Review: Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014)

Rating:

A big improvement on the previous model. Impressively refined and quiet. Usable boot. Rides and handles well. More interior room.

S line sports suspension best avoided if you want comfort.

Recently Added To This Review

8 July 2017

Announcement on Reuters that Volkswagen is recalling 766,000 VW Golf Mk VII, Audi A3, Skoda Octavia and SEAT Leon worldwide for a software update to their braking control systems. The braking control... Read more

5 January 2017

Report that November 2017 Audi A3 TFSI S tronic Cabriolet does not remember the Audi Drive Select settings after having been switched off. Simply defaults to the standard settings. Read more

4 November 2015

EA288 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI engines recalled in USA because the rear camshaft lobe is prone to unexpectedly shear off from the shaft. The failure causes reduced engine power and loss of vacuum pump power,... Read more

Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014): At A Glance

The second generation Audi A3 Cabriolet of 2014 moved on considerably from the 2008-2014 version with much improved refinement, a far better interior and impressive handling. If you covet a stylish and high quality small convertible then look no further than the A3 Cabriolet. 

It gets a sleeker and sharper design that makes it appear more like a mini A5 Cabriolet. Compared to its rather stumpy predecessor, it's now a handsome looking open top.

A feeling of quality flows through the A3 Cabriolet from the excellent interior to the smooth and near-silent mechanism used for the folding roof. The roof itself folds in 18 seconds and on top models is upgraded to an acoustic hood that does an impressive job of cutting out noise. There's more boot space than before too and the luggage space is a lot easier to access.

It's also decent to drive with responsive steering and little body roll. This is helped by a lightweight design and a relatively long wheelbase with short overhangs. The best part is the ride quality, which is one of the best around in a convertible. That's on the standard suspension. You can opt for sports suspension which is stiffer, lower and of course not as forgiving.

The engine line up includes the excellent 1.4 TFSI turbocharged petrol. It features a clever cylinder on demand system that cuts out two of the four cylinders when they're not needed.  This helps boost economy and lower emissions. And also allows the engine to pull well from low revs. In 2014, the 140PS was replaced by the upgraded 150PS version.

All the engines are frugal, and the 1.6 TDI averages more than 70mpg according to the claimed figures. So expect more like 50mpg in real life. For a blend of performance and economy you could opt for the 2.0 TDI available in two versions: one with 150PS and a 184PS model.

With the top down the A3 Cabriolet is a delight to drive. There's little in the way of wind buffeting, especially with the optional wind deflector fitted, so it's refined and relaxing. The rigid body means there's none of the vibration and shudder you often experience in soft tops. It's also more spacious and comfortable inside making this one of the best convertibles on the market.

Audi A3 Cabriolet 2014 Road Test

What does a Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014) cost?

List Price from £22,725
Buy new from £17,075
Contract hire from £206.39 per month

Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4421–4434 mm
Width 1960 mm
Height 1388–1409 mm
Wheelbase 2595–2596 mm

Full specifications

This second generation A3 Cabriolet is bigger than its predecessor which is good news for interior space. It feels more roomy in the front while the back is far better with a less gloomy feel with the roof up plus more elbow and leg room for rear passengers. It's not the kind of car you'd regularly want to travel in the back of for any distance - but as occassional seats they're more than comfortable.

The roof folds down in around 18 seconds which is slower than the old model - that took 10 seconds. But on the plus side you can operate it up to speeds of 30mph which is faster than previously. The electric roof mechanism itself is amazingly quiet and smooth - you barely notice it neatly folding away. And when it is down the A3 Cabriolet looks great, as the roof is hidden away - there are no exposed gaps or folds showing.

The quality of the cabin has improved considerably over the previous model. It follows the same design as the A3 hatchback which means you get one of the best interiors around. It's neatly styled with some love details like the circular air vents and the metal trim - incorporating a row of buttons -  across the dash that flows through onto the doors. Everything has a sophisticated feel to it highlighted in elements like the air conditioning controls.

The boot is usable too with a bigger opening than the old model. It's still not huge at 320 litres but as the space is quite long, you can get a surprising amount in. The rear seats also fold down in one go thanks to a handle in the boot, which allows you to fit a bit more in. To drop the roof down you need to have a cover in place which cuts boot space to 287 litres.

There are no longer rollover hoops in the back which means rear visibility - particularly with the roof up - is much improved. It also means it feels less cramped in the back. Instead the A3 Cabriolet now has an active rollover protection system which consists of two spring-loaded plates which pop up from behind the rear seats.

Standard equipment levels on the A3 Cabriolet are impressive with things like DAB digtal radio, an iPod connection and Bluetooth as standard. The hood is available in three colours on Sport and S line versions which also get Audi drive select, allowing you to change the steering, gearbox on S tronic models and throttle response across five different settings.

SE models come with a fully automatic hood finished in black, 16-inch alloys, air conditioning, MMI radio, 11mm thick powered folding screen, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, light and rain sensor package plus preparation for SD-card based navigation.

Sport has 17-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, dual-zone climate control, three layer acoustic hood available in three colours.

S line adds 18-inch alloys, part-leather upholstery, S line sports steering wheel, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights plus S line body styling.

Child seats that fit a Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014) like to drive?

One of the first thing that shines through in the A3 Cabriolet is its refinement. Compared to the previous model it's far better when it comes to ride quality plus there's less vibration through the body. This is down to special reinforcements to aid rigidity plus the fact it's actually lighter than the model it replaces. A longer wheelbase and overall length help to. As a result it feels every inch the premium convertible it's marketed as.

The second thing you notice is what's absent - noise. The A3 Cabriolet is impressively quiet even with the roof down. You don't get too buffeted by wind, although the optional wind deflector does make a big difference, while even at higher speeds there's little in the way of wind noise from around the top of the windscreen. The roof itself is a traditional fabric affair while Sport and S line models come with an even better acoustic hood with more inner padding for better sound insulation.

This combination of a lighter weight, wider track and the fact the A3 Cabriolet uses the same platform as the A3 hatchback and the latest Volkswagen Golf, means it handles very well too. The steering is nicely weighted, albeit slighty artificial feeling, but there's nothing wrong with the way it responds through corners with impressive front end grip. Bodyroll is kept well under control too making it enjoyable to drive quickly.

The standard suspension on SE models provides impressive comfort and would be our choice. Sport and S line models get 15mm lowered suspension and 17-inch and 18-inch alloys respectively. However what you can do is choose either a Sport or S line and opt for the standard SE suspension at no extra cost. At the other end of the scale, S line models can be specified with S line sports suspension which is lowered by 25mm. Again it's a no cost option though so there's an impressive choice.

The precision of the major controls - such as the weight of the clutch and the slickness of the gear shift - add to that feeling of quality throughout the A3 Cabriolet. This flows through to the excellent engine range. The entry-level model is the 1.4 TFSI engine. We're big fans if these small turbocharged engines and it doesn't disappoint in the soft top version of the A3.

It's quiet, smooth yet has a lovely burst of pace from low revs thanks to the turbocharger. Its zest and refinement suit the nature of the A3 Cabriolet perfectly and it's also surprisingly good at motorway speeds where it's not frantic as you might imagine a small engine would be. The 1.4 TFSI is also fitted with a cylinder in demand system as standard. This switches off two of the cylinders when the engine isn't under stress - for instance when coasting along on the motorway - to save fuel. 

For more pep there's the 1.8 TFSI which has 180PS and makes the A3 Cabriolet feel like an open top GTI. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 7.8 seconds and it has great response when you press the throttle. This was later replaced by a 2.0 TFSI with 190PS. If you want outright enjoyment then this is the one to go for aside from the 300PS S3 Cabriolet of course.

Diesel engines and open top cars aren't often a winning combination but the TDI units in the A3 Cabriolet work well. For starters both the 1.6 TDI and 2.0 TDI engines are quiet - so even with the roof down you rarely notice you're in a diesel unless you really reach high revs. The 1.6 TDI may lack a bit of sparkle but it's impressive for a small diesel.. It pulls well and is excellent on the motorway. The best aspect is economy which should be more than 70mpg.

The 2.0 TDI was initially available as a 150PS version while the 184PS variant arrived in February 2014 and can be specified with quattro four-wheel drive. Again economy is impressive with the 150PS model returning a claimed 67.3mpg with CO2 of just 110g/km.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 TFSI 140 57 mpg 9.1 s 114 g/km
1.4 TFSI 140 S tronic 58 mpg 9.1 s 114 g/km
1.4 TFSI 150 57–59 mpg 8.6–8.9 s 110–118 g/km
1.4 TFSI 150 S tronic 55–58 mpg 8.6–8.9 s 114–118 g/km
1.5 TFSI 150 54 mpg 8.9 s 118–121 g/km
1.5 TFSI 150 S Tronic 57 mpg 8.9 s 114–118 g/km
1.6 TDI 67–72 mpg 11.0–11.4 s 104–114 g/km
1.8 TFSI 47 mpg 7.7 s 140 g/km
1.8 TFSI quattro S tronic 42–43 mpg 7.6 s 154–157 g/km
1.8 TFSI S tronic 49 mpg 7.8 s 133 g/km
2.0 TDI 63 mpg 8.6 s 115 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 64–67 mpg 8.6–8.9 s 110–115 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 quattro 57–58 mpg 8.5–8.8 s 128–131 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 S tronic 58–64 mpg 8.5–8.8 s 115–126 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 60–66 mpg 7.9 s 117–123 g/km
2.0 TDI 184 quattro S tronic 54–58 mpg 7.4–7.6 s 132–134 g/km
2.0 TFSI 49 mpg 7.3 s 131–132 g/km
2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 46 mpg 6.9 s 139–141 g/km
2.0 TFSI S tronic 48 mpg 7.2 s 134–135 g/km
35 TFSI 50 mpg 8.9 s 128–129 g/km
35 TFSI S tronic 54 mpg 8.9 s 119–121 g/km
40 TFSI S tronic - - 142 g/km
S3 2.0 TFSI S tronic Hatch 40 mpg 5.4 s 165 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014)

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

75%

Real MPG

31–57 mpg

MPGs submitted

46

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 (2014)?

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

What's the best convertible for comfort and reliability?

I'm 75 years old and would like to buy a comfortable convertible as my last car. I'm not interested in speed but more comfort and reliability. I would also like room in the back for my three grandchildren. If possible I'd want an automatic petrol.
A Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet would be a lovely choice, but it's not cheap - a C180 automatic starts at around £41,000. If you'd prefer something smaller, consider an Audi A3 Cabriolet. Or, as something a bit different, how about a Ford Mustang? The 2.3-litre EcoBoost will be fine for your needs.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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