The Audi A3 cabriolet has exactly the same layout and elements as the sedan and is available with either the full grey colour scheme or the two-tone beige and grey combination which looks much better but in the long run is likely to be harder to maintain.
Slip into the driver’s seat and you are greeted by a four-spoke steering wheel and analog dials with a digital display nestled in between. Reach over to the side as well as under the seat to adjust yourself into a comfortable position and you are greeted by manual controls to perform all three functions, a let –down when you consider that this car is priced at Rs 44 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The centre console is a chrome affair thanks to everything in the middle being either laced with it or getting a shiny garnish. While I would have normally criticised the use of so much bling in the cabin, it seems to have been done in an elegant way and with just the right amount to make it look premium.
The infotainment system is pretty basic and requires you to have the proprietary Audi MMI cable to physically connect anything to the system. It makes use of a five-inch screen which pops out of the dashboard when you activate it. While this may feel rudimentary, what is quite exciting is the B&O speaker system which work quite well even when the roof is down. The navigation system has to be specified as an optional extra when purchasing the car.
One of the elements I found particularly interesting were the aircon vents which have been designed to resemble a jet fighter’s turbines. The vents get a chrome bezel which has to be rotated to control the airflow and a tug or push on the central circle will either focus or diffuse the airflow respectively. The AC itself is a dual-climate zone unit and is pretty effective thanks to the small cabin.
Move over to the back and there is not much on offer there. The reduced wheelbase means that space is hardly available at the back making the seats best suited to small children or for carrying luggage.
However, that being said there are dual AC vents as well as cup holders for the rear passengers. The seats also tumble forward fully for additional carrying capacity. The boot space is 320-litres which is not much due to the reduced dimensions but can swallow up a few bags even with the roof down.
The real party begins when the roof goes down. As we had said in the exterior section, it is a 20- second synchronised dance between the windows, roof and the boot after which the car takes on its party avatar. You sit low in the cabin and are treated to the sweet burble of the 1.8-litre TFSI engine when you floor the throttle.
Having spent so much time in a convertible for the first time in my life, it was a strange yet amazing experience to keep moving but also be treated to the full visual spectacle above and beside me while we drove up and down the slopes of Malshej Ghats outside Mumbai. Since it is a rare body style, you do get a lot of attention when the top is down.