The optional daytime running lights in the form of an integral light strip - an important safety feature at Audi - comprise seven white light-emitting diodes in conjunction with the xenon plus units. Similarly to the headlights, the rear lights of the A3 Cabriolet are of a flat, broad design. Their technology is based on fibre optic rods, but the visual effect is of two radiant rings that clearly distinguish the car as an Audi even after dark.
When viewed side-on, the unique but subtle profile of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is clearly in evidence. The striking wheel arches accommodate large wheels: in the case of the Standard model, 16 inches in diameter. The Sport model has 17-inch alloy wheels, 18-inch wheels from quattro GmbH are available as an option. Audi supplies the A3 Cabriolet in 15 paint colours that can be combined with three hood colours - black, blue and red.
The Hood and Body
The fabric hood keeps its shape thanks to the mechanically moved metal linkage, which assures an excellent close fit, perfect tightness and the silhouette of a coupé. A large, heated glass rear window provides a good view to the rear.
Audi can supply the fabric top in two versions - the semi-automatic soft top and the fully automatic acoustic hood. In both cases the hood is moved by a high-pressure pump with two hydraulic cylinders. They open the large soft top in an extremely rapid nine seconds.
When lowered, the hood is folded up in a Z-pattern which takes up a minimum amount of space. The header - a rigid section at the roof’s front edge - comes to rest on top, basically flush with the body. The folded hood is set down in a compact sheet steel compartment that only very slightly reduces the luggage compartment capacity.
The clever design enables the acoustic hood to be opened and closed while driving at speeds of up to 30 km/h - a big advantage in terms of convenience when driving in urban traffic. The process is controlled by a switch on the centre console; the hood can also be opened and closed conveniently from outside the car, via the ignition key in the door lock.
The fully automatic soft top takes the form of an acoustic hood. Between the outer skin and the inner lining there is a synthetic fibre mat that further improves thermal insulation and soundproofing - at a speed of 140 km/h it is only 1 dB (A) louder inside the Audi A3 Cabriolet than in the hard top A3. If only the front seats are occupied, a wind deflector can be erected above the rear bench seat in a few simple steps for optimum comfort.
High-strength steel: low weight and maximum rigidity
An extensive package of measures gives the body of the A3 Cabriolet its rigidity, and this open-top Audi drives with the same standards of precision, agility and comfort as the A3 with permanent roof. 45 per cent of the body shell is made from high-strength steel, while nine per cent in fact consists of ultra-high-strength steels, combining low weight with maximum rigidity. The roof frame and roll-over bar incorporate hot-formed steels for maximum safety.
Reinforcing profiles are integrated into the side sills and vehicle floor. V-pattern steel profiles additionally reinforce the forward structure and rear end, and there is a capsule with another reinforcing frame beneath the engine compartment. There are also high-strength panels in the B-posts.
A box-shaped structure made from high-strength sheet steel separates the passenger compartment from the luggage compartment. The roll-over bars of hot-formed steel tubing are bolted into this structure. Similar high-tech tubes serve to reinforce the A-posts internally. Head/thorax side airbags are integrated into the backs of the front seats. In the event of a rear-end collision, the Audi integrated head restraint system promptly cushions the head and upper body.