Both convertibles, the A3 and 2 Series, can be similarly spec’d out in the US. With both being available with a 2.0 liter, turbocharged four-cylinder (the A3 has a 1.8t as standard while the BMW’s base engine is the 2.0) and automatic transmissions, you would expect them to perform similarly.
The A3 has 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the 228i has 240 hp and 255 lb-ft. The A3 has a bit more torque, but the 228i has more hp and is lighter thanks to its RWD setup, compared to the A3’s Quattro AWD. The A3 uses a 6-Speed, S-Tronic, dual-clutch gearbox, while BMW uses the familiar ZF, 8-Speed automatic.
The models tested by the UK folks are the BMW 220d (184 hp) and Audi A3 2.0 TDI (148 hp).
BMW has a bit of an advantage at the moment, as they offer a convertible M235i, while Audi has not yet released an S3 convertible in the US.
Yet, AutoExpress gives the A3 the upper-hand scoring better than the 2 Series Convertible in the driving experience, pricing and interior space department.
Here is an excerpt from their review:
Audi A3 Cabriolet
The A3 Cabriolet’s broad appeal means it beats the BMW. It’s better to drive, more comfortable and spacious, cheaper and, with superb residuals, will depreciate less. It might cost slightly more to run than the 2 Series, but with less power its performance is still impressive – and the chassis is better. You needn’t make many concessions for running a convertible when it’s this good.
BMW 2 Series Convertible
It has more firepower and a bigger boot, but the 2 Series Convertible isn’t as well rounded as the A3 Cabriolet. It’s a vast improvement on its predecessor, with more flowing proportions and enough tech to match the Audi. However, the body control isn’t as good, so it feels less planted. Add in its more cramped, less slick interior, and the Audi stays on top.