THE stylish Audi A3 Cabriolet is not cheap to buy but it is bigger and better than ever.
Based on the handsome A3 saloon this latest cabriolet provides more space for occupants and luggage.
Buyers can choose from three trim levels and a variety of petrol and diesel engines.
One of its best features is the new fabric roof which opens and closes at the touch of a button and importantly can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph - useful when the weather takes a turn for the worst.
The acoustic hood has three layers to help reduce wind and road noise and you can specify a £300 optional wind deflector to keep your hair in place (not needed for yours truly) when you decide to drop the top.
Sitting on the VW group's excellent MQB platform, the cabriolet is much stiffer than before and this allows it to perform well on even the worst road surfaces.
Chopping the roof from any car always compromises its ride and handling but in the A3 you barely notice the difference and it still feels agile, while the softer suspension provides comfortable journeys.
The car was powered by the tried and tested 150ps 2.0-litre TDI engine which provides more than ample performance.
It takes 8.8 seconds to reach 62mph and is capable of 139mph although I would not think that you would want to do anything like that speed with the top down.
Stop/start technology allows the diesel to return up to 67.3mpg on the combined depending on the size of alloys fitted. In addition a light on the instrument panel gives you advice on what gear you should be in to extract maximum economy.
The engine is extremely smooth and performs without fuss with emissions of 110g/km.
The six-speed manual gearbox in the test car was easy to use although many purchasers will no doubt opt for the automatic version.
As you would expect the Cabriolet boasts the same excellent interior found in its siblings with top quality materials and finishes.
There is room for four adults to travel in comfort and the boot space is surprisingly decent at 320 litres with the roof closed and 275 litres with it down.
At £31,340 this 2.0 TDI S line model is well equipped and is good value for money.
Going mad with the options added more than ten grand to the price of the test car which finished at £41,705.
Some of the options were Nappa leather at £1,220, larger alloys at £1,100, rear view camera £375, driver assistance pack £1,950, Audi Magnetic Ride £995, heated seats £300, wind deflector £300, technology pack £1,395 and a super Bang & Olufsen sound system at £750.
The Cabriolet has a pop-up roll protection feature and all the other electronic safety aids are carried over from the regular A3 models.
I never seem to get convertibles during the summer months but I did get the hood down on a couple of crisp autumn mornings and with the heated seats on and the temperature turned up to full volume it was still a pleasant experience.