2017 Audi A3 Convertible

2017 audi a3 convertible – DOC658930

With 2016 just around the corner, not much is going on in the auto industry as far as new releases go, but that doesn’t mean automakers are on vacation around this time. Audi, for instance, which already had a busy 2015 that brought us new generations of the Q7, A4, and R8, is taking advantage of the snowy Scandinavian winter to test revised versions of the A3 compact, which should arrive just in time for the 2017 model year. Having already seen the sedan dashing through the snow, it’s now time to have a closer look at the convertible.

Set to break cover sometime in 2016, the A3 Convertible facelift has just been spotted on public roads. While it’s wearing the updates U.S. consumers will get for the 2017 model year, it’s also wearing a thin layer of camo over its front and rear fascia. There isn’t much to see here really, but based on what we’ve seen from the German brand recently, the A3’s revised styling isn’t much of a mystery.

Just like the sedan, the two-door convertible won’t be a whole new car, but a mild upgrade created to keep it fresh until the next-generation model arrives in three to four years. Find out what it may bring to the table in my speculative review below.

Spy Shots

November 8, 2015 – First testing session

Audi A3 Convertible

Audi A3 Convertible

Audi A3 Convertible

Exterior

Although there’s a lot of camouflage in the way, spotting the novelties that come with the facelift isn’t difficult at all. The first thing that catches the eye is the new headlamps layout, which mimics that of the brand-new A4. This doesn’t come as a surprise given Audi’s “same sausage, different lengths” strategy, but customers should be pleased with the update given it comes with a mid-cycle refresh.

The convertible also gained a different bumper with a new slender intake below the grille and revised side vents

In between the headlamps, there’s also a revised grille, which features sharper lines and it’s somewhat similar to what we’ve seen on recently redesigned Audi products. The convertible also gained a different bumper with a new slender intake below the grille and revised side vents, but I have a hunch that this specific vehicle isn’t the base model, which could look a bit different. My suspicion comes from looking at the sportier side skirts, which are similar to those seen on S Line models. On the other hand, the body lines are simpler than that, but it could still mean that this is some sort of intermediate trim with a fancier front bumper.

Changes are hard to discern around back due to the camo and the snow, but I expect the A3 Convertible to showcase a slightly revised bumper. The area around the twin exhaust pipes (which suggest we’re looking at a 1.8 TFSI model) is already different than the previous model, so a modified diffuser is also on the table. The taillights appear to be similar to the current model, but this could change before the vehicle hits the assembly line.

All told, the new A3 Convertible won’t be all that different, but it will sport just enough new features to remain an attractive proposition. Besides the revised body elements, Audi will also throw in a couple of new exterior colors and maybe a couple of new wheel designs.

Interior

Audi A3 Convertible

Although our paparazzi didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of the car’s interior, it’s safe to assume it will carry over unchanged from the 2015 model year. Identical to the hatchback model, the dash will remain simple and uncluttered, with a few controls on the center stack and the large and round A/C vents below the free-standing touchscreen. While some may be disappointed by the fact that the A3 won’t get the A4’s new dash with the continuous air-strip vent, the compact’s current interior isn’t that bad, and unlike other Audi models, it’s not that dated either. Look for an updated infotainment system with most of the new features introduced with the Q7 and A4.

Drivetrain

Audi A3 Convertible

Under the hood, the A3 Convertible will feature the same drivetrain as the current model. In the U.S., the compact cabriolet comes with two four-cylinder powerplants. There’s the 1.8 TFSI rated at 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, and the 2.0-liter TFSI with 220 horses and 258 pound-feet on tap. The former takes 7.3 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, while the latter needs 5.9 ticks. Top speed is limited to 130 mph for both models. As far as fuel economy goes, the 1.8 returns up to 35 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in the city, while the 2.0 is good for up to 32 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in the city.

Word has it that the 1.8-liter unit might get an extra 10 horses, 36 pound-feet and cylinder deactivation technology, so mild improvements in the performance and fuel economy department are to be expected.

In Europe, the A3 Convertible will get more engines, including a 1.4-liter TFSI, a 1.6-liter TDI, and a 2.0-liter TDI.

Prices

Much like all Audi facelifts, pricing for the A3 Convertible is expected to remain about the same in the U.S. The current model starts from $36,600 with the 1.8 TFSI and from $39,600 with the 2.0 TFSI in the base Premium trim. Opt for the Premium Plus model and the sticker rises to $39,300 and $42,300, respectively. Finally, the Prestige models retail from $45,450 and $48,450, respectively.

Competition

BMW 2 Series Convertible

BMW 2 Series Convertible

Launched in 2013 as a successor to the 1 Series Coupe, the 2 Series spawned a convertible version for the 2015 model year. Identical to its coupe sibling from the waist down, the 2 Series Convertible is arguably the more attractive proposition in this niece. Not only it’s styling is more exciting, but the Bimmer also employs a rear-wheel-drive layout, which provides a more engaging driving experience.

Unlike the A3, however, the 2 Series is available with just one engine in U.S. — a 2.0-liter four-banger rated at 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. With this unit, the Bimmer sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (5.6 ticks with xDrive). Of course, those in need of more power can opt for either the M235i or the M2, which could be as exciting as the larger M4 according to our comparison here. The 2 Series Convertible fetches $38,650 before options. For all-wheel-drive, you’ll have to pay an extra $2,000.

Conclusion

Audi A3 Convertible

As Audi’s most affordable convertible, the A3 Cabriolet is an important vehicle for the German brand and a facelift was necessary after nearly four years since the third-generation A3 came to the market. The compact drop-top is still attractive as it is and it’s interior is fresh enough to keep customers happy for a couple more years, but a mild refresh is more than welcome with the brand-new BMW 2 Series in showrooms. Unfortunately for Audi though, the Bimmer looks like the better option as far as the platform, drivetrain, and design go, not to mention that it’s always better to get a newer product with newer technology and fresh styling. The 2 Series Convertible is also only $2,000 more expensive than the A3 Cabriolet as of 2016, which will probably force Audi to develop the fourth-gen model sooner than planned.

LOVE IT

  • A4-inspire headlamps and grille
  • Sportier front bumper
  • The most affordable Audi convertible you can buy

LEAVE IT

  • Built on FWD platform
  • The BMW 2 Series is hard to beat
  • Not many changes on the inside