New Audi A3 Convertible can park itself

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The new Audi A3 Cabriolet now has the added ability to now park itself, thanks to what Audi calls the ‘Parallel Park Assist system’.

Working in conjunction with the A3 Cabriolet’s sophisticated in-dash Driver’s Information System (DIS) – a standard feature of Sport and S line versions – the new Parallel Park Assist system is available as an optional extra.

Using ultrasonic sensors, the system monitors longitudinal parking spaces at speeds below 30km/h, and if it detects that a space is sufficiently large to reverse into, the driver is alerted via the DIS. If the driver then engages reverse gear and touches the accelerator pedal, the Park Assist system takes over the electromechanical steering and automatically steers the car into the space in one manoeuvre. The driver can hand over complete control of the steering wheel to the car, and only has to operate the accelerator, the clutch and the brake for obvious safety reasons. Audible chimes which increase in frequency depending on proximity to cars in front and behind allow the driver to position the car perfectly in the space once the ‘hands-free’ steering input has been completed.

Power for the A3 Cabriolet range comes courtesy of five responsive petrol engines, including the 1.6-litre 102PS four-cylinder petrol which has just been introduced, the 160PS 1.8 TFSI petrol and the 200PS 2.0 TFSI petrol, and in the diesel camp the 105PS 1.9 TDI and the 140PS 2.0 TDI with common rail piezo fuel injection. These are combined with either a five or six-speed manual gearbox, depending on version, or the option, for all models bar the 1.6 and 1.9 TDI, of the acclaimed six-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission.

Practicality has been considered as carefully as optimum performance, the A3 Cabriolet not only converting to topless mode and back extraordinarily rapidly, and at speeds of up to 30km/h, but also comfortably accommodating four passengers without ruling out impressive luggage capacity that is expandable thanks to the standard split/fold rear seat. An ingenious Z-fold mechanism eliminates the need for a deep stowage compartment for the roof within the body of the A3 Cabriolet, and therefore also eliminates the compromise in boot space that is often required.

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