The icon Audi TT, first presented in 1999, has only changed moderately for over 15 years, and the same applies to the open Audi TT Roadster. How does everyday life look like with a two-seater, a soft top and a mediocre trunk volume? Not bad at all if the weather cooperates.
Audi TT Roadster in the everyday test
Basically it is only 25 liters that the Audi TT Roadster loses in trunk compared to the Coupé. And that is just too ridiculous for the Audi to have a 39 kilogram soft top built in, which opens or closes in 10 seconds. The Audi TT Roadster can be packed in the trunk of 280 liters when required. That’s not enough for two suitcases, but for a lot more than you would think from the outside. It goes deep into the throat, ergo, everything that fits through the opening is also sunk. If necessary, there are a few smaller compartments in the cockpit, such as the astonishingly deep glove compartment between the seats.
The space in the TT Roadster is used more than efficiently, so even the smallest engine fits in well with the concept. A 1.8 TFSI with 180 PS (250 Nm) drives the Audi TT Roadster at a base price of 34,950 euros. That is less power than in the Polo GTI, for example, which uses the same engine block, but in the Audi TT Roadster it doesn’t really matter, because here the roadster is clearly the focus.
1.8 TFSI fits in the roadster
Thanks to the electrically raised wind deflector, the roadster feeling is limited to head height; if you want to feel fresh air around your toes again, you have to lower the wind deflector. In any case, the bang of the exhaust gas from the small engine is clearly audible during a perfectly timed gear change. This requires the dynamic mode, as well as a manual gear change on the rocker switch between 3,500 and 4,000 tours and the little one “pops” like a big one.
It’s not bad that Audi has also come up with something for the smallest in terms of sound design, so as not to let them go to an emotional state. Of course, it doesn’t respond as pithy and snappy as the 2.0 TFSI variant with 230 or even 310 hp, but the driving dynamics speak for it. What the 1.8 TFSI lacks in engine power, it makes up for with the well-balanced chassis, which has almost completely eliminated understeer (despite the lack of a mechanical locking effect). With just under 7.5 l / 100km, it does not skip the consumption standard as easily as the larger models.
Clean cockpit – virtual cockpit not (yet) perfect
In every TT, the focus is primarily on the driver. The passenger is completely decoupled by the virtual cockpit and is literally just an accessory. The idea behind the digital cockpit is ingenious, all information can be called up directly by the driver without taking his hands off the steering wheel. The cockpit is phenomenally purified. It’s only pure in racing cars. The complete climate control is in the ventilation nozzles, the optional head heating and seat heating is even in a turn-push button.
As a fan of new technology, I have always viewed this “thoroughbred” development of the TT with a kind of skeptical curiosity. In other models from the VW Group, the virtual cockpit cannot do without an additional screen. In the TT, hand-eye coordination has to be re-trained, because in the middle of the dashboard there is absolutely nothing to be found except clinical purity. It takes more concentration to lower your gaze slightly than to turn your head at an angle. The view is almost completely away from the road. Technically, the virtual cockpit is a brilliant achievement, but the implementation calls for assistants who monitor the road and can intervene autonomously even when the vehicle is at full speed.
Even in its third generation, the Audi TT Roadster is somehow an icon. After all, it now has more edges, the cockpit is tidier than any other vehicle has ever been and despite the basic engine, Audi’s smallest sports car is fun. But the “little one” is only okay as a roadster, and those who prefer the coupé have to use the big engine for better or worse.
Video driving report Audi TT Roadster 1.8 TFSI
Text / Photos: Fabian Meßner