The fabulous TT Roadster is a star, provided space isn’t a top priority
The two-seat Audi TT Roadster is the soft-top equivalent of the four-seat Audi TT coupe. It rivals the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLC, but is a much more modern proposition and trades their cumbersome folding hard-tops for a much sleeker fabric roof: you can lower it in just nine seconds.
The range includes Porsche-rivalling TTS and TT RS models, plus a diesel version, but we reckon the best all-rounder is the 227bhp 2.0 TFSI petrol, in Sport trim; you can even have it with quattro all-wheel drive for winter-weather security.
This 2.0-litre petrol is more than fast enough, and the smooth engine performs quietly and effortlessly: 0-62mph takes just over six seconds. Saying that, even the entry-level 1.8-litre version isn’t underpowered, and the TDI diesel version is surprisingly rapid, particularly in the mid-range.
The 306bhp TTS and 394bhp TT RS are genuinely sports car fast, but although they’re firm-riding, they’re surprisingly comfortable with it. Indeed, all TTs are compliant, so long as you avoid big 20-inch wheels. Handling is agile and fun as well, with good feel and confidence – particularly the unflappable quattro versions.
A highlight of any TT is the interior. It feels special within and is brilliantly well-built. Infotainment is leagues ahead of rivals, although you have to pay extra for the full wow factor of Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual dials.
We found the driving position to be perfect, with a feel-good, low-slung sports car feel, and the minimalist dash is a model of clarity. It’s surprisingly refined for a roadster, and even the extra breeziness roof-down can be mitigated by an optional electric wind deflector. Pity visibility is so appalling with the roof up, though – parking sensors should be standard, not optional…
It’s a two-seater, which might strike it off the choice list for some, although the front seats do at least have plenty of space. That isn’t reflected in the boot, sadly, which is smaller than the TT coupe. It’s shallow as well: OK for a weekly shop but you’ll not get a set of golf clubs in there. Practicality is one of the compromises you make with two-seat sports cars and the TT Roadster is no exception.
The popular TT does retain its value well though, and running costs are further managed by good-value asking prices and impressive economy. CO2 emissions are also low, particularly with the diesel. Equipment levels are more average and it’s easy to get drawn into the TT’s options list.
But although safety and security are decent, with four airbags and some active safety assist systems, reliability is less impressive. The previous TT was below average for dependability, as is the Audi brand itself. We’ve yet to receive feedback on how this latest model performs, but it may not be the big step on Audi needs here.
Instant verdict: The Audi TT Roadster is a feel-good machine that drives well and is competitively priced. So-so space and reliability apart, it’s hard to fault.