In an attempt to capitalize on a growing compact luxury car segment, Audi is adding yet another model to its selection of A3 variants. When it debuts at next month's 2014 Geneva Auto Show, the all-new 2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet will join the A3 and S3 sedans, A3 TDI sedan, and an A3 hatchback plug-in hybrid.
The S3 soft-top convertible is slated to go on sale in Europe this summer. A U.S. debut is likely, but the company has yet to announce plans to bring the high-performance convertible stateside. Buyers who do get their hands on the car will avail themselves of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 300 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, all of which is transferred to the ground via Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system and a 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission with sport and efficiency modes, as well as paddle shifters. Audi claims the S3 Cabriolet will hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. The manufacturer also suggests drivers will average up to 33 mpg, which is equal to the less-powerful A3 sedan's EPA highway rating.
Complementing the mechanical components under the hood is an exhaust system featuring rpm-triggered baffles that open under heavy throttle, an available magnetic ride control suspension, capable 13.39-in. brake rotors coupled with black or red calipers, and lightweight 18-in. alloy wheels shod in 225/40 tires. The latter can be replaced by optional 19-in. alloys.
In addition to unique rims, the 2015 S3 Cabriolet stands apart from the base A3 version courtesy of its restyled bumpers, front splitter and rear diffuser, quad tailpipes, rocker panel extensions, front honeycomb air inlets, and platinum gray grille insert. Under it all is an all-new platform shared with the A3 convertible, S3 sedan, and the completely redesigned 2015 Volkswagen Golf.
Other touches that highlight Audi's newest high-performance drop-top model are HID headlights, LED taillights, selection of 12 exterior paint colors including Panther Black and Sepang Blue, standard sport bucket seats wrapped in black leather upholstery, aluminum and stainless steel trim, MMI infotainment system with a 7-in. pop-up display screen, and a usable trunk offering just a tick over 10 cu.-ft. of cargo space when the roof is up. Speaking of which, Audi says the power-operated fabric top can be raised or lowered in 18 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. A thick insulation layer works to keep the cabin quiet.
At this time, specific details about the 2015 S3 Cabriolet's trim levels and available features are not forthcoming from Audi, but a company press release did note that the car will be offered with LED headlights, Audi Connect system and Wi-Fi capability, 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio package, and a suite of safety technologies including intelligent cruise control, side blind-zone alert, traffic-sign recognition, lane-departure warning, and the company's pre sense safety system.