Newest iteration of its smallest drop-top model, the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet makes its debut in Frankfurt. Aimed at youthful buyers on a global basis, this luxury compact convertible also shares a good bit of the state-of-the art platform engineering that underpins its Audi A3 Sedan and Sportback siblings. Although shown in Euro trim, it will go on sale in the U.S. at some point next year as a 2015 model.
Slightly larger overall than the vehicle it replaces, the new A3 Cabriolet has shed more than 110 pounds in the redesign process thanks to the greater use of lightweight aluminum in its main structure and suspension elements. It's also gained stiffness and structural rigidity, which coupled with its electronic stability control and electronic limited-slip differential promise to endow even the base model with excellent handling characteristics. Audi also will offer the car with various standard/optional dynamic enhancements including its drive select vehicle dynamics system, Audi magnetic ride adaptive suspension, adaptive cruise control, adaptive-feel/progressive-ratio power steering and a lowered sport suspension.
Although it maintains an unmistakable visual link to the Sedan and Sportback, the exterior styling of the new A3 Cabriolet has a decidedly more aggressive character. The Euro-spec version will be available in Attraction, Ambition and Ambiente trims and offer an S line sport package for the Ambition line. All are expected to make the Atlantic crossing intact. Not surprisingly, the basic design of its 4-passenger cabin borrows heavily from its A3 siblings and also embodies a number of "class-above" elements including a primo Bang & Olufsen sound system and MMI Navigation plus package, 7.0-inch color monitor that automatically extends from the center of the instrument panel and Audi Connect that provides a WLAN hotspot with super-fast LTE capability. Hung from a magnesium steel frame, the Cabrio's power-activated fabric soft top has a glass rear window and can be fully cycled in less than 18 seconds.
In addition to standard pop-up rollover bars, the 2015 A3 Cabriolet also will offer a premium acoustic lid with a thicker internal foam layer to further reduce interior noise levels. Audi says dropping the top barely impacts the capacity of the A3 Cabrio's 10.4 cu-ft trunk, and that its standard fold-down rear seatbacks enhance the utility of that stow space regardless of whether you're in open or closed mode.
At launch, European A3 Cabriolets will offer 1.4-liter and 1.8-liter turbocharged TFSI gasoline engines as well as the 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel while all U.S. versions will be fitted with the new 2.0-liter TFSI engine that makes 210 horsepower. Initially, the first vehicles to roll off of the assembly line in Gyor, Hungary, will be front-drive only, but a Quattro AWD option is due to arrive shortly after the start of production. Slightly further down the road - at least in Europe - the A3 Cabriolet will be joined by a high-performance S3 variant. In addition to its bespoke body bits, lowered suspension, magnetic ride control, tweaked Quattro drivetrain and bigger brakes, the S3 Cabrio will arrive packing a 2.0-liter TFSI turbo-four that makes 296 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque - the same engine that will be used in the 2015 S3 Sedan that is coming to America. Backed by a 6-speed S-tronic autoshifter, this raging ragtop reportedly can sprint from 0-62 mph in just 5.4 seconds and also return 33.1 mpg on the European econo cycle.
Expect more details on the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet, as well as on the A3/S3 Sedan and A3 Sportback, to be released closer to its actual on-sale dates here in America.
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