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2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet Bows Before 2014 Geneva Auto Show

The topless version of the Audi A3 gains a performance-oriented variant in the 2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet that will debut at the 2014 Geneva auto show next month. Although the standard Audi S3 sedan will come to the U.S. along with the standard A3 sedan and cabrio, Audi says that this 300-hp S3 Cabriolet will not make it to our shores anytime soon.

In Europe, though, the Audi S3 Cabriolet will create somewhat of a new segment, as no direct competitors exist for this high-powered, all-wheel-drive compact convertible. A BMW 2 Series convertible is likely to provide a challenge to the S3 Cabriolet when it arrives sometime next year, but for now none of Audi's premium competitors offer a performance droptop in this size class.

The S3 Cabriolet is powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as the S3 sedan that makes 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and mates with Quattro all-wheel-drive and a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Compared with the standard Audi A3 Cabriolet, the S3 looks more aggressive, with larger air intakes up front, quad tailpipes and a rear diffuser out back, and special silver-finish wheels in either 18- or 19-inch sizes. Other sporty elements like a flat-bottomed steering wheel, shift paddles, and Alcantara seat trim are available as options. Like the S3 sedan, it's an attractive package that manages to stand out without compromising the understated appeal of Audi's S models.

Thanks to a concerted effort to keep weight low with the use of aluminum and magnesium components in the roof mechanism, the Audi S3 Cabriolet is only expected to weigh about 100 lbs more than the S3 sedan. This should make for equally brisk performance, as Audi estimates a 0-62 mph sprint of 5.4 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph.

Although we won't be seeing this Audi S3 Cabriolet in the U.S. anytime soon, numerous other versions of the Audi A3 are slated for sale here. First to arrive this spring will be the 2015 Audi A3 sedan, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet, the diesel-powered Audi A3 TDI sedan, the Audi S3 sedan, and the plug-in hybrid Audi A3 Sportback e-tron to follow over the course of the next year.

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