Nine-time 24hrs champion gives the current crop some tips
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The Top Gear car review:Audi TT Roadster
For:Cabin design, slick roof mechanism, build quality, Neckscarf
Against:Driving position, joyless engine, plain handling
What is it?
You spotted the new grille right? Or maybe just the slightly more hooded, scowling headlights and the grey inserts in the lower airdam? Textbook facelift stuff.
It’s the new-for-2019 Audi TT Roadster. Still the same car underneath, but with new wheels, a bit more power and some new colour choices. Enough to keep the two-seat drop-top fresh and ready for the challenge of BMW’s all-new Z4, the moderately-new Porsche 718 Boxster and Merc’s much-less-new SLC.
The 1.8-litre turbo has been dropped, so all currently available TTs use a 2.0-litre four cylinder single turbo motor. Base trim yields 197bhp (40TFSI in Audi’s daft nomenclature), next one up is 245bhp (45TFSI) and there’s the 306bhp TT S (no daft designation) which gets a lighter cylinder head, modified pistons and con rods, a reinforced crank, new valve springs, and 1.4 bar of boost instead of 0.8. That’s actually 4bhp down on previously (blame emissions regs), while the lesser two are up around 15bhp. In due course there’ll be a TT RS.
Despite doing away with the hatch and rear seats, the Roadster is 90kg heavier than the coupe. The fabric roof accounts for 39kg of that, extra body stiffening the rest. All electric, it takes just 10secs to raise or lower, at up to 31mph. When lowered an electric mesh screen rises to combat turbulence.
Prices start at £33,280 for a 197bhp front-driver in Sport trim. The S Tronic twin clutch gearbox is standard. Want a six-speed manual? Then you’ll need to upgrade to the more potent 45TFSI. Same if you want quattro, too. But you can only mate that with S Tronic. For £38,205.
Upgrade from Sport to S Line or Black Edition (price increases of £1,150 and then another £1,600 respectively) and you’ll not only get more kit (LED lights, 19s and super-sports seats for S Line; 20s, black pack, privacy glass and a deletable fixed rear spoiler for Black Edition), but also a more ‘sporty’ grille, badging and optional 10mm lower suspension. Oh, and since it’s now 20 years since the TT first appeared in the UK, there’s a ‘20 years’ edition, limited to just 20 cars in the UK (plus 130 coupes). That’s £45,105 and only available in Arrow Grey.