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  • Engine and transmission provide sharp response and fast gear shifts; buffeting inside the cabin kept low; rigid chassis devoid of noticeable flex; excellent brakes; characteristic style
  • No reversing camera; no heads-up display; ride on 19-inch wheels can be too firm on poor roads; tyre roar

OUR RATING
8 / 10



I had a soft spot for the outgoing Audi TT Roadster. A compact, quick and sporty looking convertible. But it was always marred with the ‘hairdresser’s car’ image — something that always confused me given a hairdresser’s average salary.

Nevertheless, Audi has done what it can to depart from that image with a very sharp and somewhat masculine looking 2016 TT Roadster, which we’ve just driven on the picturesque Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

Taking styling cues from its more powerful two-door supercar sibling, the R8, Audi has gone to great lengths to enhance the TT’s image and make it more appealing to a greater cross-section of the market.

New LED headlights with a vertical bar design, dynamic LED indicators that light up in sequence, even a set of Audi rings on the bonnet — previously reserved for the R8 only — are just some of the design highlights employed on this latest model.

Launching in Australia this week with a starting price of $81,500, the TT Roadster goes on sale at the same price as the outgoing model, despite the addition of $8000 in value (you can read our story on 2016 Audi TT Roadster pricing and specifications here).

A sportier looking S-Line model is priced from $89,000, which adds a mean looking front-end with air scoops and a rear diffuser, in addition to unique sports seats and bigger 19-inch alloy wheels.

2016 Audi TT Roadster Review

Both of these versions are $3550 more expensive than the equivalent TT Coupe.

Available in one engine and gearbox specification, the TT Roadster is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The TT Roadster is also only available with quattro all-wheel drive.

The feisty four-cylinder engine produces 169kW of power (up 14kW of power over the previous model) and 370Nm of torque (up 20Nm of torque over the previous model), which allows it to sprint from 0-100km/h in just 5.6 seconds (0.3 seconds quicker than the outgoing model). Likewise, fuel consumption has reduced by 10.0 per cent to just 6.7L/100km.

Sitting some 3mm lower than the previous model, the TT Roadster uses a 10mm wider track and 37mm longer wheelbase to help it sit with confidence through corners. Optional magnetic ride control ($2250, or $1731 exclusive of LCT) is also available, which offers three damper firmness modes and allows the car to sit an additional 10mm lower.

From the outside, it’s clear to see the TT Roadster has evolved from the first bubble-shaped sketch of a TT Roadster in 1994. This latest model sits confidently on the road with sharp lines and impressive angles.

Dynamic LED indicators on the front and rear work with a boot-mounted LED brake light strip. A range of alloy wheels sized from 18- to 20-inches are available, allowing customers to add character to their purchase — there’s even an out-there yellow colour called Vegas Yellow.

2016 Audi TT Roadster Review

In true Audi fashion, it’s the interior that sets the TT Roadster apart from the rest. Featuring a host of new technology features, such as a 12.4-inch 60fps Virtual Cockpit display, neck-level heating, seat belt microphones and brand-name-specific voice recognition technology, you won’t be left wanting in terms of technology — with the dubious exception of no reversing camera, and the lack of a heads-up display (a less egregious complaint).

Debuting on the TT Coupe, the Virtual Cockpit sits in front of the driver and is used to select music, change vehicle settings and displays both the speedometer and tachometer. With a 60fps display rate, everything is crisp and operates sharply. The Nvidia graphics card is powerful enough to cope with the demands of screen switching and constant speed/tachometer changes. The navigation can even use GPS data to pre-angle lights as the vehicle approaches a corner.

The sports seats on both the TT Roadster Sport and S-Line are fantastic. They hug you in tightly during cornering and offer sufficient bolstering, and in the case of the S-Line with pneumatic side bolstering, to keep you nestled under even harder acceleration and braking.

The seats feature a leather heat treatment that allows a surface temperature reduction of up to 20 degrees Celsius. This bodes well with hot days if you leave the car outside with the roof off, since there’s less chance of burning your skin as you hop in.

2016 Audi TT Roadster Review

Both the driver and passenger seat belts come with built-in microphones to help amplify Bluetooth phone audio quality. We tested this feature out and the person on the other end of the phone was quite impressed with the audio quality, even with the roof down at 100km/h.

Optional on S-Line models is a neck level heater that pumps warm air at three speed levels on to the driver’s neckline. It’s a perfect addition to a mild day and is fairly reasonably priced at $615.

Despite facilitating the roof mechanism, boot capacity is only 25 litres down on the TT Coupe, offering 280 litres of storage.

An uncharacteristically sunny day meant dropping the canvas roof via its switch was mandatory — despite the low double-digit ambient temperature. Donning both a beanie and jacket, we cranked the cabin, seat and neck level heaters before setting off in the hunt for corners.

It’s immediately obvious that this feisty little engine has the goods as the first gear-change crack emanates within the cabin. Using the drive select button, we slotted the car into its dynamic mode (other available modes include comfort, automatic, eco and individual) where it selects the gearbox’s sport mode and more actively sends torque to the rear axle.

Featuring torque vectoring, the all-wheel drive system can send up to 100.0 per cent of torque to the rear in some instances, giving the car a sporty feel on the road. The TT Roadster also comes with uniquely tuned dampers that react differently to those in the TT Coupe.

2016 Audi TT Roadster Review

After the first few corners, the TT Roadster’s steering begins to shine. The communicative and nimble rack uses progressive electrical assistance to tuck the front end in on the approach to a corner. It teams perfectly with the sharp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive system to literally slingshot out of corners at phenomenal pace.

The understeer-prone second generation TT Roadster is almost like chalk and cheese in comparison to the new one. It handles like a far more mature vehicle and makes the most of a more rigid chassis and new quattro all-wheel drive system to enhance delivery of torque.

The ride on the TT Roadster Sport’s standard 18-inch wheels is excellent. The slightly chubbier tyres allow the car to glide over bumps and settle quicker during mid-corner bumps. The step up to the 19-inch wheels in the TT Roadster S-Line causes the car to sometimes become unsettled on rough mid-corner stretches.

On smoother surfaces, though, the lack of body roll and epic exhaust note bouncing off the walls of the Great Ocean Road push it close to motoring nirvana. It’s hard to remember the last time I found a car to be this enjoyable on an open stretch of road.

The 312mm/300mm front/rear ventilated disc brake combination works perfectly to pull up the TT Roadster with little fuss. Even after a downhill run back into Lorne, the TT Roadster felt composed and unfazed by the constant braking.

2016 Audi TT Roadster Review

Arguably, the best way to drive the TT Roadster is using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters to manually up-shift and slow the car before corners. The sport mode also works well, but could be more aggressive.

As we ventured higher into the mountains, we closed the roof — which only takes 10 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h. This element of the drive highlighted a complaint we had with the TT Coupe, which was road noise from the tyres. It’s quite prominent in the cabin and becomes quite intrusive as speeds increase.

Audi expects around 50.0 per cent of purchases to be skewed toward the more expensive TT Roadster S-Line, with a majority of those buyers being women.

The new Audi TT Roadster represents one of the most engaging convertible sports car purchases under $100,000. It’s a marked improvement over its predecessor in almost every area.


2016 Audi TT Roadster Review
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Audi TT Specs

1.8 TFSI : 8J MY14 : 1.8L TURBO MPFI - 7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHIFT - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 2D ROADSTER
Car Details
Make
AUDI
Model
TT
Variant
1.8 TFSI
Series
8J MY14
Year
2015
Body Type
2D ROADSTER
Seats
2
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$50,160 - $57,000
Dealer Retail
$48,470 - $57,640
Dealer Trade
$38,500 - $45,600
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
1.8L
Cylinders
TURBO 4
Max. Torque
250Nm @  1500rpm
Max. Power
118kW @  4500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
84.6W/kg
Bore & Stroke
82.5x84.1mm
Compression Ratio
9.6
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHIFT
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.176
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
55Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1395
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1358mm
Length
4198mm
Width
1842mm
Ground Clearance
115mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
8.5x17
Rear Rim Size
8.5x17
Front Tyres
245/45 R17
Rear Tyres
245/45 R17
Wheel Base
2468
Front Track
1562
Rear Track
1548
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control, Sport Seats
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Sports Suspension, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Electronic Differential Lock
Entertainment
Radio CD with 9 Speakers
Exterior
Electric Top, Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Heated Front Seats, Power front seats
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, 18 Inch Alloy Wheels
Driver
Satellite Navigation, Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Premium Sound System
Exterior
Metallic Paint, Xenon Headlights
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Centre Eng Bay Scuttle
Country of Origin
Hungary