and the result – the all-new TT Roadster – is set to bring its thoroughly contemporary perspective on the time-honoured theme to next month’s Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris.
While on the outside it retains a fast-retracting fabric hood in accordance with roadster tradition and in the interest of weight minimisation, the third generation of the Audi icon embraces the future in all other respects, from its advanced hybrid aluminium and steel construction to its remarkable all-digital virtual cockpit and advanced new chassis with upgraded quattro drive. The new high performance convertible is set to arrive in the UK in good time for spring 2015, and will be available to order from mid-November priced from £31,955 OTR.
The new TT Roadster offers the capabilities of a sports car with the option of added open-top exhilaration, but without the compromises that this blend of attributes often demands. Great importance has been attached to torsional rigidity and ride comfort, and specially developed struts in the underbody and body work in their favour. Aerodynamics have also been prioritised, the new Roadster slipping cleanly and quietly through the air with a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.30.
At 4,177 millimeters in length the two‑seater is 21 millimetres shorter than its predecessor. Its wheelbase, on the other hand, has grown by 37 millimetres to 2,505 millimetres, contributing to shorter overhangs for an even more purposeful stance. With a width of 1,832 millimetres, the new TT Roadster is 10 millimetres narrower than its predecessor, and at a height of 1,355 millimetres it is 3 millimetres lower.
The front of the open‑top sports car conveys power and energy through its accentuated horizontal lines. Similar to the Audi R8, the Singleframe grille is wide and flat, and the four rings are positioned on the bonnet in the style of a high-performance sports car. On the standard version, the air inlets are connected to one another and divided by two vertical slats.
Two vertical lighting elements are also positioned in the headlights and emit the LED daytime running lights. In the UK these are combined with either xenon or LED headlamps depending on version, and in both cases it will be possible to upgrade these to new Matrix LED headlamps which can automatically divert their high beams around oncoming and leading traffic, and also feature dynamic indicators with a sweeping function following the intended turn direction.
The flat and taut top of the new TT Roadster and the TTS Roadster also provides a clear contrast with the body and is defined by the short side window design that is typical of the TT Roadster. When viewed from the side, many of the details invoke the first generation of the design classic. The shoulders have a muscular look and the sill contour forms a strong light-refracting edge. The broad wheel arches form their own geometric entities: The front wheel arch breaks through the bonnet gap that continues as the tornado line all the way to the rear end.
At the rear, horizontal lines again underscore the width of the open‑top sports car. The bars in the standard LED rear lights, which adopt the motif of the headlights, are permanently illuminated. The third brake light – a flat strip on the edge of the luggage compartment lid – connects the light silhouette at the rear. A diffuser incorporates the tailpipes of the exhaust system. At speeds of 74mph and above, a spoiler is electrically extended from the luggage compartment lid to provide additional downforce on the rear axle.
The sleek new body can be painted in a far more distinct and varied range of colours than its predecessor. There are 10 exterior colours, one of which is exclusively reserved for the S line. Five of the colours in the palette are new for the TT, and two of these are completely new for Audi: nano grey and tango red. Panther black, crystal effect and the expressive Sepang blue are also available for the TTS.
Featuring 184PS and 380 Nm (280.3 lb‑ft) of torque, the 2.0 TDI ultra combines great strength with remarkable restraint where economy is concerned – it can return up to 65.7mpg, which equates to CO2 emissions of 114 grams per kilometre – a new benchmark in its segment.
The 2.0 TFSI produces 230PS and 370 Nm (272.9 lb‑ft) of torque in the TT Roadster; in the TTS Roadster, output rises to 310PS and 380 Nm (280.3 lb‑ft). The top model sprints from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds on its way to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph. Switchable flaps in its exhaust system can be controlled via the standard Audi drive select driving dynamics system to underscore the sonorous sound.
In the TT Roadster the high-tech petrol unit is initially combined with either front-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual gearbox or quattro all-wheel-drive and a six-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. The TTS Roadster, with standard quattro drive, also features a manual gearbox or the option of S tronic. The dual-clutch transmission shifts rapidly through the gears without any noticeable break in propulsive power and can be controlled by paddles on the steering wheel if desired. In efficiency mode in the Audi drive select system, the S tronic coasts when the driver takes his or her foot off the throttle pedal.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system has been fully redeveloped. During regular driving, its electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch optimally distributes the drive torque between the front and rear axle depending on driving conditions, road characteristics and driving style.
The new configuration elevates driving enjoyment and safety to a new level through electronic clutch management. More power is routed to the rear axle during more committed driving, literally propelling the new TT Roadster and the TTS Roadster into corners. Safe, controlled drifts are possible on low-friction surfaces.
Two specification levels – Sport and S line – will initially be offered in the UK for the TT Roadster. Both include the Audi virtual cockpit, which is based around a 12.3-inch, high resolution LCD display that completely fills the driver’s instrument binnacle and replaces the traditional analogue dials. Its brilliantly sharp images are courtesy of a powerful Tegra 30 graphics processor from Nvidia’s Tegra 3 series.
Drivers can choose between two display modes: In the classic view, the speedometer and rev counter are in the foreground; in “infotainment” mode the virtual instruments are smaller. The space that becomes free as a result provides ample room for other functions, such as the navigation map. At the lower edge of the Audi virtual cockpit, the displays for outside temperature, time and mileage are permanently visible. Warning or information symbols are also displayed there.
Sport models also come equipped with the Multi Media Interface with the MMI touch pad for fingertip data entry, navigation preparation, Audi Music Interface and Bluetooth connectivity, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system and keyless go. More comfort-oriented standard features include Alcantara and leather combination upholstery for the sports seats and manual air conditioning with controls thoughtfully positioned within the air vents themselves for space efficiency and convenience. Outside the cabin, 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, sports suspension and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights all also feature as standard.
The TT Roadster S line upgrades to larger 19-inch alloy wheels with a five-arm star design, all-weather LED headlights and LED tail lights flanked by dynamic rear indicators with a directional sweeping function and S line body styling. It also offers particularly committed drivers the no cost option to swap to tauter S line sports suspension bringing a further 10mm reduction in ride height.
The interior offers a new palette of colours. There are three to choose from for both the TT and the TTS – black, rock grey and palomino brown. For the first time, customers can choose a second colour – rotor gray with contrasting stitching – in combination with S line specification, which until now has included an exclusively black interior finish. TTS buyers can also choose the sporty leather shade express red.
The cabin of the new TTS includes extended interior elements that add individually selectable colour accents to the trims of the S sport seats, the sides of the centre console and the rings of the air vents. For the TTS specifically, Audi designers have also developed an innovative technical laser texture for the wings of the dashboard. This texture has a honeycomb-like, slightly raised structure that gives it even more sporting appeal.
Numerous customisation options are also available, including upholstery in various grades of cloth, Alcantara and leather and three leather packages. The design selection admiral blue is a particular highlight, making an impression with matching leather colours, alternately contrasting stitching, dark aluminium, a coordinated paint finish and a special mesh floor mat.
From the options list, even more of the remarkable Audi virtual cockpit’s potential can be unlocked by the Technology Package, which includes hard disk-based navigation mapping that can completely fill the 12.3-inch TFT monitor, and also beams the Internet to the car via Audi connect using the latest, high-speed LTE (Long Term Evolution) communication standard.
This brings features such as Google Maps, Google Street View, Audi traffic information online, price-graded refuelling locations in the vicinity and the latest news, flight and train information to streamline every journey. It also adds Audi music stream and access to social media services such as Facebook and Twitter. For sound that is as attention-grabbing as the cabin’s visuals, a 680-watt, twelve-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system can be specified in addition.
The optional driver assistance systems are equally sophisticated. The Audi side assist system ensures safe lane changes with a radar measurement towards the rear, and the Audi active lane assist (standard on 2.0 TFSI engines) keeps the open-top two-seater in its lane with minor steering interventions. The park assist system with display of surroundings automatically pilots the car into and out of parking spaces. Traffic sign recognition is another optional system.