2007 Audi TT Roadster 2.0 Road Test

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2007 Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI S tronic Road Test

“Audi’s latest TT Roadster in 2.0 (Turbo) FSI guise nails its German rivals on almost every level, despite its smaller engine and lower price”

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Test Model: 2007 Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI S tronic

Colour: Sahara Silver

Options Fitted:

  • Metallic Paint @ $1300 (yes because flat colours don’t suit the TT)
  • Fine Nappa Leather @ $800 (yes- for comfort alone)
  • Electric Front seat/Lumbar support @ $2100 (No should be standard and the manual system works well)
  • Xenon Plus Headlights @ 2500 (I’m a huge fan of Xenon and Bi-Xenon but at this price on this car I’d pass)
  • Acoustic Rear Parking (a must – but again, rear sensors should be standard fit)

Recommended Retail Price: $77,500 without options

Where it sits: It’s the entry level TT Roadster, but don’t think for one minute that you’ve got a compromise. In many ways this car is the most rewarding drive of the two new TT Roadsters. The bigger engine 3.2 quattro S-tronic, commands a premium at $92,900.

We can be mildly dismissive of the weaker race here at Car Advice, generally preferring a seat behind the wheel of the more powerful variants of each model we test. Yes, it’s downright immature and not professional.

But more power is not always better. Never so true than with the smaller engine TT Roadster 2.0 T (for Turbo) FSI fitted with Audi’s warp-speed shifting S tronic gearbox.

Any pervious thoughts that my time with the less powerful TT might be a little dull were banished the moment I gave the car a gentle prod.

It’s not just quick and that’s 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds or better quick, it’s more that bruup sound it makes every time the 2.0L direct injection turbocharged inline four shifts up a gear, with your right foot hard on the pedal. Almost sounds like Superbike legend Troy Bayliss, peddling up through the gears on his V-twin Duke*. Can’t get enough of it!

There’s barely any turbo lag, and that, with a positively decent 280Nm of torque, all the way from 1800rpm to 5000rpm, would have you believing this car is quicker out of the blocks than its 3.2- litre big brother. With a top speed of 237km/h its just 13km/h off the pace of the V6 which is limited to 250km/h.

If that doesn’t do it for you, then 22kms of deserted snake bends (somewhere on the NSW coast) will see you begging for more. Bend to bend performance is erotic. Scuttle shake – non-existent. This is a seriously good drive.

The S tronic (twin clutch and twin gear sets) gearbox and the steering wheel mounted shift paddles is a marriage made in heaven.

With gear changes happening in 8 milliseconds, downshifts into corners sound like an F1 car.

Just like the new TT Coupe we road tested a month or so back, the TT Roadster has had a growth spurt. Longer, wider and way more stiffer in the body department. Try 120% stiffer – if you’re talking torsional rigidity.

And that’s not the only reason this TT Roadster behaves impeccably on the road. Unladen weight is just 1,295 kilos, which is remarkable when you consider the additional size and additional structural integrity.

You can put much of these improvements down to one major component. Audi’s space frame body. It’s 58% aluminium and only 42% steel, which adds hugely to the driving dynamics of this Roadster.

Steer into a corner and the TT sticks to a precise line regardless of the road surface. This is a particularly easy car to drive at pace, with excellent feedback through the steering wheel.

The electro-mechanical Speed Sensitive power steering does its job of ensuring the right amount of boost in almost all driving situations.

The car feels well planted at all times with wider low-profile rubber in 245/45 sitting on the standard 17-inch alloy rims. They look fine, but the optional 18’s and 19’s look better.

Like all cars in the Volkswagen group – Audi have got the compromise between ride quality and handling, pretty much right. The TT Roadster is a perfect example of that. You won’t feel any harsh body jarring in this car, even if you’re well into it, on less than perfect bitumen.

Brake pedal response is phenomenal and inspires tremendous confidence from behind the wheel. New brake pads generate substantially more friction and brake rotors and sufficiently large at 312 mm and 286mm respectively.

As good as the TT Roadster is as a fully-fledged sports car, it probably isn’t the prime reason for buyers choosing this car.

It’s all too easy to forget that the TT Roadster is also one of the finest looking drop tops in the automotive world. It’s also got the fastest electric roof in the business. Twelve seconds flat – even at 30km/h and that’s guaranteed. We timed it. MG die-hards lament.

I guess I’m sitting on the fence when it comes to the pros and cons of soft tops verses folding hard tops, but let’s be honest – authentic drop tops are not metal, they’re fabric!

The benefits are more to do with driveability than practicality. Less weight in a roadster is a major plus and when the roof is up – the centre of gravity is even lower.

The TT’s folding roof is a clever system for a number of reasons; the framework under the fabric is a blend of aluminium and steel with an integrated glass rear window. Most folding roofs whether fabric or metal rob the boot area of valuable space, rendering them next to useless as a luggage area. Not so with the TT Roadster.

The Z-fold soft top fits neatly into it’s own compartment between the bulkhead and rear lid leaving a decent size cargo area.

It’s also wonderfully neat with its own built in tonneau cover. And for highway cruising – you’ll need to hit the wind deflector button and all will be sorted.

Noise levels inside the car are not that dissimilar to that of the full metal coupe due partly to the acoustic mat between the frame and the skin, which also assists with thermo insulation inside the cabin.

I’m running out of superlatives for this review, but I need a couple more to describe the TT Roadster’s interior fit out.

Audi does the finest production car interiors today, and that’s just fact. But they seem to raise the Bar when it comes to their iconic TT.

From the ridiculously good sports seats covered in the most comfortable Fine Nappa Leather I’ve ever sat in, to the flat bottomed racing style steering wheel and bespoke-like switchgear and materials – its all top shelf and a level of quality unsurpassed by any of its competitors.

As an amateur audio buff, I can tell you that the bog standard Symphony sound system with 9 active speakers via a 6 disc CD changer head unit in the TT is a cracker - tried and tested with roof down at speeds north of 100km/h.

I’m utterly surprised that this thing only puts out 140watts but unfortunately there’s still no standard fit MP3 input which allows you to plug an iPod directly into the head.

The driving position is Porsche like. I mean 911 Porsche like, in that you are sitting in the car – not on top of the car. The ergonomics are particularly well sorted and driver focussed. You could do a long trip in this car and still manage a game of golf at the end of it all.

As expected, a full inventory of the latest active and passive safety features are on board with dual stage airbags for driver and passenger only, remembering that the TT Roadster is strictly a two seater.

As far as German rivals for the TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI go, you could look at the Z4 2.5si Roadster, but that’s going to cost you $80,000 with a 6-speed auto. It’s also slower and not nearly as stylish.

You might take a peak at the SLK 200 K from Mercedes Benz, which has a 1.8-litre supercharged engine with a 5-speed auto and good for a 0-100km/h time of around 8 seconds. Problem is – you’ll need to find $89,474 before you tick any of the options.

By Anthony Crawford