The popularity of cabriolet models is growing, the latest manifestation of has been a new release from Audi. While for many years Audi have played second fiddle to rival German manufacturers BMW and Mercedes it seems as if they are finally coming into their own. Not only in terms of reliability, but seemingly the Audi range as a whole is becoming more stylish, edgier and generally more pleasing to the eye. This point is excellently illustrated by the sublime top of the range model, Audi R8. This beautiful sports car does however have a price tag to match, meaning that not many of the motoring fraternity will ever have the pleasure of having this car on their driveway.
Thankfully Audi have introduced a new car to the range that brings the stylish ethos of the R8 at a reasonable price. The new A3 cabriolet will compete with such models as the Peugeot 207 CC and the Volkswagen Eos and will hopefully become the prize car in the range. As the A3 is commonly considered to be the entry level model the chance to own a car of such style for a relatively low price should not be passed up easily. It is hoped that this car will attract buyers to the Audi range and act as a starting point for them to progress through the ranks.
The world of open topped touring can be a difficult formula to get right; while the Audi A4 is a decent convertible; it is possible that this leviathan will be upstaged by its smaller, cuter brother. Going on sale next month as the 'baby of the range', it is almost guaranteed to be popular with the motoring public. The designers have really excelled themselves this time to produce a car of such beauty and style. It is currently believed that dealerships throughout the country have in fact been taking orders for the last twelve months since the car was unveiled. With this kind of popularity it is doubtless the car will fly from the forecourts.
With the conformation of a price it should see demand for the car accelerate. Most cars in the Audi range are not cheap and this is no exception, at over twenty thousand pounds it is hardly pocket change. While younger drivers may be able to afford a Peugeot 206 Cabriolet this will undoubtedly be out of there price range. That is the price you pay for luxury however and the brand snobbery in the suburbs will add to the furore surrounding the release of this car.
Apart from the radical styling the car can actually be considered relatively sensible. Unlike many other open topped cars on the market such as the Peugeot 207 CC and VW Eos, Audi have decided to ignore the recent trend for folding hard tops for the lighter option of a soft cloth roof. This makes the A3 a four seater rather than a 'two and a half' like so many in this range of cars. Legroom is not at a premium and for the taller, the option of a drop down roof will definitely be appealing. The luggage space will also appeal to many; a rare luxury in the cabriolet market.
Usually speed of conversion from open to closed is a major factor in this market sector and the Audi does not disappoint. Drop down in nine or raise in eleven seconds, what is sure is that with these speeds, you will not even miss the smallest amount of sunshine. This time is the same as the BMW 125i SE and faster than the Mazda's paltry twelve seconds on the MX5. When the roof is down the car remains quiet, perfect for gorgeous summer drives.
The engine lives up to the reputation of the rest of the Audi range and provides performance and relative economy. In a market sector currently packed with choice, this little cabriolet is an ideal summer accompaniment. Dealers will be hoping this year's summer will be better than the last so the high sales figures will continue.
Motoring expert Thomas Pretty looks at the new baby of the Audi range, the A3 Cabriolet.