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First drive: Style and substance in new TT Roadster

Bauhaus: TT Roadster MkII combines original's character with modern flair.

The new TT Roadster is lighter, stronger, more dynamic - and offers a V6

25 Jun 2007

FOLLOWING the introduction of the new second-generation TT Coupe last year, Audi Australia last week released the soft-top version, the TT Roadster.

This new TT convertible is lighter and more powerful than the model it replaces and, for the first time, offers the option of a six-cylinder powerplant and a sophisticated suspension damping system.

The first-generation TT Roadster sold 606 units between 2001 and 2006, with an entry-level front-wheel drive 140kW 1.8-litre turbo four-cylinder and a quattro 164kW turbo four.

The new model arrives in front-wheel drive, 2.0 TFSI for $77,500 or 3.2-litre V6 quattro for $92,900. These represent $5000 and $4000 premiums respectively over equivalent TT Coupe models.

Audi believes it will find more than 150 buyers per year willing to sign up for the new TT Roadster, with 70 percent favouring the 2.0 TFSI and the balance choosing the 3.2 V6.

Both the 2.0 TFSI, a turbocharged and intercooled 147kW/280Nm inline four-cylinder, and the 3.2 V6, a 184kW/320Nm 15-degree V6, use Audi’s S-tronic paddle-shift six-speed dual clutch automatic.

The TFSI drives the front wheels only and the 3.2 V6 has the quattro on-demand four-wheel drive system. Manual transmission versions for both TFSI and V6, available overseas, were not considered for Australia due to a lack of local demand.

Audi claims the 2.0 TFSI will accelerate to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 237km/h. The 3.2 V6 is quoted at 5.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint and is electronically limited to 250km/h.

7 center imageFuel consumption is claimed at 7.8L/100km for the 2.0 TFSI and 9.5L/100km for the 3.2 V6.

The new TT Roadster has a far stiffer structure than before, up 120 per cent over its predecessor, according to Audi. The Roadster’s body comprises 58 per cent aluminium and 42 per cent steel, with the use of aluminium predominantly at the front of the car for improved front/rear balance.

Audi claims that the bare Roadster shell weighs just 251kg, and that if it were built entirely of steel it would be 45 percent heavier. Unladen weight of the 2.0 TFSI is 1315kg and the 3.2 V6 is 1490kg.

The TT Roadster’s body is built and painted at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant in Germany and then shipped to the Gyor plant in Hungary for final assembly.

The new TT Roadster is 137mm longer, 78mm wider and 8mm taller than before, with a 46mm addition to the wheelbase.

The interior offers 29mm more shoulder room than before, and at 250 litres there is up to 70 litres more boot space in the new TT Roadster. The previous model had 220 litres of boot capacity with the roof up, but, when folded, the roof encroached on the boot cavity, reducing luggage capacity to 180 litres.

The TT Roadster’s standard electro-hydraulic soft-top takes 12 seconds to open or close and can be operated at speeds of up to 30km/h.

Aerodynamics of the TFSI with the roof up is 0.32Cd, improved from a 0.34Cd figure for the previous model. Audi claims that thanks to undercarriage and other improvements, frontal lift is reduced by 50 per cent at the front and 40 percent at the rear.

Like its Coupe sibling, the TT Roadster features an automatically extending rear spoiler, which raises at 120km/h and retracts again at 80km/h.

The standard features list for the new Roadster is extensive: front and side airbags, ABS brakes, ESP traction and stability control, EDL, EBD and BA, anti-theft alarm, microdot security marking, auto-dimming rear vision mirror, cruise control, climate control, electric heated seats and flat-bottom sports steering wheel. The 2.0 TFSI has Valetta leather seats while the 3.2 V6 has Fine Nappa leather. The 2.0 TFSI runs on 17-inch alloy wheels while the 3.2 V6 has 18-inch alloys.

Audi offers its Audi Magnetic Ride for the first time as a $3000 option on both the 2.0 TFSI and 3.2 V6. This system employs an electrical current to thicken a special shock-absorber oil that is mixed with metal filings.

When the electric current is activated by the driver via a console button, the oil thickens and slows through the damper to stiffen the shock absorbers and improve handling.

Other options include Impluse leather in Chennai brown ($4000), a Bose 12-speaker 255-Watt surround-sound system ($1300), and satellite-navigation ($4200).

2007 Audi TT Roadster pricing:
2.0 TFSI (a) $77,500
3.2 V6 quattro (a) $92,900

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