2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jacob Black

Principality of Monaco – “There is a reason Audi brought us here. These guys get this car,” I said to my companion. He agreed. Everywhere we drove in our vivid red 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet people were eyeing us off. They knew this car was new, and they knew that it was special.

We were driving the A3 Cabriolet on our tour of Nice and Monaco in which we also previewed the 2015 Audi S3 sedan.

Not only is it new, this little car is as cute as a button. The front slopes down gently, giving the car a slight bum-up stance that makes it seem playful, the signature Audi grille and headlight shape translate well to the small car platform, and the honeycomb inserts in the front bumper add a sporty air.

In red, the A3 grabs your attention, but it’s the shape and fine character lines that hold it. There is no roll bar to upset the aesthetic rhythm, instead Audi’s automated rollover protection system hides away under the skin – if the car’s sensors detect an imminent rollover, they’ll fire out two metal struts behind the headrests, thus saving the neck of the hapless driver within.

The triple-layer soft top with a heated glass rear window can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 50 km/h and weighs just 50 kg. There is an optional “acoustic” soft top which further improves sound insulation. Rather than build a metal folding top, Audi opted for a soft top with hidden aluminum framing. That way everyone knows it’s a convertible even with the top up – after all, what is a poser’s car if one can’t pose in it?

Now before you fire up, let me say this; I have always believed that cars with no roof ought not be driven by men. Roofs hide our horrible mugs from the rest of the world, and that’s a good thing. Convertibles are for people who want to be seen, and yet most of the people who buy them probably shouldn’t be!

“Convertibles are for posers,” I’d scoff, except my Land Rover of course; that thing was tough.

But driving along the mountains of Monte Carlo and Southern France, touring the edge of the Mediterranean with the top down and the envious eyes of Europeans following us everywhere we went, I realized why people love to drive top-down cars.  I came to love it too, and I learned something about being a poseur… It. Is. Awesome.

When a French woman in head-to-toe Gucci and diamonds who would normally sidestep you like a Poodle poo on the pavement, instead comes to chat with you about your car, it’s hard not to instantly love that car.

But enough about my fun, what about the car?

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet. Click image to enlarge

The A3 Cabriolet will be available in Canada in Quattro all-wheel drive with a 2.0L TFSI engine and S tronic transmission. The 2.0L TFSI engine is the same from the 2014 A3 sedan and will produce 220 hp at 4,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque between 1,600 and 4,400 rpm. We weren’t able to test that engine on the drive event as in Europe the A3 Cab gets three different drivetrains, a 1.4L TFSI, 1.8L TFSI and 2.0L TDI (diesel). The 2.0L TFSI engine is the only engine available in Canada and is more powerful than each of those available over the pond. But before you chortle “ha ha… our engine is better, nah-nah-nana-nah”, the Europeans have the last laugh; they get a fantastic six-speed manual as well.

Standard “where’s our manual?!” whinge aside, the S tronic gearbox proved effective in our drive through the mountain passes of Monaco and Southern France, selecting lower gears quickly and with a minimum of fuss – though without the über-fun throttle-blip bark of the box fitted to the S3 sedan.

Cruising down the coastal roads the engine and gearbox were quiet enough to not be intrusive even with the open cabin, allowing us to bask in the glorious Mediterranean sun without distraction.

Connect with Autos.ca