Formula One returns this weekend, and the British carmaker is celebrating
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The Top Gear car review:Audi TT Roadster
For:Brilliant interior, seriously good looks, drive is finally up to scratch too
Against:Two seats only, you know everyone will have one soon enough...
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What we say:
The TT Roadster now isn’t just about good looks: it has the on-road dynamic ability to match them
What is it?
A drop-top icon, and apparently how the TT was originally conceived. The coupe’s fastback lines might be the ones we all think of when you say Audi TT, but it was always meant to be a roadster. There’s a fabric roof that folds at the touch of a button, while a pop-up wind deflector keeps the cabin draught free. Audi even offers neck-warming seats if you’re a winter-sun enthusiast.
As with its two predecessors this third-generation TT Roadster looks sensational roof up or down, and, sensible head on for a moment, it doesn’t lose boot space whether you’re open to the elements or snug inside under that beautifully finished multi-layer roof.
Even Audi admits previous TTs have been more about style than the driving experience. That’s less evident here, this is a TT that’s got some substance. Let’s not get too carried away though, it’s no Porsche 718 Boxster, but it now puts up a more convincing fight against alternatives like the aging BMW Z4 and refreshed (and renamed) Mercedes-Benz SLK.
The most sensible is the 181bhp 2.0-litre TDI ultra, a 65mpg fuel-sipping diesel that’s decently quick and fleet-manager friendly. The 227bhp 2.0-litre TFSI petrol is tempting, as unlike that diesel it can be had with quattro four-wheel drive. It’s quick, grips well, steers nicely and sounds good too, indeed it’s the best all-round choice and makes the 306bhp TTS sound like expensive overkill. Just avoid the lower S line suspension if you want some comfort - it’s a no-cost option that can be deleted by ticking a box, and we strongly recommend you do.
On the inside
You’ll be pressing the roof button to open it up for everyone to see the TT’s inside. Audi has always been absolutely first rate when it comes to interiors and the TT’s at the very top of the class. With Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’ replacing conventional dials there’s a sci-fi feel to the info, entertainment and nav functions. That trick screen also allows Audi’s designers to indulge with the dashboard’s shape and form. Bold, circular vents, swooping surfaces and superb material quality all combine to create one of the nicest interiors this side of £100k. The junior R8 satisfaction this gives is more than worth it.
Obviously you lose the two tiny rear pews of the coupe thanks to the folding roof’s electronics but you’ll really not care one little bit.
Sport, S line or TTS are the trim choices, the latter two gaining some smarter styling touches and, if you can live with the stiffer ride, a firmer suspension. It’s a no-cost delete option (and one that we’d recommend). Sport comes with everything you could possibly want. A regular six-speed manual is standard on front-wheel drive models, Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch automatic only offered on the petrol and quattro four-wheel drive versions. The diesel makes most sense thanks to its eco-focused 114g/km CO2, but the TT’s an indulgence so suck up the extra tax liability and have the petrol.