Audi TT RS Roadster
We hit the road in the drop-top version of Audi's flagship TT
Does the TT RS come alive in Roadster form? There’s no doubting the brilliance of its rapidly folding electric hood but roof up or down, it’s not a sports car in the same way as the R8 or now-departed RS4. Like the TT RS Coupe, the driving experience is dominated by a superb new five-cylinder turbocharged engine – which really is a masterpiece. But the chassis, composed and competent though it is, feels numb by comparison. And when you factor in the epic price tag, it’s just too expensive.
Is this the most desirable TT ever? We’ve already tested the hard-top version of Audi’s flagship TT RS – but with an electrically folding fabric roof, this Roadster variant has even more appeal on paper.
Like its coupe brother, the drop-top gets the same 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine, producing 335bhp and 450Nm of torque. You also get the same muscular bodykit, which features a rather unsubtle spoiler mounted on the rear deck. It’s not for the shy or retiring.
A strict two-seater – the Coupe at least has a pair of token back seats – the Roadster is a lot less practical. It also has 50 litres less boot space too thanks to the folding roof structure (which adds 60kg to the kerbweight taking it to 1,510kg).
However, there’s no lack of performance. It feels every bit as fast as its Coupe brother with 0-60mph taking around 4.5 seconds. The five-cylinder turbo engine provides stacks of torque from low revs, and neck-snapping acceleration beyond 6,000rpm. And with the roof down, you get to hear every note of its fantastic metallic warble.
Unfortunately the handling just doesn’t make the grade – not when you consider a Porsche Boxster 3.4 S costs £4,500 less. There’s plenty of grip available of course but the steering lacks feel and the ride is too firm, getting unsettled on broken surfaces.
It gets better on the motorway where the multi-layered hood provides amazing refinement. But the TT RS Roadster is, like the Coupe, simply a very fast car. Not an involving sports car. It’s still desirable of course, but it could have offered so much more.