Near as we can tell, these may very well be the first spy photos of Audi’s new A3 Cabriolet range. Multiple sources at Audi had hinted at a droptop with fixed trunk and with more in common with the shape of the upcoming sedan than the 3-door hatchback on which the last A3 Cabriolet was based. These photos confirm that to be the case.
Why the change? For one, the car is bound for America where the similarly shaped A5 and S5 Cabriolets are already a hit and not quite as quirky as the car’s hatchback-based predecessor. That all seems like a solid move for a more general acceptance of the car by consumers worldwide.
More specifically regarding this test mule, it’s an S3 Cabriolet. The car’s S-car spec given away through the quad exhaust tips fitted at the rear. That means the car’s got the same potent 300 hp 2.0 TFSI as the just-launched 3-door S3. quattro all-wheel drive seems a certainty.
Perhaps with all that cladding Audi engineers were hoping the car might be hard to guess. They seem to have taken extra care to try and hide the shape of the trademark Audi hexagonal shield grille, but there are simply unmistakable elements such as the headlights, the rearview mirrors and even the iPhone thin MMI screen mounted in the dash that they so proudly showed off at SEMA for the first time in 2011.
Expect the upcoming A3 Cabriolet range (now referred to as MQB chassis or more specifically Type 8V internally) to be revealed soon and perhaps as early as the Geneva Motor Show in March. It’s quite possible that the S3 Cabriolet will launch alongside and at the same time just as other models like the A5/S5 and A4/S4 have done recently.
There are more photos of this test mule in our photo galleries. Check them out to see more details and angles on the car via gallery link below.