Road Test: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.2 TFSI
Sector: Convertible Price: £21,185 Fuel: 49.6mpg CO2: 132g/km
All this talk of EV and hybrids saving the world has masked some real engineering feats on conventional petrol and diesel engines in the past few years.
The downsizing trend has seen larger, less efficient engines replaced with diminutive units which use clever technology to boost power outputs while retaining the economic advantages of a small capacity motor.
Ford is at it with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol, due to be rolled out across most of the range, while Audi is now offering a 1.2-litre petrol unit in the A3.
With just 105bhp to call on and, more importantly, just 129lb.ft of torque, the A3 is never going to be brisk. However, it’s not frustrating to drive a car with such little power – just remind yourself you’re driving a 1.2 and content yourself with pootling around in a leisurely manner.
While you’re doing this you can enjoy the snug, well made cockpit (although it does now look a little dated) and glance at the sky, looking for a break in the clouds when you can press the button to retract the roof.
In fact, it’s only when the roof is down does the Audi lose some of the elegance it has with the roof up – two bold, silver rollover hoops stick out of the tonneau cover and spoil what is otherwise a handsome car.
And while we’re on niggles, the boot and rear seats are laughably small – ignore what the brochure may say – this is a 2+2.
The A3 in this particular format is never going to set the fleet sales charts alight, but what it does offer is a cute, desirable and economical car for user-choosers who want to break free from the constrictive mould of a diesel hatchback.