There’s no better way to assess a new car than by driving the full spectrum of the range. A go in everything from the lowliest ‘S’ with plastic wheel covers, no air-con, and a series of sad blanking plates where the extra features should be, right up to the all-singing, all-dancing range-topper, with electric everything, gadgets galore and the biggest engine.
Book-ending a model like this gives you the perfect overview of what customers can expect at each price range, which options are good value, and help us find the version that is just right. You could call this the ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’ approach to road testing…
Sadly, and perhaps contrary to what you might expect, it’s not something we get to do all that often in this job. Car makers always push high-spec models as press cars, so the rare occasions when you get in one with cloth seats, small wheels and steel suspension are worth savouring – driving these cars often tells you a lot about the model in question.
This brings me nicely back to the TT Roadster, which by a happy accident I found myself driving in three very different forms last month: The new, entry-level 1.8-litre TFSI – a snip at £29,000 – and at double the price, the fire-breathing, 395bhp, TT RS Roadster.
So how did they each stack up to our faithful yellow friend KU16 MPE, and which one is best?