Convertibles are my thing. Hands down there is nothing more amazing than the feeling of driving through the streets at night with the hood down and the heaters on full, stars twinkling high above your head. That however could also describe a sweaty night in Heaven. Regardless of how you interpret this, you are bound to love the A3 Cabriolet, a small comfortable 4 seater (that actually seats 4) with all the characteristics of a premium hot hatch.
The A3 I tested was the new 1.2T with start stop technology. Sounds small I know BUT! It's not all about size boys, it's how great the ride is. And of course the A3 knows how to handle itself, be it cruising about town with the top down, or sweeping through country lanes shaking that gorgeous rear end. The only problem is getting to the speed that makes you look sexiest, the 1.2 isn't the most powerful engine when you reach motorway limits, sometimes struggling to move from 50mph upwards. I found to get the most out of it, pay attention to what the suggested gear change system tells you, it does help a lot if you should ever find yourself feeling inadequate - and that's never sexy.
Moving onto the 'Start Stop' technology and I seem to keep forgetting about it, totally due to bad habits. Basically, when you are sitting at traffic lights with the car out of gear, having lifted the clutch (that's the bit I forget), the engine will simply stop. This does take some getting used to and often or not feels like you've stalled, fear not however. Simply press down the clutch to put the car in gear and the engine starts up again just nicely, using an electronic system, meaning less petrol used altogether! Another cool touch is that if you are sat long enough waiting for your mate outside while he decides what heels to wear, the car will turn the engine off automatically, saving you petrol and just a turn of the key will restart it as normal.
Styling is typically Audi's premium trend, although the entry level model tested didn't get the LED running lights, instead features a style of running light which isn't as impressive, so that's definitely a must have extra. The hood is fabric too meaning the roofline is smoother and it doesn't impinge at all on handling be it up or down, able to be operated up to about 20mph, meaning should a sudden downpour happen, you won't be laughed at when you have to stop to put it on.
Inside is standard Audi loveliness in it's primitive form. A compact centre console gives you control over the air con and stereo, while a nice set of shiny dials let you know what's going on. The space inside is nice as well, even with the roof up you still have an adequate amount of headroom, be it in front or rear, as mentioned earlier. Because it's an Audi, the cabin is nice and quiet increasing that luxury experience that this little pocket rocket achieves so well.
Overall, there is nothing I can hold against the car itself. The engine is a little underwhelming if your searching for performance, so I'd probably go with the 1.8 TFSI for an all round performer from fuel saving to speed satisfaction. But where this car wins is running costs, it'll certainly cost less to get away for a weekend, just depends how far you want 'away' to be. The A3 cabriolet 1.2T starts from just £20,155 which is very reasonable for a premium convertible if you ask me.