The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.8
The Audi TT Roadster is one of the most stylish cars on the road. It may be beautifully built and great to drive, but the TT is also costly to buy and not very practical.
Reasons to buy
- Looks sensational
- Beautifully built
- Great to drive
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
Redesigning the original Audi TT Roadster must have been one of the toughest jobs going – how do you replace an icon? One of the most recognisable shapes on our roads, the TT Roadster is unmistakeable with that swoopy silhouette, the faired-in front and rear lights plus the short wheelbase. The signature flared arches along with Audi’s family oversized grille are other giveaways that this is the most stylish car to come from the company in decades.
What's the interior like?
As with the exterior, moving from the first to the second-generation TT Roadster was always going to be tricky. The trademark chrome-ringed air vents remain, supported by brushed alloy highlights all over the cabin. The rest of the dash is typical Audi, with its red colouring, superb clarity and bullet-proof build quality. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a nice touch and because it adjusts for reach and rake, finding a suitable driving position is easy. Comfort levels are boosted by excellent seats with a good range of adjustment, but the fly in the ointment is poor rear three-quarter visibility when the roof is raised.
How practical is it?
You won’t enjoy much in the way of practicality with a TT Roadster, as it’s strictly a two-seater only and there’s not a lot of boot space. In fact the boot can accommodate just 250 litres, which is less than a Renault Clio with its rear seats in place. However, if you see this as simply a way of transporting two people with minimal luggage, while having some fun at the same time, you won’t be disappointed.
What's it like to drive?
Most TTs come with quattro four-wheel drive as standard – those that don’t, have the power going to the front wheels only. The extra weight of the quattro system, plus the extra traction, ensures the four-wheel drive editions feel quite different from the two-wheel drive counterparts to drive. They’re all good though, with sharp steering, excellent traction and little in the way of body roll. To go with the good handling there’s a comfortable ride, as long as you don’t get carried away and buy something with huge alloys, which causes things to get rather crashy.
How powerful is it?
All TT Roadster engines produce 258lb/ft of pulling power, apart from the entry-level 158bhp 1.8TFSI. That generates 184lb/ft of pulling power – enough to give 139mph and 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. The 208bhp 2.0TFSi takes the TT Roadster to 151mph and 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, although quattro four-wheel drive is also available with this engine, which cuts top speed to 149mph and the 0-62mph time to 5.8 seconds. Fastest of the standard range is the 268bhp TTS quattro which is limited to 155mph and covers the 0-62mph sprint in 5.4 seconds. If you prefer diesel, the 168bhp 2.0TDI quattro can manage 139mph and 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds, which is plenty quick enough for most drivers.
How much will it cost me?
Although the TT Roadster is costly to buy – you’ll need at least £25,000 to secure one – the running costs aren’t too high. These cars are extremely desirable so they don’t lose their value too quickly. While stop and start isn’t fitted, the TT Roadster is still efficient, with CO2 emissions no higher than 189g/km for the 2.0TFSi TTS Roadster, which can average 35.8mpg. The front-wheel drive 1.8TFSI and 2.0TFSI cut this to 152g/km and 156g/km respectively and 43.5 or 42.2mpg, but best of the lot, is the 2.0TDI. Even with standard quattro four-wheel drive, this can manage 144g/km and 51.4mpg.
How reliable is it?
Despite the complexity of its cars, Audis are more reliable than most. That high purchase price pays for some high-quality materials and components, while the standard of engineering is very high too. The result is a car that shouldn’t let you down.
How safe is it?
The current TT hasn’t been crash tested by EuroNCAP, although its predecessor was – it gained a four-star score. The extra strength and safety equipment of the newer model would probably see a five-star score awarded, but there’s no way of knowing. Naturally there are anti-lock brakes, along with traction control, ESP (electronic stability programme), front and side airbags plus an Isofix child seat mounting for the passenger seat. There are also pop-up rollover protection bars along with a strengthened windscreen surround.
How much equipment do I get?
Audi isn’t renowned for being too generous with its standard equipment, although it tends to fit a bit more than rivals BMW and Mercedes. There are standard, Sport and S Line trim levels available, but only the latter two for all engines except the 1.8TFSI. So even the cheapest TT Roadster gets 17-inch alloy wheels, CD/tuner, sports seats, brushed alloy interior detailing, climate control, an electrically operated roof, electrically adjustable and heated mirrors, electric windows and a retractable rear spoiler. The Sport gains leather and Alcantara trim while the S Line adds 18-inch wheels, lowered suspension, xenon lights plus sportier detailing inside and out. Audi also offers a Black Edition model with 19-inch ‘twin-spoke titanium look’ wheels, BOSE premium sound system, black grille, privacy glass and rear parking sensors.
It’s great to drive, holds it value very well and is utterly usable, even if it’s not very practical. The TT Roadster is also very safe, with things made even better with the availability of four-wheel drive. Build quality is superb and while you pay a high price for ownership, the costs are easily justified.