Audi A3 Cabriolet Reportedly at Death's Door

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

We’ve got some shocking news for convertible fans. The Audi A3 Cabriolet is still on sale in North America.

Did you forget that it existed? We sure did. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem we’ll have going into 2020, as this is to be the model’s last year. Of course, this changes next to nothing as we haven’t seen one in the wild some time. In fact, it’s difficult to recall the last occasion any automotive outlet even bothered reviewing one.

As the spiritual successor to VW’s now-defunct cabriolets, the open-air A3 occupies an interesting place in the market. It’s a little pricey for most parents looking to treat their college-aged daughters, with a starting MSRP of $39,000, and lacks the oomph and prestige of Audi’s other drop-top offerings.

The manufacturer didn’t attribute any specific reasons for the Cabrio’s death when it spilled the beans on Car and Driver, but we know it’s due to slumping sales. American A3 volumes have been dwindling every year since 2015 and convertibles have not grown in popularity over the last decade.

With the A3 gone, Audi’s smallest and most affordable droptop will be the equally doomed TT (starting at $48,400). Meanwhile, the more-popular A5 is presumed to maintain its sales advantage — regardless of whether or not it comes equipped with a roof. The automaker said it will continue selling both models in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Rather than the 184 horsepower 2.0-liter (40 TFSI) turbo that comes standard on the A3 Cabriolet, the TT comes ready with pumped-up the 228-hp (45 TFSI) variant and quattro all-wheel-drive A3 owners would normally have to pay extra for. Unfortunately, the sprightly TT still ends up costing more in the long run. Those seeking more power will have to settle for the hardtop TTS or spurge on an A5 convertible.

[Image: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Hpycamper Hpycamper on Aug 08, 2019

    I bought one last year, and other than some electrical gremlims, it's a very good car. Fast, solid, smooth. And I like the way it looks, although I would say the A5 convert is nicer looking. It's a shame that convertibles don't sell the way they used to. I'm glad I got mine before the end. Also, I don't know how the whole chick car thing started about convertibles. Must be some generational thing because when I started driving lots of guys were driving MGs, Triumphs, Healeys and any other convert they could get. Chicks drive SUVs and CUVs.

    • See 2 previous
    • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 08, 2019

      @hpycamper Well, the convertible was a *little* duller, but not by much. I tried the convertible out on a lark, though - going in, I knew I needed something with four doors and a (mostly) usable trunk. As much as I'd like a convertible - and the A3's a very good one - I can't get away with it right now.

  • TheDumbGuy TheDumbGuy on Aug 08, 2019

    This is what Buick should be selling- a $39,900 convertible. Maybe they would not have to commit hari-kari if they did.

    • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Aug 08, 2019

      They had one (the Cascada) and just canceled it.