Although Audi makes much of its niche marketing strategies, its most successful products are usually those where buyers feel reassured by their positioning. You know where you are with an Audi A3. It compares to a BMW 1 Series or a Mercedes A-Class. Likewise, the big selling A4 butts up against the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class. Buyers feel safe in the knowledge that they can compare and contrast. The A3 Cabriolet was pipped to the market by BMW's 1 Series Convertible and never really recovered from that initial setback. What's more, chopping the roof off the 1 Series turned an ugly hatchback into a more elegant drop top, whereas decapitating the handsome A3 hatchback actually didn't do a lot for its aesthetic.
The car made landfall in the UK in late 2008, with very little in the way of promotional push from Audi. Two diesel engines and three petrol units were offered, in conjunction with a trio of trim levels. The diesels comprised a terrible 104bhp 1.9-litre TDI unit and a very good 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine. The petrol engines kicked off with an unspectacular 101bhp 1.6-litre, moving through the more satisfying 158bhp 1.8-litre TFSI unit, with the multi-award winning 197bhp 2.0-litre TFSI unit marking the pinnacle of the line up. In 2009, the 1.9-litre diesel nail was superseded by a far preferable 1.6-litre unit and in 2010 the 1.6-litre petrol lump was replaced by the excellent 1.2-litre TFSI petrol engine. Audi launched plush Final Edition models in both Sport and S Line trims in 2013 to mark this car's run out.