Sporty, elegant and open – The new Audi A3 Cabriolet
Body and exterior design
Lightweight design is one of the core competences of the Audi brand – and the new A3 Cabriolet sets impressive standards here. In the version with a 1.4 TFSI with 92 kW (125 hp), which will follow somewhat later, the unladen weight (without driver) is just 1,345 kilograms (2965.22 lb), around 60 kilograms (132.28 lb) lighter than the previous model. The open-top four-seater has grown substantially – its length by 183 millimeters (7.20 in) to 4,421 millimeters (174.06 in), its width by 28 millimeters (1.10 in) to 1,793 millimeters (70.59 in) and its wheelbase by 17 millimeters (0.67 in) to 2,595 millimeters (102.17 in). Only its height (1,409 millimeters [55.47 in]) was reduced by 15 millimeters (0.59 in).
In the lightweight design concept for the new Audi A3 Cabriolet, the body is the most important factor; its weight was reduced by 30 kilograms (66.14 lb). The engine hood, the crash absorber profile behind the front bumper and the subframe of the front axle are made of aluminum. Together these components reduce the car’s weight by 13.3 kilograms (29.32 lb) – progress that also benefits axle load distribution. The front end frame is made of high-strength plastic, which saves another 3 kilograms (6.61 lb).
A large contribution towards the car’s low weight is made by the hot-shaped steels that give the occupant cell its high strength. They are used in the transition to the front section, in the A pillars, center tunnel and parts of the floor. In many other areas, such as the side members, Audi utilizes high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels. At the A pillars, windshield frame, sills, B pillars bases and what is known as the heel plate of the rear seats, reinforcements compensate for the lack of a rigid metal roof.
In manufacturing the body of the new A3 Cabriolet, Audi uses a wide variety of joining technologies at its plant in Győr, Hungary. The results of these sophisticated methods are excellent torsional rigidity, superior manufacturing precision, good vibrational comfort and a high level of crash safety. In a frontal collision, the front cross member distributes forces to the side members. The strong sills and B pillars protect occupants in the event of a side impact. In a rear-end collision, the bumper cross members transfer loads to the side members.
With a drag coefficient of 0.30, the new Audi A3 Cabriolet glides smoothly through the wind. The underbody, which encounters a major share of total air drag, is covered with glass-fiber-reinforced plastic shields up to the B pillars. To stiffen the front end, the underbody shields for the engine room are made of aluminum (aluminum nose capsule). The aerodynamic underbody reduces overall air drag by around twelve percent.
Concentrated and taut – the exterior design
The new Audi A3 Cabriolet is precise and expressive in every detail; even the front expresses the car’s determined character. The Singleframe radiator grille with tapered upper corners is stone gray; its cross fins and the Audi rings protrude in a three-dimensional look. A slender, chrome frame surrounds the grille. The wedge-shaped headlights with their wave-like lower edges are cut with a flat profile; a chrome-plated wing contours its interior.
Audi is offering more options for the headlights, including adaptive light for the xenon plus units. Its computer controls the swiveling modules so that they always project the right light for the city, country roads and highways; they also create a special turning light, cornering light and all-weather light. The driver can control adaptive light operation via the optional Audi drive select system (standard in the Ambition line). Together with MMI navigation plus, which is also optional, the adaptive light can utilize predictive route data for many purposes – such as for activating the highway light while still on the entrance ramp.
Another function of the adaptive light offered by Audi is variable headlight range control. Based on image data from a video camera, it can recognize other vehicles and built-up areas. Its control unit adapts the range of its own light accordingly.
Technology from the full-size class: the LED headlights
The high-end alternative in the new A3 Cabriolet is the LED headlights – a technology that comes directly from the full-size class. Their light, with a color temperature of around 5,500 Kelvin, resembles daylight, which is less tiring for the eyes. The light-emitting diodes have been designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle and are highly efficient. The LED headlights also offer special functions for intersections, country roads, highways, driving on the left and bad weather, some involving interaction with MMI navigation plus.
Nine high-performance LED chips in two free-form reflectors generate the low-beam headlight, while eight other high-performance LEDs produce the high beam that radiates through a matt aluminum trim. A dedicated module combines the turning light and all-weather light. The daytime running lights, sidelights and turn signals, which are generated by a light guide, accentuate the design lines.
An additional 18 centimeters (7.09 in): the rear overhang
When compared to the previous model, the new proportions of the Audi A3 Cabriolet are eye-catching. Like all A3 models, the open-top four-seater is based on the Modular Transverse Matrix; it provides a uniform mounting position for all engines, which involved shifting the front axle a good four centimeters (1.57 in) forward. In addition, the wheelbase is now longer, and the rear overhang has grown by 18 centimeters (7.09 in) – giving the new A3 Cabriolet an elongated sporty stance on the road.
The large tail lights have the shape of a wedge that narrows internally to a sharp edge. In conjunction with the xenon plus and LED headlights, Audi largely delivers them in LED technology. Inside the lights there is the adaptive brake light, which pulses with a frequency of four hertz in emergency braking.
Customers can choose from 14 exterior colors. A special highlight is customized painting (available starting February 2014) as part of the Audi exclusive program – customers can have paints mixed according to their personal wishes.
The look of the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is made even sportier by the S line exterior package. The Singleframe grille is painted in high-gloss black in this package. Powerful contours extend around the air intakes; they are filled with screens in honeycomb look that are subdivided by forked cross braces. The sill extensions on the sides of the car are eye-catching. The diffuser is designed in platinum gray and has a honeycomb screen insert; the exhaust tailpipes are chrome-plated – as in the Ambition and Ambiente lines. The door sill plates have aluminum inserts with S line logos; S line badges also decorate the fenders.