Model: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.4 TFSI Sport with CoD, from £27,015 on the road. Price as tested £32,065.
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol unit developing 140bhp.
Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission as standard, driving the front wheels.
Performance: Maximum speed 135mph,
0-62mph 9.1 seconds.
Economy: 56.5mpg.
CO2 Rating: 114g/km.

WITH the sun finally showing its face, can Audi’s drop-top A3 emulate its tin-top cousin when it comes to winning the hearts, minds and chequebooks of prospective buyers?

Being a Sport specification A3, it boasts a slightly lower ride height and firmer suspension set up than the lower spec SE. That the car’s optional 18-inch wheels (default is 17-inch) also don’t appear to hamper the ride quality is proof that Audi has come along way in recent years when it comes to balancing a sporty ride with day-to-day comfort.

Lift the car’s fabric lid and with a few exceptions, this car’s like the regular three-door A3.

One benefit of Sport spec ownership is a three-layer roof boasting a greater level of insulation over the standard item on lesser models. Of greater importance is the usability angle, it doesn’t get any easier than pressing the roof switch for 17 seconds and watching the top disappear into a space above the car’s boot. That you can raise and lower the roof at up to 31mph is a welcome bonus, although installing the (optional) wind deflector does render the rear seats out of bounds. Rear leg space is modest so it’s no great loss.

On a positive note, engine choice is Audi’s new 1.4-litre petrol unit complete with ‘Cylinder on Demand’ mode. This 140 horsepower unit is pleasingly quiet and delivers ample urgency so long as expectations are sensible. To boost economy and reduce emissions, on a light throttle two of the four cylinders will shut down.

If it wasn’t for the trip computer display alerting you to this you’d struggle to notice, although those with keen senses will detect a slightly off-beat engine resonance. And it’s no gimmick; the instant fuel economy readout often jumps to 100-plus mpg around town, with the result that early running has seen close to 50mpg on a 30 minute mixed road run.

If that’s not high-tech enough I’ve also got Audi’s high-spec optional infotainment system to play with. Aside from DAB and Bluetooth, there’s a sat-nav, high-res screen and 4G-ready data connection for Google search, weather and traffic alerts and the inevitable social media integration.

Time will tell if the A3’s boot proves big enough in everyday use, while I predict an unhealthy relationship with the car’s trip computer as I attempt to spend as much time as possible in two-cylinder mode. Wish me luck. and the rain deciding to display some restraintThat’s the plan over the coming months, to see if the A3 Cabriolet can deliver on the important elements of compact hatch motoring - easy to drive and park, prove frugal at the pumps - while adding a ray of sunshine to the ownership experience once the roof is down.

The omens are promising: a white car with a black fabric roof couldn’t offer a more contrasting appearance if it tried. If I can’t get into the whole ‘summer groove’ with this pearly bright combination then there’s no hope for me as a sun worshiper. I’ve been here before with a regular A3 hatch and this combination is better than it sounds. so you’ll forgive the whistle-stop tour in favour of focusing on said fabric lidCertainly, with the roof up the cabin ambience is suitably refined, although nothing short of a metal folding roof will come close to a genuine tin-top experience whatever the car.Plus, you can send destinations from Audi’s dedicated website direct to the car. So far, so seamless - and 4G is pretty quick, too.