Audi S3 Review: Audi Aims for 60 Models with S3 Cabriolet
17 February 2015 - Shawn Jooste
In their relentless pursuit to make more models, Audi have extended their range in some interesting directions. I suppose you have to do that if you hope to have 60 different models on the floor.
We’ve got four different models of the S3, which is different to the A3, and its plethora of engine options.
The S3 can be had in 3 door hatch, 5 door Sportback, S3 Sedan, and now S3 Cabriolet. We’ve driven them all, and found the S3 Cabriolet to be one of the more interesting variants.
Under the bonnet you’ll find a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine that produces 206kW. This is exactly the same as the engine in all the other S3’s and in the Golf R which shares the platform. 206kW isn’t an astronomical amount of power, but it’s more than enough to have some proper fun in.
The S-Tronic ‘boxes Audi put in their cars all come standard with Launch Control. That is an absolute blast in the S3 Cabriolet! It’s not too violent to be out of control, but it’s a guaranteed way to get a smile on your face every time.
We took the S3 on a longish road trip, covering about 500km and found that using Cruise Control and keeping to the speed limit, the S3 Cabriolet managed a very respectable 7.6 L/100km.
Of course, once we got to our destination and found some mountain roads that all changed quite quickly. Although, even when you’re hooning the S3 on the mountainside the economy figure barely reached 11 L/100km which is a vast improvement on similar but less powerful engines from a few years ago.
Laden with tech on the inside, the S3 Cabriolet we had on test had some cool optional extras in it. The most notable of these was the radar-guided Cruise Control. You simply set your max speed limit, say 120Km/h on the open road. Then you lock the cruise control to three or four seconds following distance from the car in front of you.
When the car in front of you slows down, you slow down too. You manage to keep a safe distance at all times, never break the speed limit, and honestly, it’s a lot more relaxing to drive that way. You’re not on and off the throttle all the time as the traffic speeds change.
Radar Guided cruise control is probably the “must have” tech feature in any car today.
The ride in the S3 is harder than the ride in the A3. The S3 however comes with 3 different suspension settings, Dynamic, Comfort, Eco. Dynamic is very taught, while Comfort is softer, but not a bed of air either.
You acclimatise to the ride though, and before long you don’t notice it. The rest of the car oozes luxury with premium materials used everywhere. The dash mounted LCD comes standard, controlled by a round knob next to the electronic park brake.
This is where the S3 Cabriolet bites the bullet a little. If you’re single, or just a couple, the S3 Cabriolet is perfect. If you have kids, you have a problem.
Boot space is somewhat limited, and if you allow space for the roof to fold in, it’s even more limited. An over night bag or two aren’t a problem, but don’t try and pack a families luggage in there.
The S3 Cabriolet is a terrific car. Boot space restrictions aside, the combination of power, looks, drop top and driving ability make it an incredibly attractive offer if you’re looking for something in the premium segment but don’t want to spend millions.
Pricing is around the R630k mark, which at first I thought was a little excessive. But when you consider how much this little car has packed into it, and what it’s capable of it begins to make a little sense.
In terms of dynamic performance capability, the only drawback I noticed with the S3 Cabriolet is that with the roof down sometimes you do notice the slight lack of rigidity in the body structure. But there isn’t enough power in the S3 for it to make a material difference.
The S3 Cabriolet comes highly recommended car to buy.
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