Audi TT Roadster convertible (2019 - ) review
This TT is a revised version of the convertible sports car launched in 2014. Its rivals include the Porsche Boxster, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLC.
Interested in buying an Audi TT?
How good does it look?
We won’t blame you if you don’t spot any differences between this facelifted Audi TT and the original third-generation car that launched in 2014. But look closely and you’ll find a revised grille taken from the R8 supercar, and tweaks to the bodywork. You can spec an S line package to make the bodywork a bit more sporty, while the performance TTS ramps up the visual dynamism further.
The Roadster comes with an electrically-folding soft black roof that deploys or stows away in ten seconds at speeds up to 31mph. When down, it shows off roll over bars behind the driver and passenger.
There are three trim levels, starting with the Sport which features LED daytime running lights and xenon headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels. The next step up is the S line, which comes with brighter LED headlights and 19-inch wheels, as well as some gloss black bits on the bodywork and a sportier bodykit. The top model of the 'standard' TT is the Black Edition, which comes with 20-inch black alloy wheels and, as the name suggests, lots of black elements on the bodywork.
The sportiest version (currently) of the TT is the TTS, which has aluminium-look bits on the side mirrors, bumper and side skirts, and rides on 19-inch alloy wheels. You also get some TTS logos on the brake calipers, so the keen-eyed will know you’re packing a bit more oomph. Solid paint is included, but metallic colours are extra.
What's the interior like?
With Audi maintaining a superb reputation for interior quality, changes to the revamped TT are, again, pretty minimal, which means very high quality materials, and excellent fit and finish. Sports seats are standard, with all models getting part or full-leather upholstery, and they’re nicely supportive while being comfortable for longer journeys.
All cars come with a 12.3-inch display in front of the driver, rather than traditional instruments or a central screen. This displays both driving information and infotainment, which is controlled either from the wheel or by a dial and buttons next to the gearstick. It’s certainly cool to look at, and works well once you get to know it, but be prepared to take a bit of time to figure out how to navigate your way around the interface.
The roof is raised and lowered using a switch between the seats.
How practical is it?
First things first: unlike the TT Coupe, the Roadster is a strict two-seater, with the coupe’s rear seats making way for the folding roof storage. So if you’ve got more than one friend to carry around, the Roadster isn’t for you. The folded away roof also slightly reduces the amount of boot space available, but it’s only slightly smaller than the Coupe and therefore a pretty decent size compared to rivals. Because there are no rear seats, you can’t fold them down for extra space, so what’s there is your lot. That’s true of other two-seat convertibles too, but it’s worth knowing if you might need to transport larger items.
Rear visibility with the roof up isn’t brilliant, but again that’s typical of soft-top cars. There’s a cup holder in the centre and another one under the armrest, as well as shallow door pockets and a cubbyhole in front of the gearstick. There’s also a lockable storage space between the seats.
What's it like to drive?
The TT isn’t just about cute looks. It also has proper dynamic ability, with engineering that’s unchanged in the revamped version. With strong grip, taut body control and fast, predictable reactions from the steering, gearshift and throttle, the TT feels excitingly nimble in a set of bends. And that’s the front-wheel-drive cars. Some versions are available with four-wheel drive (and a twin-clutch gearbox), giving you even more traction out of bends. But to be honest, they’re no more enjoyable to drive, and we’d save the extra cash they cost unless you really need the extra grip.
All the conventional TTs also deliver a ride that’s impressively slick and smooth, and the lowered sports suspension that’s standard on S line and Black Edition models manages to increase the stiffness and cornering ability while stopping short of being crashy over rough surfaces. Taking the roof away doesn’t noticeably affect the quality of handling. You’d probably lose a bit of time around a racetrack due to a small decrease in torsional stiffness and extra weight, compared to the coupe. But that’s offset by the extra drama of the wind in your hair and the noise from the exhaust.
We haven’t yet tried the revamped version of the sportier TTS, but as it too is unchanged when it comes to handling, we’re confident it’ll mirror its predecessor. That version wasn’t anywhere near as smooth as the conventional cars, but we think it’ll be comfy enough for the hardcore buyers it’ll appeal to. That said, it’s neither as fun, nor as comfortable, as a Porsche 718 Boxster, which costs about the same. A revised version of the really hardcore TT RS will follow in the future.
How powerful is it?
The standard version of the TT comes with a choice of two petrol engines (there’s no diesel option), which have more power than before. Both are 2.0-litre turbocharged units, with one badged as the 40 TFSI and the other as the 45 TFSI. The former has 197 horsepower, which might not sound a lot, but it’s enough for the TT to hit 62mph in 6.9 seconds. If you want a bit more zip, the 45 TFSI has 245 horsepower and will hit 62mph in 5.9 seconds. It’s an engine that’s often used in performance cars from Audi’s parent company, the Volkswagen Group, and it’s a cracker with plenty of grunt and smooth delivery that means punch whenever you need it.
Both engines come with a seven-speed, twin-clutch automatic gearbox that can run in full auto mode or manually via the gearstick or paddles behind the wheel. The 45 is also available with a six-speed manual gearbox if you prefer the extra involvement of a clutch pedal, and can also come with all-wheel drive, which is labelled by Audi as Quattro.
The performance TTS model comes with 306 horsepower and all-wheel drive, meaning it can do the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.5 seconds, which is slightly quicker than the 2014 car.
How much will it cost me?
Rivals for the TT Roadster include premium cars like Porsche’s 718 Boxster, BMW’s Z4 and the Mercedes-Benz SLC. Although it slightly depends which version you opt for, overall the purchase price for the Audi is very competitive, and it should have rock solid resale values as well. The deletion of a diesel option in the TT line-up means fuel costs might be higher than they used to be, but the petrol engines are pretty good on fuel considering their performance levels.
How reliable is it?
Despite a strong reputation for quality, Audi’s reliability has not been the best in recent years. In fact, it’s been pretty poor. The 2018 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study put Audi third from bottom when ranking all the main manufacturers, although that's one place higher than the 2017 study. Audi is similarly low-ranked in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, which looks at the reliability of older, out-of-warranty cars. Should anything go wrong with your TT, Audi offers a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is pretty standard for this type or car.
How safe is it?
The latest TT is largely the same as the car that scored a disappointing four stars out of five in tests by safety organisation Euro NCAP back in 2015. In fairness, the tests had just been made harder when it was tested, but standards have improved again since then.
Some modern technologies that you would expect from newer cars, such as automatic emergency braking, aren’t available, and lane assist is only available as an option. Still, there are front and side airbags and two Isofix child seat mounting points in the rear seats.
How much equipment do I get?
Audi isn’t renowned for including a lot of features as standard in its cars, but the offerings in the TT aren’t too bad. The Sport model includes Bluetooth and cruise control, as well as heated seats with an Alcantara and leather upholstery, and keyless start. Upgrade to the Sport and you’ll get more powerful LED lights and some cosmetic enhancements, but not much extra kit, while the Black Edition has bigger wheels and extra styling bits. The TTS has an upgraded magnetic suspension system, nicer leather on the seats and lane assist as standard.
Options include the Comfort and Sound pack, which features a Bang & Olufsen sound system and a reversing camera, and the Technology Pack, which adds satellite navigation (standard on the TTS), a wireless charging area for your phone and a 36-month subscription to various online infotainment options, including aerial pictures from Google Earth on the sat-nav.
The TT Roadster is fun and comfortable to drive, dripping with quality and desirability, and yet still affordable to run and practical for its class. Its iconic shape and name give it a head start against some of its premium rivals.