Audi poll shows two thirds of UK convertibles stay closed

Survey throws up surprising results as German premium brand predicts a late surge in soft-top demand following a patchy summer.

Britain might be one of the world’s biggest markets for convertible cars, but most owners are proving reluctant to open their soft tops according to a new survey released today by Audi.

Conducted in August by the premium car maker, which has four soft-top models in its portfolio, the survey indicates that just under two thirds of Britain’s convertible owners (64%) either never or rarely take the roof down.

Almost half of the owners polled (46%) cited exotic looks rather than wind-in-the-hair driving appeal as their primary reason for choosing a soft top, suggesting that it is the cachet of owning an exotic open car that is the motivator rather than the practicality of having an open or closed choice.

The survey also shows that of those who do like to come out from under the canvas, women owners are actually more likely than men to frequently drive in the open air;  39 per cent of the female contingent said they almost always drive with their car open, versus 32 per cent of males, and only 17 per cent claimed that they never drop their roof, compared with 27 per cent in the male camp.  

Who is most likely to drive with the top down? By far the largest age group are 25 to 34 year olds, and those living in the East Midlands are well above the national average when it comes to frequent trips open to the elements.

At Audi the UK is the biggest export market in the World for its cabriolets; “Our owners want the choice,” explained Audi UK Director Martin Sander. “Drivers in Britain like to know they can drop their roof, especially as the weather here is so changeable.  But they also know that even with the roof up, a soft top car still looks out of the ordinary and highly desirable.”

“In the wake of the patchy British summer of 2012, waiting times  for some convertibles are coming down. Open-top fans may be able to benefit from shorter lead times on models like the A3 and A5 Cabriolets as well as sports cars like the TT Roadster and the R8 Spyder” concluded Mr Sander.

All Audi cabriolet models feature a cloth roof in contrasting colour to the bodywork, making it immediately obvious that they fall into an even more select category in the 42-model Audi range. Prices for the Audi A3 Cabriolet start from £21,185 OTR and the A5 Cabriolet from £29,455 OTR. For those looking for the ultimate fast Audi open car experience, the 178 mph R8 V10 Spyder is priced from £117,740 OTR.

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Pure expression of R8

Lighter and more powerful than the R8 V10, the Audi R8 V10 plus Coupe is unmistakeably a driver’s car.

The new Audi R8’s V10 engine has been boosted from 525PS to 550PS and weight reductions have been achieved through standard bucket seats, CFRP elements (including the front spoiler lip and rear diffusor) and powerful ceramic brakes, delivering an improved power-to-weight ratio.

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The new Audi R8 Spyder

The new Audi R8 Spyder's striking silhouette makes a clear, bold statement the moment you see it. It’s elegant. Assured. Poised. And athletic.

The prominent single-frame grille and LED headlights contribute to the striking visual impact of the car’s composition. And the multiple fins on the sports air intakes, while totally functional for cooling the R8’s mechanical components, are designed with panache, flair and style.

The new R8 pushes the boundaries of Vorsprung durch Technik like never before.

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Inspired by winning racing pedigree

The new Audi R8 is a masterpiece; stunning design engineering and automotive genius. Nothing else on the road looks or drives like it.

Audi design engineers have taken more than just inspiration from their multiple Le Mans-winning cars. Compare the new R8 with its race-winning parents and you’ll notice some distinct similarities. But it’s not just the new Audi R8’s stunning looks that have been inspired by our track cars.

Over 70 years of successful competitive motor racing, we’ve learnt a lot about building high-performance, class-leading cars. But the knowledge we’ve built on the track doesn’t just stay there; a surprising amount of thoroughbred racing technology finds its way into our production cars. From the clarity of the instrumentation to the power of the engine, there’s racing pedigree in every Audi.

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Audi A7 Sportback Electronic Safety

ESP keeps you pointing in the right direction

Audi’s electronic stability program (ESP) is a combination of advanced technologies that helps keep the car under control in more extreme situations such as when you need to avoid an unexpected obstacle in the road. ESP is especially helpful in adverse weather conditions.

When you need to turn quickly and sharply, ESP identifies your intended direction and responds by applying the brakes to individual wheels.

Brake disc wiping – keeping your brakes dry

In the wet, ESP also dries the brake discs by intermittently applying the brake pads lightly. You and your passengers won’t notice but, compared with conventional braking systems, your stopping distances on wet roads will be considerably shortened.

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