You’re looking at the first official pictures of the 2015 Audi TT Roadster ahead of its debut at the Paris motor show and only weeks after Wheels first drove of the all-new Audi TT Coupe.
Like the fixed-roof version, the third-generation TT Roadster joins a small niche of two-seater soft-tops as varied as the new Mazda MX-5, Peugeot RCZ, Porsche Boxster and even the Jaguar F-Type Convertible. Built in the VW Group’s do-it-all MQB platform that underpins everything from Golf to Skoda Octavia, the aluminium-intensive TT Roadster makes the biggest fashion statement of a car that’s built its reputation on design rather the outright driving experience. Still the more potent TTS will whip from 0-100km/h in a scant 4.9sec.
The fashion is taken care of with TT head designer Dany Garand’s sharp, crisp lines that are a huge departure from the curves of the original TT. Yet it transfers to the convertible much more convincingly than the coupe, headed by the the Audi signature single-frame grille and those evil-eyebrow LED headlights.
Its profile is stull unmistakably TT, yet it’s shorter (21mm), 10mm narrower and there’s more room inside, thanks to the 37mm longer wheelbase. At the rear, along with LED tail-lights, there’s an active spoiler that activates at an illegal-in-Oz 120km/h to keep the TT’s curvaceous rump on the ground, something your local highway patrol may be briefed on…
With the fabric roof up, the TT Roadster has a commendable Cd of 0.30, but if you’re travelling at 50km/h or less, you can have it perform its Z-shape fold in ten seconds. The entire roof mechanism weighs 39kg, three kegs less than before, with Audi engineers focused on reducing its weight for the car’s centre of gravity and handling balance.
Its clever packaging means that it does not intrude on the 280-litre boot space, which is 25-litres less than the coupe’s boot. Second steel reinforcements in the aluminium A-pillars as well as changes to the rear box section for the rollover protection system see the Roadster weight more than the Coupe, but the entry-level car’s 1320kg is only 90kg more than the equivalent hard-top’s mass.
Inside, there’s the new ‘Audi Virtual Cockpit’, a stunning instrument display that sees the entire cluster used as a 12.3-inch TFT screen to show sat-nav, infotainment and for the more potent TTS Roadster, a third sports display.
The TT Roadster will be powered by the coupe’s 169kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, with the 228kW version reserved for the TTS. The base car can be optioned with quattro all-wheel drive, which is standard on the TTS. There’s also a 135kW 2.0-litre diesel unit on offer, while transmissions are six-speed manual or S tronic six-speed dual-clutcher. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will arrive in the yet-to-be-announced TT RS flagship.
The weight saving and more efficient engines see fuel economy improve to 4.3L/100km for the diesel, with a 6.0L/100km claim for the entry-level 2.0 TFSI.
In the Coupe, the manual and S tonic transmissions will be priced identically in the $77k (estimated) base car when it arrives in February, with the Roadster expected to cost around $81k when it arrives in mid-2015.
The Audi TT Roadster goes on sale in Australia in late 2015.
Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.