Audi TT Roadster 1.8

TFSI - First Drive

Audi TT Roadster, front, action
Audi TT Roadster, front, static
Audi TT Roadster, interior
Audi TT Roadster, rear
Audi TT Roadster, roof retraction
Audi TT Roadster, hood up
Audi TT Roadster, rear, static
Audi TT Roadster, rear, action
Audi TT Roadster, cockpit

A NEW entry level model is joining Audi's open top TT range with the introduction of a 1.8-litre turbo version.

Developing 180bhp, the newcomer may not have the same sort of clout on paper as the 2.0-litre TTs but on Britain's roads it's packed with fun.

There's nothing lacking when it comes to performance and the six-speed manual box is slick through the gears while the car itself is nicely agile.

The 1.8-litre TT Roadster is priced from £28,915 which makes it the cheapest member of the drop top TT range by almost £1,000.

It's front wheel drive and a TT Coupe with the same engine has also been introduced costing from £27,150.

The roadster we tried included LED headlights at £1,695 and Audi's £1,795 technology pack which features a full connectivity and sat nav system as well as a virtual instrument panel, a classy feature.

In basic Sport trim this TT was priced at £34,245 and while the car comes with the likes of heated door mirrors, air conditioning and automatic wipers, cruise control is not fitted.

Power delivery is brisk and the 1.8-litre TT is potent enough underfoot with a 0 to 60 time of 7.2 seconds topping out at 147mph.

Drive modes can be switched from the normal automatic setting into eco, sport or comfort configurations and there is also an individual set up if drivers want to store a particular set of handling characteristics.

A pop up spoiler can be operated from the instrument panel (it deploys automatically at motorway speeds) and like other open top TTs the car looks the part roof up or down.

Audi goes for a proper rag top treatment with the TT and the hood is well insulated and weatherproof. Noise levels inside are very respectable - even when open any bluster is well suppressed.

The hood opens and closes electronically in around 10 seconds and when down it stows itself under a tonneau aft of the head restraints at the back of the cockpit.

Boot space is a constant 280 litres regardless of whether the roof is up or down and that is a plus point when it comes to touring.

Storage in the cockpit comprises a lockable glovebox and a compartment in the rear bulkhead while there are other pockets in the centre console as well as plug-in points and the Audi ‘phonebox' wireless charging system - another extra at £325.

Audi claims the new roadster is good for 46.3mpg with emissions of 142g/km (the coupe with its more slippery lines is slightly more economical and a little bit quicker) and we managed to average 36 to the gallon on a good countryside drive.

Fuel tank capacity is 11 gallons which should work out at a realistic range of around 400 miles.

Despite the front wheel set up any torque steer when the turbo comes on stream has been eliminated and the overall drive is precise and rewarding - just as a roadster should be.

It's all good stuff and moves the TT closer to the zone occupied by the Mazda MX-5 - although that remains significantly cheaper on the roadster front.

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