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Audi TT Roadster

There's no mistaking an Audi TT. Ever since the first concept car broke cover as far back as 1995, the distinctive haunches and dynamic stance make it instantly recognisable as part of the famous sports car family. And despite the latest car riding on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform and adopting the Audi's latest family face, the third generation car is as much as part of the TT lineage as the Peter Schreyer designed original. Last year we tested the coupe edition, scoring it a solid four and a half star rating, and it's now the time to put its soft-top sister car, the Roadster, through its paces to see if it can live up to the same high standards.
In a bid to keep unnecessary weight down, Audi hasn't followed rivals in offering a metal folding roof, instead remaining with the tried and tested formula of a fabric top. Effective insulation means that it's snug and quiet on the move, apart from some noise permeating from the road and tyres, and with the roof folded down, there's a little wind noise and buffeting, even with the deflector in place. The engine remains quiet and subdued, and even with the accelerator pedal buried in the footwell, the sound isn't intrusive.
There's great pace away from rest, brakes with good bite, and grip levels that are pretty good, even though this generation of TT diesel does without quattro all-wheel-drive, with drive sent only to the front wheels. The gearbox is positive, with six nicely chosen ratios to take full advantage of the generous 280lb ft of torque.
The steering is substantially weighted, so you get a good dose of feel through the wheel, and you're always absolutely certain what is going on with the front wheels. Quicken the pace, and there's taut handling, tight body control and great agility through the bends. The suspension is of course set up to be sportily firm, but in general soaks up all but the deepest of potholes and ruts quite nicely at moderate speeds.
For a two-seater sports car, there's a surprisingly spacious cabin, with nice huggy seats and a driving position that is multiadjustable. Of course you sit down low, and yet there's great visibility all around the car, especially with the roof down. The beautifully simple dashboard is achieved thanks to climate controls that are masterfully set into the centre of the air vent, and where you would often have a separate screen for the infotainment system, that is all contained in the instrument binnacle, controlled by a rotary dial housed between the front seats.
Our test car had what Audi calls the Virtual Cockpit, which allows the satellite navigation maps to envelope the entire cluster. It's a neat idea and is always within your field of vision. The materials are all beautifully finished using premium materials, with a solid, built-to-last feel about them.
Boot space appears quite small on paper at 280 litres, but in practice it is sensibly shaped, and if you plan ahead and tailor your luggage, you'll be surprised at how much you can fit in. Only a relatively high loading sill hampers access, but unlike most rival soft-top cars, the capacity, shape and size remains the same, no matter whether the roof is up or stowed away.
Model tested Sport 2.0 TDI ultra
Price £31,955
Made in Gyor, Hungary
Configuration 2-door convertible, 2-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1968cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power output 181bhp @ 3,500-4,000rpm
Maximum torque 280lb ft @ 1,750-3,250rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 147mph/7.3 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 114g/km (C) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 55.4/72.4/65.7mpg
Fuel tank size/range 50 litres/723 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate 33/18%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,177/1,966mm
Boot space 280 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,360/0kg

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