Audi TTS Roadster

With extra power and uprated styling, drop-top looks tempting

It’s got a four-cylinder engine under the bonnet, but make no mistake – the S is the most powerful model in the TT line-up.

And the design suits its status in the range. The 268bhp TTS strikes a fine balance between style and aggression. At the front, a reworked bumper incorporates deeper air intakes, while a subtle badge sits on the chrome-detailed grille.

In profile, the wider side sills and chrome mirrors stand out, and at the back the redesigned bumper incorporates quad exhaust pipes. Crucially, the Audi makes the SLK 280 look plain in comparison.

The feelgood factor continues in the cabin, which is hard to fault. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a joy to hold, the sports seats are supportive and the low-slung driving position is perfect. On top of that, the dashboard is logical and well designed. With first-rate materials, faultless build and subtle lighting at night, the TTS cabin makes you feel special.

And thanks to a fast, fully automatic and well insulated fabric top, it’s a great convertible, too. The electric mesh wind deflector is standard and folding the roof doesn’t cut into the 250-litre boot.

The Audi has never suffered from a lack of style, but what makes the TTS stand out is just how engaging it is to drive. Revisions to the 2.0-litre turbo engine have increased power by 71bhp, while torque has risen from 280Nm to 350Nm. The result is punchy and flexible power delivery that can be enjoyed in every gear. The retuned exhaust provides a rasping accompaniment, and acceleration is faster than in the SLK. Above all, what ensures the TTS is the better driver’s car is its poise. Sharper, more communicative steering, stronger brakes and better body control make it truly engaging. Plus, the standard-fit Magnetic Ride dampers mean this car is tighter, stiffer and more direct than the front-wheel-drive 2.0T FSI.

The TTS isn’t as nose-heavy as the V6 variant as well. It turns in with confidence, and as you apply the throttle through tight corners, you can feel the quattro all-wheel-drive system transferring power to the rear.

As the ride is a fraction firmer than the standard car’s, there’s more steering wheel and A-pillar shake on rough surfaces. But the new TTS clearly has substance to match its style. Sure-footed, fast and agile, it inspires confidence and is a joy to drive.

Details

Price: £34,550Model tested: Audi TTS RoadsterChart position: 1WHY: New S model promisesSto be the fastest and most driver-focused TT to date.

Economy

Even though the TTS costs more than the SLK 280, it’s a safe place for your money; our experts predict it will retain 65.5 per cent of its value after three years. Plus, we received a quote of £900 for the first trio of services – £80 less than the Mercedes. The Audi is a far cheaper company car, too. As it emits 22g/km less CO2, it sits five tax bands lower than the SLK. Top earners pay £641 a year less, at £3,593. Annual insurance bills are only £65 higher, which is impressive given the Audi’s performance. Over our demanding test route, a 23.2mpg average isn’t bad. A tank of fuel used mostly on the motorway went further, returning 29.2mpg.

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