Audi TT Roadster


Written by: Martin Ward

Has removing the roof removed any of the TT's driver appeal?

The TT Roadster comes not long after the launch of the TT Coupe. The Coupe launch in Scotland was memorable for the wrong reasons; it didn’t stop raining all the time we were there. The roads were washed away, there were landslides, part of the route had to be abandoned, and it was just dreadful weather. So Audi chose the Mediterranean island of Majorca to drive the TT Cabriolet, what could be nicer, a convertible in the sun in February? Think again…. 

We arrived into Palma airport and were greeted with grey skies and light winds, and then it got worse, much worse. The whole time we were in Majorca it did not stop raining once, not once, and it wasn’t just your normal, everyday rain, it was torrential most of the time, like somebody chucking a bucket of water at you.

Anyway, that’s enough about the weather; on to the TT! The TT’s design has seen little change since it was launched in 1999, it was handsome and pretty then, but so much nicer now, and it has certainly stood the test of time. The second generation went on sale in 2006 and now the third generation, which has an all new platform, body and interior design. But despite it being a completely new car throughout, it looks every bit a TT. It is a stunning looking sports car.

We drove a selection of engines and gearboxes on the launch. The first one was the TTS with its 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine producing 310ps which is coupled to the Audi Quattro system. It is quick, responsive and very nice to drive and it accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 5.2 seconds as a manual. It is only available with the one engine and it is priced at £41,085 OTR. Good as it is this would not be our first choice.

The choice for us is between the other two engines, the 2.0 litre TDI Ultra Sport diesel that produces 184ps and has a CO2 emission figure of 114g/km, with a real life driving consumption figure of over 50mpg and priced at £31,995 OTR. The other engine is the 2.0 TFSI Sport petrol. This produces 230ps and has CO2 emissions of 140g/km and a combined consumption of 47.1mpg, and is priced at £32,045 OTR. A Quattro version with the S Tronic gearbox is available with petrol engine, but it does bump up the cost by around £3,000.

With the sat-nav set up, we left the airport and headed towards Palma Nova, then to the east coast, and finally up to the hills on the north west coast. This is normally a very pretty part of the island, but seeing any of it was difficult in the heavy rain, fog and all the spray from the road. But then it got worse, the temperature dropped and it started snowing, yes snow in Majorca in February! But the heated leather seats and some very nice neck warmers, where hot air is blown directly onto you from the head rest, kept us nice and cosy and warm.

The pouring rain had managed to wash many pine needles from the overhanging trees onto the road, and what with these and all that water, the road was like ice, as the pine needles act like ball-bearings, and it was slippery to say the least. No heroic stuff in these conditions, just a nice leisurely drive, testing the car's super handling or road-holding was simply too dangerous.

We did manage to get the roof down once, as we went through a tunnel near Inca, and proved it really does go up or back down again in 10 seconds, and at speeds of up 31mph. This electrically operated roof has three layers and has acoustic and temperature insulation to keep the interior quiet and warm, and as we found out, very dry too.

The media display and navigation system are now in a 12.3”, high resolution LCD display in front of the driver in the instrument binnacle and is so clear and concise. Audi call this the virtual cockpit. But being in front of the driver, this makes it almost impossible for the anyone else to see it, and when you are navigating around places you are not familiar with, it is always good for your co-driver to be able to help and give advice – a very nice system, but might be in the wrong place.

The all-new TT Roadster is available in three trims; Sport, S line and TTS with prices starting from £31,955 OTR. The S Line is about £2,500 more than the Sport and the main differences between the two trims are the S Line has more body styling, 19” wheels and LED headlights. But like most Audi’s you would need to spend a few hundred pounds more getting the right specification for your needs, such as adding those very nice leather heated seats with neck warmers, which are a must.

This new Roadster from Audi is a great car to drive, the looks are much crisper and it has outstanding quality throughout. It is an exceptionally well put together two-seater. The TT has rock solid residual values, to match its rock sold handling. The roof proved to be absolutely water tight, with not a drop of rain getting into the car, a superb bit of kit. It would have been nice to have got the roof down, but was still a very enjoyable car to drive despite the appalling weather.

Martin Ward, Manufacturer Relationship Manager
Global Press Event, Majorca.

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