2008 Audi TT Roadster 2.0Posted on April 29th, 2008
T-Tempest in a T-Teapot
By Nina Russin
Who says four cylinder cars have to be boring? The Audi TT roadster 2.0 is anything but. Its four cylinder direct injection engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque. Turbocharging gives the car additional power without reducing fuel economy. Zero-to-sixty time is just over six seconds.
Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The automatic transmission on the test car can change gears in 0.2 seconds. If the driver chooses, he can shift manually using the shift lever or paddles on the back of the steering wheel.
The two liter engine is one of two available blocks. A larger V6 rated at 250 horsepower has a 5.3 second zero-to-sixty time, and comes standard with Audi quattro all-wheel drive.
The two-liter grade is front-wheel drive: it doesn’t have quattro’s sticking power on wet roads. But fuel economy is considerably better: 25 miles-per-gallon, as compared to 20 for the V6. Since both engines require premium fuel, the extra five gallons per mile can have a major impact on the driver’s wallet.
Classic design, inside and out
The second-generation TT roadster is longer, wider and taller than the original model, adding some much-needed interior space. The trunk is slightly larger as well, though still not big enough to hold more than a couple of duffle bags. Though its dimensions have changed, the new TT maintains the compact, classic proportions of the original car. Wide shoulders and 17-inch wheels give the roadster a muscular, cat-like posture.
The grille incorporates Audi’s four-ring logo, flanked by a blacked-out grille and optional adaptive bi-xenon headlamps ($800). The headlamps, which light corners in the road as the driver is turning, make a tremendous difference in visibility on poorly lit roads.
The standard cloth top is well insulated and remarkably soundproof. An optional power mechanism lowers the top in twelve seconds and folds it, flush with the body, in back.
The system, which operates at speeds up to twenty-five miles-per-hour, utilizes a single button on the center console. It is basically idiot-proof. A glass rear window that doesn’t yellow over time makes the top age-proof as well. An optional wind deflector moves air around the passengers for a more pleasant open air experience.
The best car seats ever made
The optional Rawlings leather seats are so exceptional, that it begs the question as to why the company continues to make baseball gloves. Unlike most car seats, the Rawling leather seems to get better with age. Water and dirt enhances its patina. The Rawlings trim is the only leather I don’t stain when I’m streaming with sweat after a long run.
All grades come with Audi’s flat-bottomed steering wheel. In addition to making the driver more aware of steering movements, the flat-bottomed wheel can be positioned lower without impinging on legroom. Redundant audio and cruise controls allow the driver to change programming with a minimum of distraction.
Interior storage space is minimal. Those who want more room on the inside should consider the TT coupe. There are a couple of smallish cupholders on the center console, and there’s a small bin for stashing CDs and the like. The doors have map pockets. There is also a lockable storage compartment between the seatbacks. The cigarette lighter doubles as the car’s only 12-volt outlet.
Nimble in the corners
Audis have a unique feel on the road: engineers make extensive use of aluminum throughout the chassis keeping it light and very rigid. Despite the fact that the TT is a relatively light car with a small footprint, it’s exceptionally stable at speed. An independent front and rear suspension gives the car a buttery smooth ride without compromising steering response.
Engineers balanced the front transaxle with a heavier steel structure in back, to maintain a better front-to-rear balance. The car has very little tendency to push, even when driven aggressively.
The seventeen-inch alloy wheels come standard with summer performance tires, which offer the best traction on dry roads in warm weather. Drivers in northern climates should plan to buy snow tires if they drive the TT in the winter.
A speed-sensitive spoiler automatically deploys at highway speeds to enhance the car’s downforce. Dual exhaust pipes and wide taillamps remind others in the vicinity that the TT is more than a cruiser.
Visibility around the car is moderate with the top in place. As with most roadsters, the rear window is relatively small. The windscreen also restricts visibility to the rear. The side mirrors do a pretty good job of minimizing the blind spots: enough to make the driver comfortable maneuvering through traffic at speed.
All models come standard with front, side and knee airbags. Engineers reinforced the side sills and front pillars of the roadster to make the structure more robust. A high strength steel tube integrated into the windshield and standard roll bars offer additional protection in the event of a rollover. Active safety features include antilock brakes and electronic stability program.
Base price for the two-liter TT is $36,800. A premium package on the test car ($3050) adds a power top, ten-way power heated seats, radio upgrade with CD changer and redundant steering wheel controls. Other options on the test car include the navigation system with iPod interface ($1950), leather trim upgrade ($1250), the Rawlings seats ($1000), Bose premium sound system with Sirius satellite radio ($1000), adaptive headlamps ($800) and Bluetooth phone preparation ($450).
All models come with a four-year warranty with four years of roadside assistance. The TT roadster is currently on display at Audi dealerships nationwide.
Likes: A beautifully designed and engineered two-seat roadster that raises the bar for four-cylinder cars. Rawlings seats on the interior are exceptionally durable, attractive and comfortable. The top is easy to deploy, and doesn’t require the use of a boot.
Dislikes: Because of its limited storage space, the TT roadster isn’t a car for everyone. Those who need a more versatile cargo area should consider the coupe.
Model: TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI S tronic
Base price: $36,800
As tested: $47,075
Horsepower: 200 Hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 207 lbs.-ft. @ 1800 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 6.1 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Not available
First aid kit: Not available
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 22/29 mpg city/highway
Comments: Base price does not include a $775 delivery charge.
Leave a reply