Review: Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013)

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Neat cloth-topped, four seater A3 based convertible with decent boot and fold-down rear seats. Best with 2.0 TFSI engine.

Early 1.9 TDI engine noisy, slow and doesn't suit convertible image. Some problems with early convertible tops and window mechanisms.

Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013): At A Glance

The Audi A3 Cabriolet introduced in 2008 was a good looking, essentially Golf based convertible sharing its running gear with the contemporary Audi A3 and VW Golf Mk V.

We tested the 2018 A3 Cabrio on a perfect day. Half way through our drive the skies opened and it rained cats, dogs, frogs and fishes. Ideal weather to check Audi's claim that you can get the roof over your head in 9 seconds flat.

Audi made some interesting claims about that roof. The advantages of fabric compared to the folding tin tops we have been seeing from almost everyone else.

Status is one. A coupe convertible with the top up doesn't look like a convertible. It can look like you are driving something as mundane as a saloon.

Trunk space is another. Most coupe convertibles rob you of almost all of it with the top down, but the Audi hood sits on top of the trunk, leaving a very useful 260 litres of space into which to post your luggage.

And it's lighter, so, combined with the strengthening of the structure at floor level, it gives the car a lower centre of gravity than a folding tintop.

Road Test of 2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet

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What does a Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013) cost?

List Price from £22,730
Buy new from £19,820
Contract hire from £216.14 per month

What's the Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013) like to drive?

You can get a 160PS 1.8TFSI, a 200PS 2.0TFSI, a 105PS 1.9TDI and a 140PS 2.0TDI. (That's the old PD engine rather than the new piezo injected 2.0TDI in the A4 B8.)

We drove a white one, which happened to be a 2.0T FSI S tronic. Though, on the basis of pre-orders, Audi expects the sales split to be only 30% petrol compared to 70% diesel.

It drives like an A3 2.0TFSI, or a Golf GTI 2.0TFSI, for that matter. Sporty, yet secure, with a very pleasant power delivery through the seamless 6-speed S tronic.

There's not a lot of legroom in the back, of course. Best to think of it as only an occasional four seater. The kind of car you and someone else could go on holiday in with all your luggage, then, when you got there, could pick up a couple of friends. The optional windbreak works well, and with the windows up even the rain stays off you until you have to slow down or stop.

When you get wet for the 6 seconds or so it takes to get some roof over you, then, after another 3 seconds, are snug as a bug in a rug. That's a very fast top.

So what's it to be? £20,750 only buys a basic, fairly slow, 1.9 diesel. The kind of car for older couples who won't exactly give the A3 convertible the sort of image Audi is seeking.

You'll need £23,660 for the most basic quick one. Though I can also see the £22,300 160PS 1.8 TFSI selling quite well.

The 2.0TFSI S line S tronic we drove comes to all of £28,460, and that's before you add satnav or a windbreak.

But white with a red top has to be the colour combination to have. In a metallic grey the car just doesn't get noticed.

Need a sports car with four seats? It has to be the A3 Cabrio or the 1-Series convertible. Battle of the beach roads commences this summer.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 TFSI 50 mpg 12.2 s 132 g/km
1.6 40 mpg 12.5 s 167 g/km
1.6 TDI 66 mpg 12.2 s 114 g/km
1.8 TFSI 42–43 mpg 8.0–8.2 s 154–156 g/km
1.8 TFSI S tronic 43 mpg 8.0 s 154 g/km
1.9 TDI 55 mpg 12.3 s 134 g/km
2.0 TDI 61 mpg 9.6 s 119 g/km
2.0 TDI S tronic 55 mpg 9.4 s 134 g/km
2.0 TFSI 39 mpg 7.4 s 169 g/km
2.0 TFSI S tronic 38 mpg 7.3 s 171 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

26–58 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

My 2011 Audi A3 is using a lot of oil - do I have any rights with the supplying dealer?

I bought a 2011 Audi A3 1.8 TFSI six months ago at 45,000 miles. I've used four litres of oil to cover 6000 miles since my purchase. This is just within the handbook tolerance but I'm concerned that oil consumption will increase and the engine will become choked if I keep this car. This engine seems to have been rectified FOC by Audi in the USA . Am I right to be concerned about this very high consumption and do I have any rights?
Yes, this EA888 engine and the similar 2.0-litre EA888 can have an oil consumption problem. The trouble is, in your case, it is not yet sufficiently severe to force the supplier to do something about it. However, you should write to the supplier expressing your concern, send your letter by Post Office Special Delivery, keep a copy and staple the certificate of posting to the copy so it becomes a matter of record that you did bring this to the dealer's attention at an early stage.
Answered by Honest John
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What Cars Are Similar To The Audi A3 Cabriolet (2008 – 2013)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Economical and Convertible.

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What do owners think?

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