running lights in integral light strip
of 7 white LEDs.
3 December 2007.
In French, they call it plein
air. It can refer to painting, playing, driving or
whatever you wish to do or imagine yourself doing as
long as you do it in... open air.
With a successful convertible
cousin known as the Volkswagen
Eos, why shouldn't Audi's A3 get its full rights
to the plein air experience, especially that
both are derived from the VW Golf platform?
Hence, here comes Audi's view of
the compact, lower medium or C-segment convertible, on
the premium side of the fence, where the most direct
competitor is the... BMW
1 Series convertible.
Nevertheless, having a common Golf
platform shouldn't necessarily mean that the Eos and
A3 Cabriolet need to be too familiar with one another.
4 engines are direct injection units
So, while the Eos cousin comes with
sliding hard top, the new Audi A3 Cabriolet opted
for a soft roof, the classical way... just like the
BMW 1 Series convertible.
The Audi A3 Cabriolet will be
launched this spring (from February in Germany), with
two petrol and two turbo diesel (TDI) engines. All of
them are direct injection units with turbocharging and
performance (engine details
follow below) ranging from 77 kW (105 bhp) to 147
kW (200 bhp).
The soft top (more
details) is available with three hood colours:
black, blue and red, in semi-automatic or fully
automatic versions which can be opened hydraulically
in nine seconds.
at Audi Hungaria
The new Audi A3
Cabriolet is built at Audi Hungaria, a
wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG
based in Győr. It already
produces the Audi TT Coupé and TT
Roadster - also based on the VW Golf
platform - and supplies aluminium body
parts for the Audi R8 supercar
This year, over
50,000 vehicles should leave the
production line in Győr, where
maximum capacity is 300 vehicles per
day (TT Coupé, Roadster and A3
started at Audi Hungaria in 1998 with
the production of the Audi TT. Since
then, more than 300,000 vehicles have
been produced in Győr. The new
generation of the Audi TT Coupé and
TT Roadster has been assembled at Audi
Hungaria since 2006.
Audi Hungaria Motor
Kft. is one of the principal engine
suppliers to the Audi and Volkswagen
Groups. In 2006, the company built
1,893,600 engines and 23,675 vehicles.
Audi says that the body structure
contains a high proportion of high-strength,
ultra-high-strength and hot-formed steels, as well as
a large number of reinforcing measures to provide
maximum rigidity and crash safety.
Other features of the 4-passenger
A3 Cabriolet include the electromechanical power
steering, the four-link rear
suspension, as well as an optional
Exterior - Measuring
4,238 millimetres in length, 1,765 mm in width and
1,424 mm in height (see the A3
Cabriolet dimensions), the Audi A3 Cabriolet looks
compact and light. The face is dominated by the large
single-frame grille, and the headlights can be
supplied optionally with xenon plus lights, which can
operate in tandem with the dynamic adaptive light
technology. The "wing" – a chrome
vapour-coated wing-shaped contour – has become a
characteristic Audi element; its form varies depending
on the type of headlight.
The daytime running lights in the
form of an integral light strip consist of seven white
light-emitting diodes in conjunction with the xenon
plus units. Similarly, the rear lights are of a flat,
broad design. Their technology is based on fibre optic
rods, but the visual effect is of two radiant rings.
From the side, the wheel arches
accommodate large wheels: in the case of the
Attraction equipment line, 16 inches in diameter. The
Ambition version has 17-inch wheels made from cast
aluminium. 18-inch wheels from quattro GmbH are
available as an option.
- To keep its shape, close fit and tightness, the hood
gets a mechanically moved metal linkage, and a large,
heated glass rear window.
The fabric top is available in two
versions – the semi-automatic soft top and the fully
automatic acoustic hood. In both cases the hood is
moved by a high-pressure pump with two hydraulic
cylinders. They open the soft top in nine seconds.
When lowered, the hood is folded up
in a Z-pattern so that it takes up a minimum amount of
space. The header comes to rest flush with the body.
The folded hood is set down in a compact sheet steel
compartment within the luggage compartment.
hood opens in 9 seconds, by a
The high-performance kinematics
allow the acoustic hood to be opened and closed at
speeds of up to 30 km/h, by a switch on the centre
console, or from outside the car, via the ignition key
in the door lock.
The acoustic hood of the fully
automatic soft top comes with a synthetic fibre mat
between the outer skin and the inner lining to further
improve thermal insulation and soundproofing. Audi
claims that a speed of 140 km/h, it is only 1 dB (A)
louder inside the Audi A3 Cabriolet than in the A3. If
only the front seats are occupied, a wind deflector
can be positioned above the rear bench seat in a few
steps from one side of the vehicle.
Inside, the rear seat backs are
split 50:50 and can be released from the luggage
compartment, increasing the luggage capacity to 674
litres and the load area length to 150 centimetres. In
the standard arrangement, the luggage compartment has
a capacity of 260 litres, whether the hood is open or
The windscreen is as upright as on
the A3 with permanent roof. Because the folded hood
occupies little space, it has not been necessary to
move the rear bench seat further forward, leaving more
legroom at the rear, thanks in part to the
header comes to rest flush with the
- The A3 Cabriolet is launched with four engine
versions, two petrol (TFSI) and two diesel (TDI) ones.
All of them have four cylinders, turbocharging and
- 1.9 TDI: From 1,896
cm3, the 1.9 TDI generates an output of 77
kW (105 bhp) and 250 Nm of torque at just 1,900 rpm.
It takes 12.3 seconds to pass the 100 km/h mark, and
the top speed is 185 km/h. It burns just 5.1 litres of
fuel per 100 km, and is available with a five-speed
- 2.0 TDI: The new
2.0 TDI with its displacement of 1968 cm3,
is equipped with four-valve per cylinder
(2-valves/cylinder in the 1.9 TDI), two balancing
shafts and a newly developed common rail system. Its
turbocharger has variable geometry for greater
responsiveness. It develops 103 kW (140 bhp) and
generates 320 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500
rpm, accelerating the A3 Cabriolet from 0 to 100 km/h
in 9.9 seconds and up to a top speed of 204 km/h. It
makes the 100 kilometres on an average of 5.3 litres
of fuel and its emissions undercut the limits of the
future Euro 5 standard. It is optionally available
with the S tronic transmission instead of the manual
side airbags are integrated into the
backs of the front seats. In the event
of a rear-end collision, the
integrated head restraint system
cushions the head and upper body.
- 1.8 TFSI: The newly
developed 1.8 TFSI (a very close relation of the 2.0
TFSI) produces 118 kW (160 bhp) and 250 Nm, the latter
across an engine-speed range of 1,500 to 4,200 rpm. An
adjustable intake camshaft optimises filling of its
combustion chambers, with two balancing shafts to
enhance its refinement. With its six-speed manual
gearbox, the A3 Cabriolet 1.8 TFSI accelerates to 100
km/h in 8.3 seconds and on to 218 km/h; it
accomplishes the EU driving cycle on an average of 7.3
litres per 100 km. It is also optionally available
with the S tronic transmission.
- 2.0 TFSI: the
two-litre version generates 280 Nm of torque from
1,800 to 5,000 rpm, and between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm it
develops 147 kW (200 bhp). The 2.0 TFSI likewise
operates with an adjustable intake camshaft and two
balancing shafts, and its compression ratio of 10.5:1
guarantees high thermodynamic efficiency. With the S
tronic dual-clutch gearbox that is available alongside
the six-speed manual gearbox, the A3 Cabriolet 2.0
TFSI sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds; its
top speed is 231 km/h. It uses on average 7.6 litres
of fuel per 100 kilometres.
windscreen is as upright as on the A3
with permanent roof.
S tronic - All Audi
A3 Cabriolet versions are launched with front wheel
drive. The engine versions from the 103 kW (140 bhp)
upwards are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as
standard. The S tronic combines the advantages of both
automatic and manual transmission. At high loads and
engine speeds, it shifts between its six gears in just
0.2 seconds without palpably interrupting the power
The driver can operate the S tronic
by means of the one-touch lever or using the shift
paddles on the steering wheel. There are furthermore
two fully automatic modes available, D for Drive
(standard) and S for Sport. Audi says that the S
tronic operates highly efficiently and its electronic
management in the automatic mode ensures that the
engine runs as economically as possible at low engine
soft top is available with 3 colours,
semi or fully automatic.
and steering - A classic layout was
adopted for the front suspension – a McPherson
design with triangulated lower wishbones. The subframe
on which the structure is mounted is made from
aluminium, and is bolted to the body to improve
The four-link rear suspension also
gets a subframe connected to the body, with compact
coil springs and dampers for vertical support.
The rack-and-pinion steering is
electromechanically power assisted with
speed-dependent control. The system does not use
energy when the car is driving in a straight line,
saving according to Audi figures 0.2 litres of fuel
per 100 kilometres on average.
For the Ambition equipment line,
the A3 Cabriolet is available optionally with sports
suspension that lowers the body by 15 mm. The
Attraction line comes with 16-inch wheels with size
205/55 tyres. On the Ambition, 17-inch aluminium
wheels with size 225/45 tyres are standard. Audi can
also supply four other wheel versions as options, as
well as a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The brake system gets
ventilated front discs (solid discs at the rear), with
ABS (anti-lock braking system), hydraulic brake assist
(BA), EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) and
ESP (electronic stability program).
Body - 45 percent of
the bodyshell is made from high-strength steels, while
nine percent consists of ultra-high-strength steels,
combining low weight with rigidity. The roof frame and
roll-over bar incorporate hot-formed steels for
Reinforcing profiles are integrated
into the side sills and vehicle floor. V-pattern steel
profiles additionally reinforce the forward structure
and rear end, and there is a capsule with another
reinforcing frame beneath the engine compartment.
There are high-strength panels in the B-posts.
lights are of a flat, broad design,
with fibre optic rods.
A box-shaped structure made from
high-strength sheet steel separates the passenger
compartment from the luggage compartment. Head/thorax
side airbags are integrated into the backs of the
front seats. In the event of a rear-end collision, the
integrated head restraint system (opposite photo)
cushions the head and upper body.
- The Attraction line of the A3 Cabriolet comes
standard with a semi-automatic hood, four electric
windows and the daytime running lights.
The sporty Ambition line gets
17-inch aluminium wheels, front fog lights and sports
suspension. Inside, its equipment includes sports
seats, a driver information system, a leather sports
steering wheel, a wind deflector and special inlays,
upholstery and door sill trims.
Options include multifunction
steering wheels, automatic air conditioning, leather
upholstery, heated seats, a parking aid, xenon plus
headlights, adaptive light for cornering, storage
package for the interior and luggage compartment, a
ski and snowboard bag and a tyre pressure monitoring
The multimedia options extend from
the chorus CD radio, with four speakers, to the Bose
sound system. All audio systems from the concert radio
upwards include an interface on the centre tunnel for
connecting up an iPod or MP3 player. Two navigation
systems are available, with monochrome or large colour
monitor. For mobile telephony, Audi offers a mobile
phone preparation in combination with the audio
The A3 Cabriolet will be available
in 15 paint colours. An S line exterior package and S
line sports package will also be available from