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Audi A3 Cabriolet: Do Convertibles Make Sense in a City Like Delhi? No, Maybe and Yes

You've seen convertible cars in the movies, you've seen them in bedroom posters, but what happens when you actually drive one in the hustle and bustle of Delhi? We find out with an Audi A3 Cabriolet.

Manav Sinha | News18.com@manav_sinha

Updated:June 13, 2018, 5:19 PM IST
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Audi A3 Cabriolet: Do Convertibles Make Sense in a City Like Delhi? No, Maybe and Yes
Audi A3 Cabriolet. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
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You’ve seen convertibles in a lot of movies. You’ve seen actresses spread their arms up in the air as the wind mildly ruffles the silky hair of the movie’s main actor. And it’s not just the entertainment industry where convertible cars steal the limelight as automobile aficionados and car collectors worldwide seem to have a soft spot for convertible cars. Ferrari 250 GT Spyder, Alfa Romeo Spyder, Porsche 456 Spyder, Cadillac Eldorado, Lincoln Continental – all of these are some of the most iconic cars in the history of cars. For me, though, the first car that comes to mind is the Jaguar E-type. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drove off in one after their wedding. In fact, the first mass-produced car, the Ford Model T, was a convertible.

Even today, luxury and sports carmakers are offering convertible versions of their offerings. But these cars, as well as the classics mentioned above, cost a fortune and are expensive to maintain. But what if there was a way to experience the magic of a convertible car without breaking the bank? And is the so-called “magic”, a magic, when you have the hustle and bustle of Delhi around you? We find out with the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-Side-ProfileAudi A3 Cabriolet looks striking with the top-down. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Why the Audi A3 Cabriolet, you ask? Well, it is currently the second-most affordable convertible car in India, just after the Mini Cooper Convertible, but it makes more sense as it does not make the compromises the Mini makes. There’s more space for you, your passengers and your luggage and more importantly, the A3 looks the part of a head-turning, attention-grabbing, gasp-inducing convertible car and that’s surely an important factor if you are interested in a car like this. It is a lifestyle choice after all and the unit we had, came with a bright yellow paint job. So yes, it delivers on that front very well.

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-RearAudi A3 Cabriolet from the back. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Hop inside the car and you are treated with the familiar Audi interiors. The design is good and the built-quality is top-notch. There is space, albeit limited, for passengers in the back too, despite the A3 Cabriolet being a two-door car. And, why did I say ‘hop inside the car’? Well, because that is exactly what I did. Hopped inside the car without opening the door. It wasn’t the most gracious thing I did that day but boy was it fun.

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-InteriorsAudi A3 Cabriolet Interiors. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Driving around the jam-packed roads of Delhi, there was ample time to play around with the features on board. The infotainment display pops up from inside the dash with the touch of a button. But it all felt familiar to the A3. Too much, perhaps. Hard to think of why would one buy the A3 Cabriolet over the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and CLA, the Jaguar XE and more importantly, over the Audi A4 which is the better-equipped version of the A3 and the top-end variant of which would still save me Rs 2 lakhs as compared to the on-road price of the A3 Cabriolet?

While the mind was about to say no for the car, a notification on the MID unit in the instrument cluster said that two of the cylinders in the engine has been shut off! That, leaves the car running on just two cylinders! The difference and the transition went unnoticed and that showcases the engineering prowess of Audi. Why did the engine do so? For better fuel economy. The car, which was driven in the same hustle and bustle of Delhi – a scenario that made for a case against the Audi – was giving a mileage of over 18 km/l. By the end of the drive, the mind had gone from a no to a maybe.

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-Boot-spaceAudi A3 Cabriolet gets decent boot space. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

The next morning, it was an early start. People were yet to wake up and crowd the roads, the night breeze was keeping the temperature down and the sun was just beginning to climb out from the horizon.

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-MMI-panelAudi A3 Cabriolet gets a pop-up infotainment display. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

It was time, then, to experience the “magic” of a convertible car, to have the experience of open-top motoring. The roof takes a handful of seconds to roll down and post that, it is a different experience altogether. Put the car in sports mode and the car has the sprint to make it exciting. But that’s not how the A3 prefers to be driven as it runs out of juice pretty soon in the RPM band. It is more of a laid-back car. Nevertheless, the suspension settings enable the A3 to tackle road undulations with ease. And after about an hour of driving with the roof-down, it was time to put it back up.

As soon as the roof latches back, the car transforms into the regular A3 sedan. And at that moment, it was a yes for the A3 Cabriolet.

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-TransmissionAudi A3 Cabriolet comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Yes, you can buy top-end variants of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and CLA, the Jaguar XE and more importantly, the Audi A4 in this money but in them, you can never feel like the star of a movie whose not-so-silky hair is being gently ruffled by the wind. All of it, while the car delivers the fit and finish of an Audi and delivers the mileage which is more than some of the hatchbacks in the country. And then, there’s the appeal of driving around in a head-turning, attention-grabbing, gasp-inducing convertible car that can seat four-people and carry your luggage too. So yes, there are many reasons one can think of not buying a convertible car. But when a convertible car is so good at being a regular sedan, does it just not make more sense to have one?

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| Edited by: Manav Sinha
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