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Audi TT Roadster

Date: 12 December 2006

Audi TT Roadster - interior
Category: Sports
Prices: £26,915-£31,535
Key Rival: BMW Z4

With all the predictability of a Ken Livingstone attack on 4x4s, Audi has followed up its well-received new TT Coupe with a drop-top version.

Less predictable, however, was the decision to eschew the current wisdom of a folding metal roof, instead sticking with the traditional cloth arrangement for weight reasons. Those pesky hard roofs add vital pounds that would have undermined the new car's improved dynamic ability that's seen it lauded by the motoring press. Audi has, though, added an additional layer of soundproofing, and the hood's automatic for the first time, opening or closing in just 122 seconds at a speed of up to 18mph.

TT Spec

Arriving in the UK next March as part of a 2007 product onslaught that will also include the R8 supercar, A5 coupe and a first glimpse of the Q5 off-roader, the TT Roadster will provide another touch of glitz to the German brand's range, even if the projected 2000 units sold next year is a modest amount.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the turbocharged 2.0 is the one to choose from the two engines on offer, as the 250PS 3.2-litre V6 makes no fiscal sense.

Audi claims a 120% increase in tortional rigidity (a piece of technobabble that basically means the car doesn't suffer from the problem of body flex, which historically afflicts cars that have had a tin-opener taken to the roof). The TT Roadster feels as secure and capable as its Coupe sibling, and the chassis's impressive for a car not previously renowned for dynamic ability. Even on sodden roads it never felt anything other than settled, although the 2.0-litre's front-wheel drive set-up meant the traction control warning light was kept busy. The 3.2 gets four-wheel drive, but the system's extra weight counteracts some of the model's extra horsepower, meaning there's not a massive performance difference between the two.

Only about 30% of Roadsters will be bought with business money, according to Audi, a similar figure to the previous generation. But this time around, they're getting a significantly better car.