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Audi TT Roadster Test Drive Review

Date: 06 February 2015   |   Author: John Mahoney

Category: Sports
P11D price: £31,900
Key rival: Mercedes-Benz SLK
On sale: March 2015
Equipment: 4 airbags, Bluetooth, 18in alloys, satnav, leather seats, xenon headlamps
Engines:Petrols: 230hp & 310hp 2.0-litre Diesel: 184hp 2.0-litre
Trims: Sport, S-line
Transmissions: 6-sp manual, 6-sp dual-clutch auto

For two generations the Audi TT Roadster has been an important tool to help management keep its most-valued employees.

Now it's time for a third-generation convertible to play the staff-retention role, and it gets off to a good start by looking like a shrunken R8 supercar. Shunning a folding hardtop roof for a lightweight fabric one, the TT's roof now folds in just 10 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph.

Built on the same platform as the latest Golf, the new car loses its old, exotic, part-aluminium structure, but Audi has reined in any weight increases by making the TT shorter, narrower and lower. Under the bonnet there's the choice of a 230hp and a 310hp version - badged TTS - of the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol plus a 184hp 2.0-litre Ultra diesel.

Inside, like the coupe, the vehicle offers the best interior in its class with a novel and slick, full 12.3-inch wraparound 'virtual' dash that sits directly in front of the driver. There's also innovative air vents that neatly incorporate their digital controls.

Whatever the model, it feels like a special, well-made place to spend time.

There's more good news behind the wheel. Despite having its roof hacked off, the TT Roadster is now among the best in its class to drive, showing little signs of any wobbliness over bumpy roads.

Best of the bunch to drive is, unfortunately, the most expensive TTS. Coming standard with Audi's all-wheel drive 'quattro' hardware, it scorches to 62mph in just 4.9 seconds and feels every bit as quick as that.

It's also the most engaging of its siblings to drive, although its raucous exhaust note can sometimes sound a little too like a diesel at times, and that's at odds with its paltry 40.9mpg average fuel consumption.

The 2.0 TDI, meanwhile, looks tailor-made for business use. It averages almost 66mpg while emitting just 114g/km of CO2. This means it slots into the 18% benefit-in-kind tax band - all this from a car that can still sprint to 62mph in 7.3 seconds and moves on to a top speed of 147mph.

It's a good engine, too, providing effortless pace and a quiet cruise once you've turned off the unnecessary noisy exhaust function.

Against its rivals like the Mercedes SLK and Porsche Boxster, the Audi TT can hold its head high. It might not be quite as involving to drive as the Porsche, but it oozes desirability, is cheap to run, still good to drive and feels special.

Quite frankly, it's the best in its class and should easily help you hold on to your staff for at least another couple more years.

Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TDI Ultra 184 Sport

Model price range                                                       £31,995-£37,555
Residual value                                                                              41.8%
Depreciat­ion                                                                               £18,575
Fuel                                                                                               £4929
Service, maintenance and repair                                                   £2795
Vehicle Excise Duty                                                                           £60
National Insurance                                                                          £2509
Cost per mile                                                                                    62.8p
Fuel consumption                                                                        65.7mpg
CO2 (BIK band)                                                                 114g/km (18%)
BIK 20/40% per month                                                                £96/£191
Warranty                                                                             3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space                                                                                    280 litres
Engine size/power                                                                 1968cc/184hp


Audi creates the ultimate low-CO2 incentive car
  • Great to drive
  • Fast
  • Efficient,
  • Looks great
  • Just two seats
  • Some policies won't allow convertibles