The Audi TT Roadster combines the iconic silhouette of the TT Coupé with the pleasures of open-top driving. As brilliant to drive as its sibling, with the same road-focused cabin, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the UK’s best-selling soft-tops.
The latest TT has sharpened its looks to emphasise the ever-more sporting handling characteristics. The Roadster boasts a practical and lightweight fabric roof that folds and disappears behind the driver in under 10 seconds. The roof comes in three colour options, each chosen by Audi to co-ordinate harmoniously with the many paint options available.
All TT Roadsters ride on stylish alloy wheels, with the S Line trim upgrading the 18-inch rims to 19-inchers. The S Line trim also adds a body styling package, and to complete the more aggressive look you can also have the ride height lowered by 10mm.
A cute rear spoiler on the tail deploys and retracts at a set speed or manually at the touch of a button, while bright Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights illuminate the road ahead.
No doubt about it, the TT Roadster’s interior has the wow factor. It’s exquisitely well-built from premium materials throughout, with a minimalist design which emphasises that the focus is on driving. Both trim levels feature a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel that you can adjust to find the perfect driving position, air conditioning and Alcantara/leather upholstery on the front seats.
There’s a conveniently-shaped boot with ample space for shopping trips or a couple of weekend bags. An optional wind deflector can be specified to reduce draughts in the interior, so you’ll look as poised on arrival at your destination as you did when you set out of the door. You can even have a microphone added to the driver’s seatbelt so you can still be heard while taking hands-free calls with the roof down.
The full engine line-up from the TT Coupé has been carried across to the Roadster, meaning you can choose from three four-cylinder units. If you prefer petrol, there are turbocharged 1.8 and 2.0 TFSI engines with 178bhp and 227bhp respectively. The 1.8 will sprint to 60mph in under 7.2 seconds, while the 2.0-litre is around a second faster.
The 2.0 TDI ‘Ultra’ diesel option is fractionally (and we mean fractionally) slower away from the lights, but muscular mid-range torque means in-gear acceleration makes overtaking easy. Extremely impressive 121g/km CO2 emissions will appeal if you’re buying a company car, especially once you hear it can achieve over 60mpg.
An optional six-speed S tronic gearbox is available in the 2.0 TFSI, which can also be combined with Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive system to improve grip and handling even further.
Audi drive select means you can alter the driving manners of the TT Roadster to suit the occasion, subtly changing the throttle and steering responses. Comfort mode will make longer drives less tiring and Dynamic mode tightens up the handling to make the most of twisting roads.
The TT Roadster features the impressive Audi Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the traditional analogue dials with a giant 12.3-inch TFT screen that displays everything from speed and revs to phone and audio information.
Audi’s MMI radio system is fitted as standard and can be controlled with both a rotary dial and touch-sensitive pad. It’s ready to be paired with your Bluetooth®-enabled smartphone so you can stream music from the internet and create a perfect soundtrack. Satellite navigation can also be specified as an option as part of the Technology pack, offering detailed three-dimensional directions via the Virtual Cockpit.
The TT Roadster comes with many safety features as standard, including front impact airbags, Cruise Control and a tyre pressure loss indicator to let you know if you have a slow puncture.
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The TTS Roadster brings the concept of the perfect everyday performance convertible one step closer.
The great thing about chopping the roof off the Audi TTS to create this, the TTS Roadster, is that you get to hear so much more of the good work done by the engineers.
We're not talking about the relative lack of wind noise, although between a wind deflector and raising the windows there isn’t much problem with that anyway. It’s all about the extremely rude ‘brrrrp’ from the exhausts when you shift up through the warp-speed S tronic gearbox. This is the cheekiest Audi TT yet.
The TTS utilises a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine which puts out a healthy 306bhp to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It's enough power to send the car 60mph in under five seconds, and onwards to a limited 155 mph top speed.
The abiding memory of driving the TTS Roadster comes in its ability to deliver an instantaneous sensation of speed. No matter what speed you’re actually doing, hit the throttle and all of a sudden it feels like you’ve passed the sound barrier – even though you haven’t changed out of second, yet.
That exhaust bark, though, which is chiefly a product of Dynamic mode in the Audi Drive Select system, is a laugh-a-minute add-on that adds frequent giggles to the sheer speed on offer. The exceptionally fast steering might take some getting used to, though.
Despite its chassis-stiffening weight penalty, the Roadster still feels so light and agile It does very well at the boring stuff, too. Okay, so the suspension is as firm as a banker’s handshake but it’s so easy to drive and manoeuvre at low speed – as long as you take care to use the reversing camera in lieu of rearwards visibility. There isn’t a lot of that until you put the roof down.
The third-generation TT styling somehow blends almost nothing but straight lines with more of the iconic (but rounded) first-gen model’s character than the piggy-in-the-middle Mark II car ever did. It’s a marvellous bit of design that only gets better the closer you look.
Needless to say the TTS’s image is about as untouchable as the Pope’s. There will always be a few people who refuse to acknowledge its value, but that’s their loss. The TTS looks fantastic, and it does rather flatter whoever is behind the wheel.
Oh dear. There’s less boot space than there is in a Ford Fiesta and there are only two seats, so it’s not what you’d call a family car. At least the cleverly folding roof, which practically sprints up and down, doesn’t intrude on the boot and you’re left with exactly the same 280 litres or so whether the roof is up or down.
On the move you can raise or lower the roof in just 10 seconds, while mooching along at anything up to 31mph. But if you go over that, the roof freezes mid-operation and you look quite the fool, let me assure you.
There is a lot of choice out there for the price of the TTS, and the Porsche Boxster will always be the true driver’s car of the bunch. The TTS blows the baby Porsche into the weeds for outright performance, though, and the Boxster has even less luggage space. Four-wheel drive makes the TTS a better bet for sure-footedness all year round, and sales in the UK suggest that we really do want that peace of mind – at any price.
The sort of person who really loves the way the TTS looks might be happy with any TT in the range. But the TTS delivers the biggest adrenaline hit, the most overtly sporting character and some rather excellent colour choices. Yellow is where my money would go.
Engine: Turbocharged four-cylinder petrol producing 306bhp and 380Nm
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 155 mph, 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds (S tronic)
Fuel Economy: 40.9mpg (S tronic)
Emissions: 159 g/km (S tronic)
Take a closer look by using our interior and exterior tours
Terms and Conditions: *At the end of the agreement there are three options: i) pay the optional final payment and own the vehicle; ii) return the vehicle: subject to excess mileage and fair wear and tear, charges may apply; or iii) replace: part exchange the vehicle.
With Solutions Personal Contract Plan. Available on stock vehicles only. 18s+. Subject to availability and status. T&Cs apply. Offer available when ordered by 02/01/2019 from participating Centres. Indemnities may be required. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Accurate at time of publication [October 2018]. Freepost Audi Financial Services.