Droptops and Touchpads: The 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

The 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet is finally coming to America.

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We missed out on the previous A3 convertible, but it seems like Audi is making up for lost time. The new car is more attractive, bigger, lighter, and more technologically advanced than its predecessor. It weighs just over 3,000 lbs.—a full 500 lbs. less than the current BMW 128i convertible—and still offers about ten cubic feet of trunk space when the top is down. If it should start to rain, putting that soft roof back up should take under 18 seconds, and it can be done while driving at speeds up to 31 mph.

Inside, there's a range of option packages that include varying degrees of active safety and infotainment systems. At the very top of the line, users can get a built-in 4G LTE connection for internet connectivity. That gives the navigation system access to Google maps and other online services, and provides passengers with a dedicated WiFi hotspot.

Audi's MMI interface has also been updated. As in the A7, a seven-inch screen hides away in the top of the dashboard when not in use, but pops up to display map information or Google Street View.

Instead of a separate clickwheel and touchpad, the two surfaces have been combined into a single point of contact. Scroll to the selection you want, or input numbers and letters by tracing them out on the touchpad that's on top of the MMI clickwheel.

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The clickwheel in the center console doubles as a touchpad.

Audi is still being cagey about which engines and transmissions will make it to the US, but Europeans will get a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox. A 1.4 L TFSI engine puts out 140 hp, does 0-62 in 9.1 seconds, and gets 47 mpg. A 1.8 L engine is good for 180 hp, and a 2 L turbodiesel develops 150 hp. The S3 will get a 300 hp 2.0 L TFSI. Quattro all-wheel drive will of course be available.

We also have to wait to find out how much the new A3 Cabriolet will cost, but expect it to start below the A5 Cabriolet's $44,500 base price.

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