NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 2/21/2014
Fast Facts:
  • Soft-top convertible version of the S3 Sedan
  • 300-horsepower 4-cylinder engine
  • Audi-estimated 33 mpg
  • Standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Not confirmed for U.S. sale

Introduction
Following on the heels of the A3 Sedan and, subsequently, the A3 Cabriolet and S3 Sedan, comes the debut of the 2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet. This 4-passenger soft-top convertible will share relatively aggressive bodywork and a high-horsepower engine with its 4-door counterpart when it goes on sale in Europe in the summer of 2014. There, the starting price has been set at $66,500. Audi has yet to confirm a U.S. version, but if this potent open-air cruiser does make it stateside, expect its arrival later in the year.

Exterior Features
Like the S3 Sedan, the 2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet is distinguished from the more subtle A3 courtesy of a restyled bumper, unique lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 rubber, honeycomb front air inlets, rear diffuser, and quad tailpipes. These touches are accompanied by generous use of aluminum trim, HID headlights and LED taillights, and a color palette that includes hues such as Panther Black and Sepang Blue.

The S3 Cabriolet's wheelbase measures roughly 102 in., while its overall length spans more than 174 in. and its width stretches to just over 70 in. Overhead is a power-retractable soft top comprised of a lightweight (magnesium, aluminum, high-strength steel) frame and ample use of sound-deadening foam material. Audi suggests the top can be raised or lowered in 18 seconds and at speeds up to 31 mph. With the roof up, the S3 provides 10 cu.-ft. of cargo space, which drops to about 8.5 cu.-ft. when the top is in its down position.

Interior Features
Inside, the 2015 S3 Cabriolet serves as host to black leather upholstery, sport bucket seats and steering wheel, turbo boost gauge, gray metallic gauges, stainless steel foot pedals, automatic climate control, and a multi-media interface (MMI) infotainment system with a 7-in. screen that rises out of the top of the dash.

Audi hasn't announced full details about trim levels and equipment, but the company says the S3 Cabriolet will be offered with upgraded leather accented by contrast stitching, red-trimmed S seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, and a neck-heating feature (like Mercedes-Benz' airscarf system).

Optional Features
In addition to those interior amenities, Audi's newest drop-top model can be fitted with optional LED headlights, navigation, Audi Connect system including Wi-Fi capability, 13-speaker premium audio package, and a proximity keyless entry system. There's also a generous sampling of safety technologies available, among which are intelligent cruise control, park-assist sensors, side blind-zone alert, lane-departure warning, and the company's pre-sense system that uses visual and audible alerts to warn the driver of a possible collision, and can even apply full braking pressure if need be.

Under the Hood
As is the case with the more mainstream A3, the 2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet is available with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, though instead of 220 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, the S3 delivers a significant increase in output thanks to beefier internals and a high-pressure turbo. According to the company, S3 drivers will be working with 300 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, with the latter on tap between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm. The brand's quattro AWD system is standard, as is a dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddles shifters, launch control, and sport and efficiency modes, an exhaust system featuring rpm-triggered sound gates, electromechanical power steering, and a sport-tuned suspension that allows the S3 to sit 25 mm lower than the A3 Cabriolet. In terms of performance, Audi claims the S3 convertible can reach 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds and tops out at an electronically limited 155 mph.

Fuel Economy
There are no official fuel-economy figures for the 2015 S3 Cabriolet at the time of this writing, although Audi claims this AWD car will average up to 33 mpg. If that's indeed the case, it means the 300-horsepower S3 matches the efficiency of the 220-horsepower AWD A3 sedan, which delivers an EPA-estimated 33 mpg on the highway (24 mpg in the city, 27 mpg combined).

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