Mustang or the Camaro Convertible and I wouldn’t normally compare the a3 sedan with a Mustang or camaro coupe Howdy’s a3 sedan is the least expensive outtie available in the United States starting just under thirty thousand dollars and the Cabrio is the least expensive convertible by far in Audi’s lineup starting just under $36,000 that actually makes this one of the more affordable convertibles available in the u.s. because there aren’t too many

convertibles under 30 grand the a3 Cabriolet rest of the Audi lineup in the United States this is not quite as aggressive as some of the more expensive Audi models like the a7 however because OD

2015 – 2017 Audi A3 Convertible Review price

is a luxury brand we find standard HID headlamps which is not something you normally find at a $35,000 starting price and we have LED light pipes on the inside if you do get upper-level trims of the a3 Cabrio you will find LED headlamps although we do have standard bi-xenon headlamps and by bi-xenon that means that the same lamp module is used for high beam and low beam these do not steer in the corners like you’ll find in some of the competition our model doesn’t have fog lamps down here and then we have this very large outtie grille up front I find the grille and the

overall look very attractive it’s a very elegant and restrained design so if you’re after something a bit more exciting you’re gonna have to go to a different brand because outtie in general likes flowing curves and a simpler design language they also love this very large grill that has sometimes been called the Billy the bigmouth bass grill the grill is definitely large but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing when you look at the a3 in your rear view mirror it definitely looks like an Audi is coming your way Howdy’s a3 sedan is not a terribly long vehicle although it does price

itself very similarly to top-end spec com2 Accords Ford fusions etc it’s not in the same size category a size below that the same goes for the a3 Cabrio this is not a large convertible by any stretch of the imagination however it is bigger than something like the Mercedes Benz SLK the SLK may seem like a strange vehicle to compare the a3 Cabrio to but we now have the SL k 250 which has a four-cylinder turbocharged engine under the hood and it is about the same price as the model we’re taking a look at right here the big difference of course is that we have four seats in the a3

2015 – 2017 Audi A3 Convertible Review price

convertible now four seats isn’t necessarily unusual however these four seats are actually usable in the a3 the reason those rear seats are usable is right here under the hood because the a3 is a front-wheel drive based vehicle and the engine is mounted across the front in a transverse fashion rather than down the vehicle like you’d find in something like a BMW 2 Series the BMW 2 Series proportionally has a much longer hood and that really means that you get less interior room and less trunk room for the overall size of the vehicle like the front the rear end styling of the a3 is

relatively simple and elegant we have these tail out models which go from the body onto the trunk lid and they also have light pipes inside to give it a particular design at night the trunk lid has an integrated spoiler into it so it lifts up right here at the end or we have the center mounted stoplight right over here twin exhaust pipes right over there on the driver side and reflectors down below you’ll notice that we have two things missing even on this particular vehicle which is nicely equipped right around $43,000 we have no parking sensors on the back and we don’t have a backup

camera either under the hood things start out with a 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine and this is a transverse engine which means it’s mounted across the front as I said earlier that’s different than other Audi’s but the other thing you’ll notice that’s different than something like an a 4 and a 6 or an a 8 is that this engine is almost entirely on top of the front axle front axles right around here the engine is very close to that front of the axle out of these other products in the United States the engine is almost entirely in front of the transmission and the front axle just based on their design

what that means to you is that the a3 s weight balance is actually very good when you compare it with the rest of the Audi family this 1.8 liter engine produces 170 horsepower and 200 pound feet of torque if you think that’s not a whole lot of power then you do need to know that the a3 is a very very light vehicle if that’s not enough power for you there is a 2 litre turbocharged four-cylinder

engine it produces 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque the difference between those 2 engines isn’t just the power level it’s also which wheels are doing the work for you the 1.8 liter engine is a front-wheel drive only vehicle and the 2 liter engine is all-wheel drive only in the United States both engines put power to the ground via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission if you want to know more about dual clutch transmissions there is a separate video on my page on that as well that dual clutch transmission and the small engine designs helped us get 24 miles per

2015 – 2017 Audi A3 Convertible Review occasion

gallon city 35 highway and 28 combined with this 1.8 liter engine and that only drops to 26 combined with the 2 liter turbo front seat comfort is very good although unusually for a luxury branded vehicle we don’t have power seats in the a3 instead we have a 14 way adjustable driver seat that includes the directions on this headrest right here but only four of those directions are electrically adjustable and those are the four different lumbar directions that goes in and out as well as up and down that means that we have about the same range of motion as most of the luxury competition

except that you can’t get a memory system in the a3 because none of these directions are powered on the flipside however the passenger seat right next to me has the same range of motion as the driver’s seat we also get a tilt telescopic steering column with a large range of motion it helps give these front seats 8 out of 10 points what makes the a3 Cabriolet neke among convertibles is this

back seat because it’s actually usable for adults I’m 6 feet tall with a spread seat adjusted for me I could actually hop in the back seat right here behind myself pull the seat back and I have about half an inch of legroom left obviously this isn’t the pinnacle of rear seat comfort but for a vehicle the size of the a3 this back seat is incredibly accommodating in fact I would rate the backseat comfort just about as comfortable as BMWs 4 Series convertible which is much bigger than this I have this passenger seat adjusted for a 6 foot 5 passenger I had in the vehicle I can squeeze myself

right over here onto the passenger side it’s not comfortable but I could sit back here actually strap myself in and do this for 3045 minutes or so like many convertibles the a3 is a four passenger convertible so there’s no center seat aiding in cargo practicality we have a split 50-50 folding rear seat with a moderately sized Center pass-through there’s a separate video on child seats if you

want to know how well they fit in the a3 Cabrio but in a nutshell the top tether anchor is on the back of the seat back right here because we have the rollover protection system that will deploy from right here so you can’t put a top tether across to the deck it means that you do have to recline these rear seatbacks strap your child seat in then put them back and then pull that top tether tightly with the child seat in place it is a little bit tricky convertibles frequently have a problem when it comes to cargo capacity because the top has to go somewhere and that somewhere is usually the

trunk that is true for the a3 however it only takes up a portion of the trunk and you can regain that portion when the top is up the a3 stop does not go directly into the trunk it actually goes into a separate compartment with its own lid it’s right here this portion of the trunk area then we have a separate trunk lid right back here so this actually opens up in that fashion lid goes down into it

and then that occupies some of the area that you could put cargo in outtie lets you access that cargo if the top is in the up position with a movable barrier however if I open up the trunk you’ll see that I can fit a 26 inch roller bag 24 inch roller bag and a small amount of hand luggage right back here even with the top in its current position this black section right here is the movable barrier

that allows you to expand or contract the cargo area you’ll find the releases for the seat back so right over here on the side with the roof in the up position I’ll open up in the trunk and you can see what impact this has this 24-inch roller bag can actually sit in this direction in the trunk it’s very difficult to pull it in or out but once you get it in it can sit in that position that makes an awful lot more practical for wider variety of cargo I was able to fit three of them across the back with some additional luggage on the side something that’s becoming more of a novelty than a standard

feature is a compact spare tire and we do get one in the a3 that’s very different than a wide variety of other convertibles where we have no spare tire well it comes to my exclusive truck comfort index I’m going to have to give this 10 out of 10 points we do have that spare tire under there we have a surprising amount of cargo room and we have an assist handle to help us close the trunk lid

you’ll notice that we have outboard seatbelts in the rear pasture department not inboard seatbelts that makes us a little bit different than some of those other convertibles most of the rear compartment is composed of soft touch plastics you’ll find some hard touch plastics lower in this area down here the brown center section is a soft touch plastic with a soft touch armrest speaker

grille right there in the center this upper portion where you also may want to rest your arms is also a soft touch plastic and these two holes that you see here are for the wind deflector that’s installable on the rear with the wind deflector in place you snap up this portion and it reduces buffeting from the rear up front we have fixed position shoulder belts for both the driver and the

front passenger and two-way adjustable headrests smaller drivers and smaller pastors may have troubles reaching that seat belt if the seat is moved too far forward but I had no problems unlike other entry-level luxury vehicles we do not have pleather seats we actually have real leather standard on the a3 that sets us apart from a lot of those other entries because even BMW 3-series and mercedes-benz c-class vehicles don’t have leather standard over on the door panels we do have an awful lot of soft touch plastics going on we have a soft touch upper portion right up here by the

door handle soft touch armrest and this Brown portion right there is all soft touch plastic one thing that I’ll note when taking a look at this door panel is that I do like the brown interior because it does help break up the black on the inside of the a3 if you got the black interior things are very very black we have black seats black doors black dashboard etc it can be a little bit oppressive the

dashboard and the a3 has this simple and elegant design to it now I know some people have called this a little bit plain but I actually like the look of this dashboard I think it’s simple I think it’s elegant it’s also easy to clean which is important in a convertible our particular model has the aluminum trim running right across and we have soft touch plastics on the upper dashboard and on the lower dashboard if a moderately sized glove compartment had trouble spitting a tablet computer inside their owner’s manual and other small items will fit without a problem at the top of your

screen we have the Audi MMI display if you want to know more about MMI go ahead and click that banner at the bottom of your screen you’ll be taking on over to my dedicated infotainment review we have two large air vents right below that that I showed you earlier and then we have the button Bank we have an awful lot of blanks in this button Bank hazard lights right in the center

stability traction control and then that screen retract and deploy button right over there some people really just like blank buttons like this but I think that this detrack from the interior an awful lot less than some manufacturers button blanks most notably Toyota and Lexus which have large rectangular button blanks this actually integrates very well into the overall theme of the

dashboard below that we have our standard dual zone climate control 12-volt power outlet a small storage cubby right below that and then two large cupholders one problem with these cupholders that I noticed however was that if you put a large american-style takeout drink that’ll actually hit buttons on the climate control system can press buttons and then you can end up with strange

climate control settings every time you set your drink back in the holder below all of that we have our MMI controls direct access for navigation telephone radio and media over there and then these are contextual buttons that you’ll see on the screen this knob does not click side to side or up and down like you’ll find on command or BMWs iDrive but it does have a finger writing

recognition section right here in the center by the MMI knob we have our electric parking brake control and the control for the convertible roof between the two front seats we have a small center armrest it is extendable so it slides forward and backward it also has a ratchet mechanism to lift it into various Heights and lock it there we open it fully we have a fairly small center console thanks

to the all-wheel-drive system that’s optional I can put a wallet a phone and other small items right in there this vehicle still uses the Audi specific infotainment connector right here so you can’t just plug USB cables in this particular vehicle has the older-style apple input and then I have adapted that to a lightning connector that does work very well next to that music interface we also have a

charge only USB port over on the driver side we have an attractive and very typical Audi display with large tachometer on the left and a large speedometer on the right we have a digital LED readout for the engine temperature as well as fuel level inside those gauges the multi information display between the speedometer and tachometer is controlled via this button arrangement on the

steering wheel we choose our options right here that’s between telephone navigation etc change options within that selection with this button right here and then scroll down the finer options with the scroll wheel and then we click down to ok taking a closer look at that display you can see we have our typical trip computer information right over here on the trip computer side distance to

empty distance traveled average economy speed etc we also have our Sirius XM display where we can actually choose channels right here on this screen and also click that other button which was that list looking button and you can actually change your source we go on over we also have the phone inter face you can actually choose people from your phone’s directory and then dial them

right within there we have our navigation display it shows us a compass if we do not have a destination right now selected you can also scroll around and get some of that trip computer information down below and that’s using that little scroll wheel on the steering wheel moving out to the steering wheel we have a three spoke design large spoke down here on the bottom smaller

spokes on the side sport grips right up here and down below as well see those controls I showed you earlier over here on the left side of the steering column on this side of the steering column we

have a voice command button navigation instruction repeat button and then we have a favorite button right here this could be set to do various things within the MMI system volume up and down button right over here and we click into mute you’ll notice that we don’t have a dedicated track forward backward button on either side of the steering wheel that’s because you actually have to use this multi-information display and the scroll wheel to go track forward backward if you’re on a media device or on an optical disc we also don’t have cruise control buttons because you’ll find those

on a stock on the left side of the steering wheel right next to the turn signal and high-beam stock and then over here on the right we have our windshield wiper stock there are a few key things you need to know about the Audi a3 up front the first thing is the a3 is a very very light vehicle the next thing you need to know is that we have a dual clutch transmission not an automatic in the a3

and that will feel a little bit different than a traditional automatic this is an awful lot smoother however it then the dual clutch transmissions that you’ll find from Mercedes as well as from Ford the

last thing you need to know about the a3 convertible is that you can actually open this soft top going up to 31 miles an hour so well we’re out here on my favorite winding Mountain Road I can actually open the top I’m going about 30 miles an hour on this road no problem opening or closing the top that really makes the a3 an awful lot more convenient than your average convertible because many of those convertibles out there will only let you operate the top when the vehicle is either completely stationary or going under about 15 miles an hour or so that’s especially critical

when you’re talking about hardtop competition because the vast majority of the hard tops out there need to be completely stopped in order to operate the top 30 miles an hour is the difference between annoying the traffic behind you when you’ve tried to lower your top at a stoplight and the light turns green or just going with the flow of traffic while your top descends the a3 Cabrio is not

a particularly powerful vehicle the 1.8 liter turbocharged version that we’re taking a look at here has about the same power as your average mid-sized four-cylinder sedan if you get the 2 liter

turbocharged version we get about 220 horsepower out of that engine that’s still a little bit below your average mid-sized v6 again even though the Cabrio is light that lack of power shows when it comes to acceleration I ran from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds flat in its 1.8 liter front-wheel drive model you can get the 2-liter turbocharged model it does get a little bit faster but it will still be a hair

slower than the a3 sedan that means that overall I’ll give acceleration 6 out of 10 points even though I’m giving acceleration a lower number part of that is because of what the a3 competes with naturally the a3 competes with the BMW 2 Series convertible but it also competes with the mercedes-benz SL K convertible the Mustang convertible the Camaro Convertible etcetera there is no

real direct competition for this vehicle now that there is no longer the Volvo c70 convertible which was a very direct competitor to the a3 you could call the Volkswagen Eos a direct competitor

however Volkswagen is cancelling the eos after this model year the light kerb weight really pays dividends when it comes to handling the a3 sedan is one of the best handling front-wheel drive sedans available in the United States and that really goes to this a3 convertible as well this is an incredibly good handling front-wheel drive vehicle it’s an awful lot of fun out on these winding mountain roads I’m going to give this 9 out of 10 points when it comes to handling even though this competes with those rear-wheel drive alternatives even though the a3 is obviously a front-wheel

drive vehicle the weight balance is not as far off as you might think and that really does help out the handling especially in neutral situations obviously if you’re after a very tail-happy vehicle or a

vehicle that you could steer with your right foot the a3 is not going to be that kind of vehicle you’re gonna definitely need to get something like a BMW 2 Series sorted by the same token if you’ve driven the Audi a5 convertible I found the a5 convertible to be decidedly front heavy it definitely plows in the corners in a way that you normally associate with a front heavy vehicle that’s not going

on in the a3 so if you’ve driven the a5 convertible and you didn’t find its dynamics very pleasing I suggest you try the a3 convertible it really is a very different kind of handling feel when it comes to breaking thanks again to the light curve wait I’m gonna give this nine out of 10 points stopping distances are short and fade resistance is very good this isn’t quite as good as some of those higher

horsepower or higher performance versions of the competition because they generally get wider tires and upgraded brakes fuel economy comes in at 10 out of 10 points the a3 has been scoring incredibly well even though I’ve been driving the a3 fairly hard during this week but averaging 27.4 miles per gallon in 600 miles of very mixed driving that’s much better than you’ll get in your

average entry in this segment that’s thanks to the light curve weight as much as it is the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission if you treat your a3 very gently out on the open highway you’ll have absolutely no troubles getting 35 to 36 miles per gallon between 65 and 70 miles an hour cabin noise is the one area where the a3 Cabriolet us down a little bit and that’s because of the fabric

soft top on this vehicle I’ve scored 73 decibels at 50 miles an hour which is one of the louder entries in this segment this is definitely louder than you’ll find in something along the lines of a BMW

4-series hardtop convertible with which I think the a3 really competes very well but I’ll talk more about that in the comparison section obviously with an only four-cylinder engine lineup under the hood this isn’t going to sound quite as nice with your top down as some of those six or eight cylinder engine options out there but the vast majority of manufacturers are now downsizing their

engine entries as well so the BMW 4 Series the mercedes-benz SL K they also have four-cylinder options available even Ford has recently introduced a four-cylinder turbo in their Mustang the two biggest things about the a3 for me were how fun and how practical this vehicle is this has made this one of my all-time favorite cars that I’ve ever driven this is an absolute hoot and a half to drive

out on your favorite winding Mountain Road it drives incredibly well even though it only gets eight seconds zero to sixty in fact I was really surprised by that zero to 60 time I thought it would be much faster because the dual clutch automatic transmission and the turbocharged engine conspire to make this vehicle feel peppier than it really is I think that’s a good thing because you want a

car that feels peppy even if it isn’t out on the road rather than a car that perhaps is peppy but doesn’t really feel very responsive I’d take the former pricing for 2015 starts at thirty-five thousand six hundred dollars which makes this not only one of the least expense of convertibles available in America one of the least expensive luxury branded convertibles but also one of the least expensive

luxury branded vehicles period available in the United States the a3 is also considerably less expensive than the other convertible options in the Audi lineup this is $12,000 less expensive than an Audi a5 convertible even though we have a reasonable amount of room in the back compared to the a5 obviously the a5 is a little bit bigger but the difference isn’t as big as you might think this is also $7000 less than an Audi TT which is a two-seater convertible not a four-seater convertible the a3 also gives you a surprisingly high amount of standard feature content like standard xenon

headlamps standard leather upholstery and two zone climate control keep in mind that many entry-level vehicles even in the next size category up from this have fake leather interiors so if you take a look at two Volvo’s s60 BMW 3-series Mercedes Benz C 300 out ei4 etc the vast majority of them now don’t offer leather in the standard model you actually have to pay extra for that and you

don’t in the a3 convertible although some of the a3 options are relatively expensive there aren’t as many options available in the a3 as you might expect or as you might like necessarily our Model S tested here rang in at just over 42,000 dollars if you want the 2.0 T model with the all-wheel-drive that starts at 38,000 6 and ends up at 40 8200 fully loaded that’s a much narrower range than

you find on a wide variety of luxury vehicles and it makes the a3 a little bit easier to keep costs under control of course the Mustang in the a3 are not the same kind of vehicle the Mustang is a rear-wheel drive vehicle this is a front-wheel drive vehicle in addition of course to the different branding but when you compare ibly equipped them as much as you possibly can the Mustang ends up

right about the same price as the a3 we also have about the same kind of interior room in the Mustang as we do in the a3 according to a number of independent surveys out there some people buy the Mustang just because it is a convertible and it’s a relatively inexpensive one if that describes you then I suggest stepping up to the a3 if you want a little bit more luxury it’s a valid upgrade from

that Mustang same thing goes for the Camaro Camaro starts at 31,000 $55 we don’t get nearly the standard feature content that we do in this vehicle right over here of course it is a rear-wheel

drive vehicle it handles a little bit better but the difference in handling between the bass Mustang and the bass Camaro isn’t as you might think with the a3 obviously they have a rear-wheel-drive bias so they’re a little bit more tail-happy in the corners but in terms of neutral handling the extraordinarily light curb weight of the a3 seriously helps out its handling numbers obviously Volkswagens EOS is a direct competitor to the a3 in many ways they both come from the same parent company however the EOS I think is less of a value than the a3 strangely enough not only is it

more expensive than the a3 it’s about $1,000 more expensive but we don’t have the same kind of feature content going on on the inside admittedly we do have that hardtop and that’s really where the majority of that cost difference comes from but I think I’d rather have the soft top and have more trunk room and have more creature comforts and more luxury features on the inside not to

mention the better brand of Audi versus Volkswagen BMWs mini division was conceived as the luxury front-wheel drive alternative to these other luxury front-wheel drive vehicles available so it may seem like the MINI Convertible at twenty-five thousand seven hundred dollars is the true value entry however you get a lot less power and not as good at handling in that Mini for the price if

you want to comparably equip that vehicle to this vehicle with about the same amount of power and about the same kind of performance about the same kind of handling ability it’ll set you back just about as much at thirty five thousand seven hundred fifty for that cost difference we get a better handling vehicle I think it’s also more attractive it’s definitely more luxurious looking whereas the Mini is perhaps a little bit more distinctive there aren’t as many ways to configure your a3 as your mini however we get considerably more room especially rear seat room unquestionably the a3

competes head-on with the BMW 2 to 8i convertible at 37 thousand nine hundred dollars that BMW doesn’t have quite the same kind of feature content that we get standard in this particular

vehicle now the 228 starts out with more power and we get less under the hood of this particular model even if you give this the 2 litre turbocharged engine we still don’t have as much power as you get in a 228 I if driving ability was the only metric that mattered then the 228 I would win easily over the Audi a3 it’s rear-wheel drive it has that rear wheel drive dynamic it handles a little bit

better it also has more power and is faster in a straight line I should also mention that I prefer BMWs iDrive to audi’s MMI infotainment system however the BMW is far less practical of a vehicle because we have that large hood up front we don’t nearly the kind of passenger combinations on the inside that we get in a three I found it much easier to jam people and the cargo that I regularly

carry in this vehicle the Delta between the handling abilities of the 228 I and the a three is also much narrower than you might think I found the seats in the driving position in the a3 slightly more comfortable and I really appreciated the ability to open and close this top at 31 miles an hour the Lexus is250 C is very easy to compare with the a3 they have about the same kind of interior room

however the is really is more of a 3-series or for serious competitor in theory as well as pricing structure so at forty three thousand three hundred sixty dollars it’s not nearly as good of a value as the a3 the is 250 C is also based off of the old is platform and as such it really seems dated on the inside when you compare it with the BMW 4-series or any of those four series sized alternatives at

the moment mercedes-benz does not have a convertible version of the CLA or the current generation c-class as a result the least expensive and most direct competitor to the a3 in terms of its overall pricing is the SL K 250 the SL k 250 is also the most different in terms of these comparisons because it is a two-seat roadster not a four-seat convertible to get the same kind of room that we

get in this audi a3 you have to step up to the BMW 428 I in the BMW lineup that will set you back 48,000 750 or considerably more than the a3 1.8 of course it will be faster it will handle a little bit

better but the 428 is considerably heavier thanks to its hardtop so the handling difference in terms of neutral handling is not as large as you might think same thing goes about Infiniti q60 at

48,000 550 we get the same kind of dynamics going on but we have a much smaller trunk that Infiniti q60 when the top is down has an incredibly small trunk and this trunk you can still fit two bags in there even when the top is in this position if you’re looking to spend thirty five to forty two thousand dollars on your next vehicle you should definitely put out YZ a3 on your shopping list this is a very practical convertible it handles incredibly well it’s also very comfortable very easy to live with the a3 is my new favorite car that includes both the 2014 and 2015 calendar years so I

would definitely put this over the Honda Accord Hybrid on the top of my shopping list of course for very different reasons the way my favorite vehicles list works of course is what vehicle would I

buy if I had to put my money on the line right now and at the moment it really would be the Audi a3 convertible that narrowly beats out the a3 sedan and e Honda Accord Hybrid which were the next two on my shopping list with the Accord Hybrid being tops mainly for its comfort its practicality and its high fuel economy this vehicle is on the tops of my shopping list for its comfort its practicality as a convertible as well as the excellent driving dynamics

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