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UK Drive: The Audi TT Roadster remains an unflappable drop-top option

UK Drive: The Audi TT Roadster remains an unflappable drop-top option

By Swansway Motor Group 21-03-2019

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We test out the Audi TT Roadster, lets see what it has to offer.

What is it?

The TT has been mainstay of the Audi range for some time now, delivering rock-solid German build quality in a good-looking and compact package. It’s recently been refreshed, updating its looks both inside and out, and refining the way it drives.

rear view of a car driving on a road

It’s still available with a range of petrol engines (though now with more power on offer than before), and it can be specified as either a hard-top Coupe or, like we have here, the soft-top Roadster version.


What’s new?

This is a subtle refresh of the third-generation TT we first saw on our roads back in 2014. However, some key changes have been made throughout the car; the interior has been given new seats, while the exterior gets a variety of new design touches to help it remain fresh.

close up of seat upholstery in the TT Roadster

The cabin still benefits from Audi’s Virtual Cockpit infotainment system (the TT was the first production model to feature this tech when it was first released), but it doesn’t feel outdated – in fact, it continues to add to the overall appeal of the car.


What’s under the bonnet?

One of the biggest changes to the TT was the removal of a 1.8-litre engine on base cars in favour of a larger, more powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit. Entry-level ‘40’ cars produce 192bhp, while ‘45’ versions like we have here push out 242bhp. Opt for the range-topping TT S version and you’ll find 302bhp under the bonnet.

Here, power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A manual is available, albeit only on the lower-powered TT models. Getting from 0-60mph takes 5.3 seconds, and flat-out the TT will do 155mph. Efficiency-wise, Audi claims that the TT 45 will return up to 34.4mpg combined and emit 164g/km CO2. All cars in the TT range now get a particulate filter, too.


What’s it like to drive?

The TT has historically returned a brisk, if not overtly rewarding, driving experience – and it’s the same story with this latest one. The engine provides plenty of shove, and the seven-speed gearbox shifts smoothly when in full auto and accurately after being switched to manual mode too – it can be a touch dim-witted when moving away from a dead stop, however.

front view of a car driving on a road

There’s plenty of accuracy to the steering, and though the ride on the 19-inch alloy wheels is quite sharp, it means there’s little in the way of body roll. Plus, thanks to the quattro all-wheel-drive system, the TT remains unflappable in the wet, and stable and composed in the dry. It may not be the most involving of experiences, but it’s assured and predictable at all times.


How does it look?

The TT remains a looker. Sharp lines and a compact, almost square layout mean that it fits well on UK roads, while the twin pipes at the rear and electric rear spoiler do give it a little added drama. S-Line models like our test car are helped even further thanks to the inclusion of a rear diffuser and a full-length front splitter.

side view of the TT Roadster

The Roadster version even looks good with the roof raised — an area which can sometimes detract from the overall look of soft-top cars. Speaking of the roof, it can be raised or lowered in around 10 seconds, at speeds of up to 31mph. Once closed, it does a decent job of isolating road noise – though, of course, it isn’t a refined as the hardtop.


What’s it like inside?

The cabin of the TT is largely focused around the driver; all of the main displays are located where the traditional dials would be as part of the car’s Virtual Cockpit system. It does mean that the interior of the Audi feels a little bit sparse, but you can’t fault the quality of it. The buttons which do remain have a solid, tactile feel to them and the aluminium-fringed air vents are classy both in terms of looks and operation.

Interior of TT Roadster

The sports seats are heated (a handy feature for when the roof is down) and our test car came with heated blowers just below the headrests – again, a welcome touch on cooler days when you want to recline the roof.


What’s the spec like?

Audi has beefed-up the amount of standard equipment available on base models, with features such as cruise control and Xenon headlights now included on entry-level Sport-spec cars. However, our S-Line test car benefitted from additions such as 19-inch forged alloy wheels, full LED headlights and ‘Super’ sport seats fitted as standard.

Close up of Audi TT Roadster headlight and wheel

S-Line cars also get a full exterior styling pack, which is ideal for those looking to give their TT a little more presence out on the road. Virtual Cockpit is fitted as standard too – though our car came with the Technology Pack, a £1,495 optional extra which adds full navigation and online mapping, as well as an eight loudspeaker system. A wireless phone charging system is also added as part of the pack.


Verdict

The Audi TT remains a reliable, well-made and reasonably punchy sports car. it may not be able to offer the same driver involvement as rivals, but that’s not to say it’s devoid of fun – it just doesn’t come alive in the way cars like the Porsche Cayman do. This Roadster version certainly broadens its appeal, and with so many soft-tops snapped up each year in the UK, we can imagine this latest, refreshed TT experiencing a fair amount of popularity.

Rear of TT Roadster

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