The A3 Cabriolet now gets a petrol 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 150bhp between 5000-6000rpm, and 250Nm of torque ranging from 1500rpm to 3500rpm. It replaces the earlier 177bhp 1.8-litre motor which surprisingly made the same torque output. Power is laid down on the road through the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Now, this 1.4-litre motor runs by ‘cylinder-on-demand’ which gets two of the cylinders to shut down at low output requirements. On the whole, this engine is refined until around 4500rpm after which it tends to get noisy.
There aren’t any modes for the engine but the gearbox gets two modes: ‘D’ and ‘S’ which are actuated by tapping the lever. The main difference here is that the ‘D’ mode is less responsive than the ‘S’ mode. S mode is quicker as the gear box holds the lower gears to serve instant response as soon as the accelerator pedal is depressed.This DSG ‘box is quick to shift and responds extremely well, however, there is a tendency for it to make the power output jerky, especially at lower speeds.
Off the mark, the DSG transmission bogs down a bit to prevent a proper launch to save the gearbox. However, once on the move, this motor pulls in an extremely linear fashion with a mid-range surge at about 1800rpm, all the way up to the 6200rpm red-line. It flashes past the 100kmph mark in 9.65sec, and it takes all of 22.39sec to reach 150kmph before hitting a top whack of 220kmph. Since the motor is so smooth, it masks the feeling of speed and a glance at the speedo was what brought us to reality. Even the driveability tests of 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph in kick-down, which were clocked in 5.36sec and 6.69sec respectively, were accomplished in a relaxed and composed manner without any racket.
Since convertibles lack the structural rigidity of their hard top siblings, there is some flex that is usually witnessed. The A3 Cabriolet too lets out a slight judder when traversing bumpy sections of our roads. However, the ride quality of the A3 Cabriolet, like the A3 sedan, truly impressed us with the absorbent ride at low speeds, especially over harsh bumps. As the momentum rises, it continues to just absorb bumps with ease while showing off a flat and planted feel that’s quite reassuring. There’s no suspension noise either.
What also aids this well-judged suspension setup to derive this favourable output is the higher profile that comes with the 205/55 R16 tyres used here. With the grip from these tyres and a steering that’s pretty direct, you will enjoy going around bends as the A3 Cabriolet’s road manners, though not sharp, is quite predictable. Again, this is despite there being some amount of body roll too. While on the go, we also noticed that road noises filter through to the cabin from the rear portion when the roof is up. On the braking front, the A3 Cabriolet brakes with reasonable confidence and there’s enough feedback from the brake pedal to know what’s happening at the wheels.