Debuting at the Geneva motor show, the S3 Cabriolet produces 296bhp and 280lb ft of torque thanks to being fitted with the same 2.0-litre TFSI engine as its hard top equivalent. This enables the soft-top S3 to hit 62mph in 5.4 seconds – two tenths slower than the 225kg lighter hard top.
Despite this high performance and added mass, the S3 Cabriolet is capable 39.8mpg combined and 165g/km of CO2 when fitted with the S Tronic gearbox. This combination of performance and economy is partly thanks to the Audi’s Haldex multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system, a system that is able to shift power to the rear wheels as and when its needed.
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The soft top, available in three colours, electronically opens or closes in 18 seconds at driving speeds of up to 31mph. Featuring an insulating foam layer, the soft top keeps cabin temperatures constant and road noise to a minimum. Protecting the passengers in an accident is a hidden active rollover system.
To ensure the S3 Cabriolet isn’t confused with its softer A3 equivalent, the usual S styling cues are present. Four tailpipes sit either side of a rear-diffuser, whilst a spoiler and redesigned bumpers add sporting prowess. The interior gains the leather-bound flat-bottomed steering wheel and S seats of the standard S3, and the lack of B and C pillars mean visibility is maximised with the top down.
With the S3’s main rivals coming in BMW M135i and A45 AMG form, it’s the only open-top car to contest in this segment. But with the base A3 Cabriolet commanding an extra £5360 over its equivalent hard top, we can expect a similar premium for the soft top S3 over the £30,640 standard S3.
The high performance S3 Cabriolet will be available for UK order in April, with first deliveries expected in July.