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2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet Preview

2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet Preview

By Jeff Youngs,
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

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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HistoryFounded in 1909, Audi is a German automobile manufacturer that has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG since 1964. The automaker boasts a long history of racing. In fact, the company's "Quattro" all-wheel drive, turbocharging, and diesel engine experience have all been nurtured through its racing programs. While the automaker originally restricted its lineup to just sedans and coupes, Audi introduced its first 7-passenger sport utility vehicle in 2005, as well as a 2-seat supercar in 2006. Audi vehicles are manufactured and sold worldwide.
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  2009 Audi A4 Avant Preview
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Critical Knowledge:Refreshed interior and exteriorQuattro all-wheel drive (AWD) available on 2.0T modelsAvailable Magnetic Ride ControlOptional S tronic dual-clutch transmissionNew LED front lampsFour- or 6-cylinder powerplantsArriving in the fall of 2008For more information: See 2009 Audi A3 PicturesBrowse other Audi modelsRead more
  2009 Audi A6 Preview
Critical Knowledge:New front fascia stylingUpdated headlights and new fog lightsNew rear bumper with restyled taillightsNew supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engineRear-bias quattro all-wheel driveRecalibrated suspensionSedan or wagon body stylesIntroductionAudi's popular A6 sedan traces its roots back to the first Audi 5000 and 100/200 models from the 1970s. Those early sedans offered buyers a comfortable and capable front-wheel-drive European sedan with 4- and 5-cylinder powerplants. In the mid-1980s, Audi introduced turbocharging and its quattro permanent all-wheel drive to the Audi 100/200 models. These innovative technologies improved engine power, and dramatically increased vehicle traction in slippery conditions. In 1995, the fourth-generation Audi 100 became the Audi A6 as the company switched to a new alphanumeric nomenclature. Now in its fifth generation (new for 2005), the Audi A6 is offered in both sedan and wagon body styles, with a variety of engines and drivelines.
  2009 Audi Q5 Preview
Critical Knowledge:All-new small luxury SUV model for 2009Built on the A4/A5 platformStandard 3.2-liter V-6 powerplantPermanent quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) Standard MMI multi-media interfaceAvailable Audi parking systemOn sale early 2009IntroductionAudi's second SUV, the all-new Q5, will arrive in showrooms early next year. Entering a segment already occupied by the BMW X3, Land Rover LR2, Lexus RX 350, Infiniti EX35, Volvo XC60, and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLK, the Q5 will find itself competing against strong rivals. To differentiate itself from the competition, Audi boasts that their new Q5 is the sportiest SUV in its class. In addition, permanent quattro AWD, a strong 6-cylinder powerplant, and class-leading technology should help consumers discern it from the growing crowd of small luxury SUVs.
  New for 2009-Audi
Critical Knowledge:A4 is all-new for 2009Q5 is new crossover SUV added to lineup for 2009A6 receives a minor facelift, and a new powerplantA3 gets a minor refresh, and new transmission and suspension optionsA5 gets new optional equipmentA8/S8 adds more power accessoriesR8 receives additional standard equipment, including a 6-disc CD changerQ7 is now offered with a diesel powerplantTT gains a high-performance derivativeAudi models:2009 Audi
  2009 Audi A4 Preview
Critical Knowledge:The Audi A4 has an all-new design for 2009Larger in nearly every dimensionSuperior high-strength steel used in manufacturingNew and revised engines offer better efficiency and greater fuel economyEngine sits behind front axle for better weight distributionAdapts many luxury features found on the A8Audi Dynamic Steering improves steering feelHigh level of standard safety featuresIntroductionIntroduced in 1994, Audi's volume-leading A4 model traces its lineage back to the Audi 80, first launched in 1966. Now in its third generation, the A4 has grown incrementally in size and luxury offerings with every subsequent redesign-as has the competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Infiniti as the bar continues to be raised in this class of cars. For 2009, Audi presents an all-new fourth-generation A4 with dynamic styling, new sophisticated powerplants, and innovative technology designed to make it even more competitive.
  2008 Audi RS 6 Avant Preview
Critical Knowledge:Not for sale in the United StatesThe most powerful car ever introduced by AudiTwin-turbo V-10 rated at 580 hpZero to 62 mph in 4.6 secondsTop speed limited to 155 mphStandard quattro four-wheel driveOptional ceramic composite brakesLeather, Alcantara, aluminum, and carbon fiber-appointed cabinIntroductionAccording to Audi, "the RS models from quattro GMBH are the ultimate in sportiness, complemented by powerful and elegant design, exclusive equipment and perfect quality." The very first RS, a collaborative project between Audi and Porsche in 1993, was the Audi RS2 Avant (estate, or station wagon). The RS2 was powered by a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine offering the unique combination of high-performance and practical versatility. The Avant proved popular. For 2008, another Avant has been chosen to wear the RS badge. The result is the most powerful Audi in the current model range, and the most potent Audi ever designed for public roads. Audi offers the RS 6 Avant as a sole range-topping performance variant of the A6 series. Each RS 6 is identically equipped with a 580-hp V-10 engine, tiptronic automatic transmission, and quattro permanent four-wheel drive. As is the case with the standard A6 series, the Audi RS 6 Avant can be customized to match the driver's individual wishes.
  2008 Audi A8 Preview
Audi's flagship A8 was first introduced to the public in 1994, although it did not arrive in North America until 1997. It was the world's first car built on an aluminum platform-the Audi Space Frame. Offering a host of standard luxury appointments, a strong V-8 powerplant, and standard quattro four-wheel drive, the A8 represented the pinnacle of Audi engineering.
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