Audi TT Roadster road test
BARKING on upshifts, the cute sports car with a mean streak grabs you by the shoulders and thrusts you into the wintry air with youthful fervour.
With the wind in your hair and watching Victoria's spectacular Ocean Rd scenery become a blur, it's a feeling which only open-top driving can deliver.
The new Audi TT Roadster has an ability to press an array of sensory buttons which awaken the steerer within. Starting from $81,500, this dynamic drop-top manages to look sexy while possessing on-road dexterity which is smile inducing.
With temperatures plummeting below 8 degrees Celsius, Victoria is not typically convertible country this time of year.
Not only was it a chance for Audi to display its all-seasons abilities, but it was also a chance to show some extra love for a state where the four-rings foresees new opportunities. The marque is backing the upcoming Premier League soccer matches in Melbourne, while it will also sponsor Hawthorn next season.
The four rings are circling after record sales last month, which saw Audi surpass 2000 units for the first time in Australia.
This new TT rag-top is a niche model but it's these aspirational offerings which keep the brand in front of buyers that support the bread-and-butter sedans and hatches.
Icy winds buffeted the coast, yet the roof remained hidden with the heated seats firing, while warm air was funnelled around our necks, feet and torso.
With the aid of an electric rear wind deflect or the cabin is a pleasant location with the lid on or off and the occupants can hold a conversation without shouting when travelling on the highway or through town.
During first introductions with this third generation TT we loved the ingenious interior. Nothing has changed.
Audi calls it "simplexity" - complex technology made simple. There are minimal buttons across the dash and no central screen, rather controls for the air con, chair warmers and neck heaters are within the centre of turbine-looking air vents.
By pressing and twisting the knobs you can control the fan speed, temperature and all cabin comforts. It's outstanding.
Being a sports car, the driver is the focus, which is why all the sat nav, stereo and various settings are within the pilot's colour instrument panel. It can still be controlled by a central dial (the passenger can see it from their vantage point), whereas the driver flicks through various view modes and settings via steering wheel buttons.
The Z-folding roof pops up and down within a brisk 10 seconds and at speeds up to 50kmh - perfect for quickly averting unforseen showers.
On the road
Punchy and brimming with enthusiasm, the turbocharged four-cylinder is great fun.
In "Dynamic" mode, one of the various driving personalities available, it can reach 100kmh in less than six seconds. That's pretty swift.
Plant your foot and it growls when shifting into the next cog and will happily work up to the tachometer's red zone.
Although it's not all speed. The TT is armed with Audi's famed Quattro all-wheel drive system which has an amazing ability to make the driver look smooth and accomplished.
Cornering is done with ease, and while it's about 90kg heavier than the coupe it never feels like you've compromised by opting for the folding roof. Additional high-strength materials are used around the seats and door sills, along with extra cross braces, which makes for a rock-solid feel with no hint of wobble.
What do you get?
Audi says there is about $8000 worth of extra equipment compared to the outgoing equivalents despite having the same sticker price.
Standard items include 18-inch alloys, heated electric seats with leather and alcantara trim, front and rear parking sensors, sat nav, hands free system for Apple and Android devices, climate controlled air con and cruise control.
The S Line models get a full body kit, larger 19-inch alloys, full LED headlights, sports seats, glossy grille, brushed aluminium cabin finishes and a 155 watt nine speaker stereo system.
Safety is five star, although you do have to pay extra for the likes of blind spot warning and radar cruise control.
Hardly family friendly, the Roadster can still carry a couple of small suitcases, with a reasonable boot allocation that remains at 280-litres top up or down.
It's refined accommodation for two, and there are good storage spots, one cup holder in the console, along with a nook perfect for phones next to the USB port.
Fuel consumption should be thrifty at around seven litres for every 100km, although right-foot shenanigans that we enjoyed saw that figure nearly double.
Borrowing some design inspiration from the scintillating R8, you can see the resemblance front-on via the lines formed by the headlights and single frame grille, as well as the four rings on the bonnet.
It's a striking offering, and Audi has retained the distinctive fuel cover with allen- key features for the sporting edge (and there is no fuel cap either once you flip it open).
S Line models possess extra sporty persona courtesy of their body kit, although you really can't find an unattractive TT. There's an array of options and wheel choices for individualisation.
Well designed and sexy. The Audi TT Roadster delivers driving enjoyment in spades.
There is a more hardcore derivative on its way, but it's hard to fathom the need for more power or a firmer ride for a drop-top.
Balanced, prestigious and powerful this Roadster is a wonderful blend of refinement with a raw edge.
Model: Audi TT Roadster.
Details: Two-door two-seat all-wheel drive performance convertible.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 169kW @ 4500-6200rpm and peak torque of 370Nm @ 1600-4300rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters.
Consumption: 6.7L/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 5.6 seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: Sport $81,500; S Line $89,000.
What matters most
What we liked: Fast roof-top operation, exhaust soundtrack, punchy powerplant.
What we'd like to see: Optional extra safety driving aids should be standard.
Warranty and servicing: Three year/unlimited kilometres warranty with roadside assist. Servicing is every 15,000km or 12 months.
Driving experience: 18/20
Features and equipment: 17/20
Functionality and comfort: 16/20
Value for money: 17/20
Style and design: 18/20