Audi TT Roadster review
The drop-top Audi TT Roadster is beautifully designed and a great car to own. With a grippy chassis and superb cabin, it is our class leader
In coupe guise the Audi TT is one of the most complete sports cars on the market, and taking the roof off to create the TT Roadster only serves to widen its appeal. With a choice of petrol and diesel engines, two and four-wheel drive transmissions and two separate performance versions, dubbed the TT S and TT RS, there’s a version for everyone. Quicker models offer truly muscular performance, but even the entry-level cars major on driving thrills. The TT Roadster is well priced, superbly built and as desirable as ever. It’s not the most practical car in its class, but that shouldn’t make a huge difference to prospective buyers drawn by its style and performance.
Our choice: Audi TT Roadster 1.8 TFSI Sport manual
The current Audi TT might lack some of the design flair that gave the original so much appeal, but its crisp and simple lines give the open-top TT Roadster a more aggressive stance. The fabric top stows neatly behind the seatbacks, and the TT definitely looks best with the top down. All models get a pop-up spoiler at the back and 17-inch alloy wheels. While sportier S line models get 18-inch alloys, sharper bumpers front and back, twin exhausts and xenon headlights as standard. Build quality inside is first rate, with high quality materials used throughout and superb fit and finish. Standard models don’t come with a massive amount of equipment though, which means you may find yourself consulting the lengthy options list – which includes the excellent magnetic dampers that adapt the suspension to road conditions.
The TT Roadster is offered with either front or four-wheel-drive transmissions and with an excellent six-speed manual gearbox or slick S tronic automatic. Whichever version you choose, the TT delivers a fantastic driving experience. The handling is well balanced with plenty of grip, and the ride is supple enough to make it a comfortable cruiser on longer journeys. There are three engines to choose from, two petrol and one diesel. The entry-level 1.8-litre turbo petrol comes with 158bhp and can only be had with a manual gearbox. The next step up is the 2.0 TFSI with 208bhp, which has a top speed of 151mph and completes the 0-60mph sprint in just 6.2 seconds. The 2.0 TDI diesel option is equally rapid, with 168bhp and Audi’s quattro 4x4 system.
The current TT hasn't been crash tested – but plenty of effort has been put into ensuring that the Roadster is just as safe as the coupe. The windscreen frame has been reinforced to withstand crash damage, as have the side sills in the event of a collision at a junction. Four airbags are fitted as standard, as is ESP traction control, chrome roll over hoops that sit behind the headrests and there's an Isofix child seat mounting point in the passenger seat. Audi has built a long history of excellent reliability, and there have been no major recalls or problems reported with the TT to date.
Like most roadsters, the TT isn’t the most practical mode of transport. The fabric roof should free up space in the boot, which at 250-litre is below the class average, as both the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z4 offer more room. However the boot floor is flat and the opening is wide enough to fit bags in with ease, and there are useful storage areas inside the cabin, including one behind each of the seats. The roof itself stows away in just 12 seconds and is completely automatic opening and closing at speeds of up to 19mph – handy if you find yourself caught out by the weather.
Despite the serious performance on offer, the TT Roadster is surprisingly efficient, with even the quickest automatic version managing close to 40mpg and emitting 172g/km of CO2. Go for a diesel manual version though and this figure falls to just 144g/km and fuel economy rises to an impressive 51.4mpg. Other running costs may prove high though, as although pricing is on a par with rivals like the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK, you don’t get a huge amount for your money, and servicing and insurance costs will both be high, as Audi's pay monthly servicing plans are surprisingly costly.