First and foremost, the base car is seriously good. As with all A3s, the Cabriolet sits on the VW Group’s MQB architecture and thus drives with a high level of sophistication. Of course, there is a penalty to pay in terms of a bit of wobble through the windscreen frame over bumpy surfaces compared with an A3 hatchback, but rarely is this also felt through the steering column (another common cabriolet vice). Indeed, the front wheels actually turn in with welcome precision and there’s a reassuring weight to the steering. Grip is plentiful too, and as long as you specify the softer ‘Dynamic’ suspension the ride is perfectly acceptable.
The engine meanwhile exhibits the same blend of sophistication and performance seen in the Golf, Karoq et al, and is particularly impressive for its incredibly quiet nature at idle and low revs. Its torque band is almost diesel-like too, giving the maximum 250NM from 1,500rpm to 3,500rpm, which combined with the seven-speed automatic gearbox makes the A3 feel effortless – if not outright quick – to drive.
On the downside, there’s little to be gained from revving past 5,000rpm, but chances are you’re not coming to the A3 Cabriolet expecting it to offer sports car-rivalling performance anyway. Rather, the appeal of an A3 Cabriolet lies in its ability to (just about) fit four adults and a sensible amount of luggage despite its small footprint, and to transport all of this with decent refinement whether the fabric roof is up or down.
The result, whether buying outright or using what thanks to strong residual values are some very tempting finance deals, is a relatively rational way of making what might otherwise be regarded as an inherently irrational purchase. All we need now is some sunshine.
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
Top speed: 137mph
Price from: £29,685