In the midst of its biggest product proliferation program ever, Audi is flipping its top, quite literally, with the addition of its latest convertible model, the new S3 Cabriolet.
It’s also the latest in a growing line of variants off the all-new compact platform that includes a range of products such as the new A3 wagon and sedan, as well as the A3 e-tron, Audi’s first-ever plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle.
The designation of the new Cabriolet reveals much of the critical details, the “S” badge meaning this is one of Audi’s most sporty models. The 2015 S3 Cabriolet is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo gas engine making 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque – likely to deliver quite a punch in such a compact model.
With the S tronic gearbox, the new S3 Cabriolet will launch from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in 5.4 seconds, with a 250 kmh, or 155 mph, top speed. The engine package is paired with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Yet, the maker says it is rated at 33 mpg. That is, however, based on the European test cycle and traditionally that means a somewhat lower figure for the U.S.
The soft-top cabriolet measures 14.5 feet, nose-to-tail, with a 102.4-inch wheelbase, It’s 70.5-inches wide and stands 54.7 inches high.
Audi says it has made extensive use of lightweight materials including aluminum, magnesium and advanced, high-strength steels – total mass for the S3 coming in at 3,571 pounds. There’s an insulating foam layer to reduce interior noise with the top up. The cabrio roof takes just 18 seconds to operate – and can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 mph.
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As with other S models, there are some unique details to distinguish the S3 Cabriolet from other A3 derivatives, including a chrome surround for the singleframe grille with a platinum-gray insert and double cross-struts. There are distinctive S3 badges front and back. Other exterior details include aluminum strips on the windshield frame and beltline, aluminum-look exterior mirror housings, a spoiler edge on the luggage compartment and a unique bumper.
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Audi plans to initially launch the new compact family with the A3 sedan in the U.S., and is now expecting to also bring over the new A3 wagon. What other variants will follow – including the S3 Cabriolet – remains to be seen.
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The European sales launch is scheduled for summer 2014 with a starting price of 48,500 Euros.