The first sight of the Audi convertible that was delivered to my door was enough to convince me there had been an administration error.

With the highly-polished bodywork and contrasting grey hood, the sleek cabriolet looked the perfect accompaniment to summer. But surely this was an A4, and I was expecting an A3.

The identity issue cropped up time and time again over the week that the car was in my possession with numerous friends and colleagues making the same mistake.

But the truth is the A3 Cabriolet has grown so much that there is little difference in the size of it and previous generations of its bigger brother the A4.

But don’t go thinking you can get an A4 look-alike on the cheap, because along with an increase in size has come an increase in price.

A3 Cabriolets now start from just under £26,000 and the car tested – admittedly with a lot of optional extras on board – carried a price tag of a hefty £37,000.

Price apart, however, it’s very difficult not to like the latest A3 drop-top. And when you park one alongside a previous generation model you soon begin to see justification for the higher cost.

The new model, which went to the first UK customers in April, is longer, wider, lower and looks far more sleek yet far more mature.

And with convertibles looks are everything. Get the wow factor wrong and no matter how quick, how efficient or how frugal they are they won’t sell.

The decision to make the A3 longer has brought with it features that give it far more street cred.

The extra inches mean the electrically operated hood can now be completely concealed in the new, sleek body when it’s lowered, giving a more up-market appearance.

Audi A3 Cabriolet
Audi A3 Cabriolet
 

And you can forget the days of being caught out in a sudden shower when stuck in a line of traffic because now you can raise and lower the hood on the move, or at least at speeds of up to 31miles per hour you can. The whole process takes just 18 seconds.

And if you are one of those people who prefer a cabriolet that you can get out of after a long journey without your hair looking like Ken Dodd’s, the new A3 will be right up your street. Raise the rear wind deflector and even high speed motorway journeys won’t spoil your coiffured looks.

With the hood lowered you do lose a little of the 275 litres of boot space, but not too much. The problem with the boot, however, is the opening. The actual space available is not too bad for a convertible but the opening is so shallow I couldn’t even get a relatively small, newly purchased boxed light fitting in.

There was a time when convertibles were significantly noisier than their hatchback/saloon equivalents but not in this case.

With the Cabriolet Sport I tested you get a more sound absorbent acoustic hood with three-layer inner padding as standard, ensuring super quiet motoring.

The interior of the new car has an executive feel about it but at the same is very practical with well placed and easily adjustable air vents which made light of our recent heatwave.

And even though you have to be a bit agile to get into the rear seats, there is more than ample space once you are in.

The 150bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine delivers a good combination of responsive performance and high level of refinement while at the same time affords sensible economy which was almost always in the high 50mpg bracket.

And the ability to alter the suspension set-up at the touch of a button means you can change the ride to suit your mood or journey.

Boot opening apart the new Audi A3 Cabriolet Sports ticks all the right boxes and is certainly going to be the convertible to aspire to for a lot of open top motoring enthusiasts.

Fast Facts

Model: Audi A3 Cabriolet Sport

Price: £27,820

Mechanical: 1968cc, 150bhp, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox.

Max speed: 139 mph

0-62mph: 8.9 secs

Combined mpg: 67.3

CO2 emissions: 110 g/km

Insurance: 25E

Warranty: three years/60,000 miles