By Jens Meiners
Audi is hard at work to counter Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming CLA in the premium-compact-sedan segment, and the result of that work will be the A3 sedan that’s scheduled to debut later this year. Now our sources in Ingolstadt tell us that Audi will do one better by offering an A3 cabriolet, which will be based on the A3 sedan as rendered above. The current, not-for-the-U.S. A3 convertible is based on the two-door hatchback, and it’s a rather-compact vehicle, similar in style to the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet—which also isn’t available stateside. Choosing the sedan for a foundation will make for more classic proportions, but, best of all, it’s a strong indication that such a car would be U.S.-bound. We understand that there’s a good chance there will be an S3 convertible, while an RS3 cabrio is possible, technically, but very unlikely (unfortunately).
The A3 convertible will be yet another vehicle from the VW Group to make use of the Group’s light-weight, modular-transversal MQB architecture. That means the droptop will be available with front- and all-wheel drive, and there is a vast corporate parts bin full of potential electronics and powertrain parts. In theory, Audi can take this vehicle in many directions.
Despite the number of powertrain options afforded by the versatile architecture, Audi is likely to remain conservative with the A3 cabriolet. The backbone of this model will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, or a 2.0-liter TDI.
- First Drive: 2013 Audi A3 Euro-Spec
- Short Take Road Test: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350
- First Drive: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 2.5 / TDI Diesel / Turbo
The Audi A3 convertible will see competition from other compact premium convertibles, such as the BMW 1-series convertible and the upcoming 2-series that will replace it. Those A3 cabs that tick all the boxes on the options sheet are likely to be cross shopped with the upcoming BMW 4-series, the Mercedes-Benz E-class cabriolet, and, of course, the A5 convertible—whether Audi likes it or not. Of course, there’s also Volkswagen. As long as the Eos is on the market, it will be a challenge to this new Audi.
The Audi A3 convertible is likely to come to market in late 2014 or early 2015. Base models should start well below $40,000, while those at the highest reaches of the droptop’s pricing shouldn’t have any trouble cresting $50,000.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver