Sure-footed driving manners even in wet conditions
The TT Roadster has been a great success in the UK, despite weather conditions that are often unsuitable for top-down driving. Its popularity has been largely based on its standing as a status symbol; a lifestyle choice with an image that many people engage with. Now, though, Audi says this generation is moving more towards substance than style.
Few TT owners are likely to know that the car was originally penned as a soft-top, or roadster, before being given a coupe roof that aped the silhouette of the convertible. Building the Roadster, though, was the ultimate goal. The first generation was very much better to look at than to drive, but since then the balance has shifted.
Audi now believes that the TT badge has a strong enough following for the designers to consciously move away from the lifestyle buyer and towards the sports car buyer in the knowledge that the car will still fit the lifestyles of the people who previously bought one. It lets the third-generation TT Roadster occupy a uniquely appealing market position.
A new, faster and neater roof is one of its defining features, raising and lowering in 10 seconds at up to 31mph. Its fabric outer surface comes in three colours to complement the array of exterior paint shades, while a three-layer construction is meant to keep exterior noise to a minimum.
Audi wants it to be it will always be at a fundamental disadvantage. The option of slightly rearward-biased quattro four-wheel drive will go some way to offering the balance of a true driver's car, but it is unlikely to ever be considered the driver's choice.
The TT Roadster strikes an exceptionally good balance between sporting intent and style. It looks and acts the part to a degree where all but the most dedicated of driving enthusiasts will be satisfied, making light of its extra weight versus the coupe and bringing priceless benefits on warmer days. The undeniable lifestyle appeal will continue to influence buying decisions, but this time it is backed by more driving enjoyment.