Audi TT Roadster revealed
Sheer sportiness, a genuine driving experience plus high power reserves – cue the new TT Roadster from Audi. The open-top sports car retains the distinctive lines of its tremendously successful predecessor, but instils them with even greater emotion, performance and dynamism. Audi offers a choice of two engines for its new TT Roadster. The 3.2-liter V6 power unit generates 250 hp and is coupled to the quattro drive system as standard. The 2.0 TFSI engine, which blends turbocharging with gasoline direct injection technology, delivers 200 hp to the front wheels. Both model variants can be ordered with the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual shift.
The chassis of the new Roadster is also built for impressive sporty performance. Its highlight is Audi magnetic ride, the optional suspension damping technology that allows drivers to choose between an uncompromisingly dynamic ride or more comfort-orientated characteristics.
To mirror the puristic character of open-top motoring, the boldly styled body is crowned by a lightweight cloth hood. The TT Roadster 3.2 quattro comes as standard with a quick-action, fully automatic softtop which is available as an option for the 2.0 TFSI.
The exterior design
With its rigorous geometry and clarity, the design of the first TT Roadster elevated it to the status of a cult classic. Audi has preserved the charismatic design idiom and carefully honed it for the new model.
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Whereas the tail end and the roof section seem to flow into one another at the rear of the TT Coupé, the soft top of the TT Roadster forms a clear contrast that gives the overall design a more geometric look. The body's lines brim with power and forward thrust. This impression is underscored by the athletic curves of the vehicle's flanks just as much as by the rising dynamic line above the sill area and the taut, muscular shoulder line. The eye-catching fuel filler cap positioned above the rear right wheel sports a classic aluminum design.
The face of the new Audi TT Roadster has an expressive feel. Wing-shaped plastic elements are embedded into the slanted, sharply tapered headlights to emphasize the three-dimensional depth of the lamp units. At the rear of the car, it is the large tailpipes and the wide diffuser which stand out. The tube-shaped reflectors seem to hover inside the tail light units. As on the Coupé, an electrically powered spoiler rises up out of the boot lid when the speed reaches 75 mph.
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Compared to the model it replaces the new TT Roadster has undergone a growth spurt, with the new proportions accentuating its sporty nature. Length is now 164.5 inches (+ 5.4 in), width 72.5 in. (+ 3.1) and height 53.5 in. (+ 0.3 in), while the wheelbase has been extended by 1.8 to 97.1 in. Despite the extra size, however, the drag coefficient of the 2.0 TFSI is just 0.32 with the soft top up.
The soft top
Audi made a conscious decision to keep the cloth hood for the new TT Roadster. The soft top concept fits in perfectly with the philosophy of puristic open-top motoring and also offers a number of benefits over a folding steel hard top.
The cloth hood, incorporating reinforcements made from steel and aluminum as well as a large glass rear window, has a very lightweight construction – not only does this reduce the overall weight of the TT Roadster, it lowers its center of gravity too. It sleekly blends in with the car's lines and takes up only a small amount of space when folded down. Thanks to the new Z-fold, the front section of the roof lies on top of the cloth like a cover. It locks into place to lie flush with the body, dispensing with the need for a tonneau cover. The soft top is available in the colors black and dark grey.
The TT Roadster 3.2 quattro comes as standard with an electrohydraulically powered soft top, which is available for the 2.0 TFSI as an option. This version of the soft top opens in just 12 seconds at the push of a button, and can even be operated on the move at speeds of up to 30 mph. The fully automatic hood incorporates an additional layer of soundproofing beneath the black headliner for even better acoustic and thermal insulation.
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The manually operated roof is operated by means of a central catch. A mesh wind deflector that extends and retracts electrically can be ordered as an option to smooth the air stream in the interior – none of the competitor models are able to offer such a convenient solution.
The body and safety
Like the TT Coupé, the body of the TT Roadster is also built on the principles of Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology, featuring a pioneering hybrid construction that showcases the brand's tremendous expertise in lightweight design. The body is made from 58 percent aluminum and 42 percent steel. This material mix makes the Roadster extremely light, with the 2.0 TFSI tipping the scales at just 2,894 lbs. when unladen.
To ensure that the load is distributed evenly between the axles, the steel components are located principally at the rear of the body – the bulkhead behind the passenger compartment, for example, is made from steel. This particular component, which anchors the high-strength roll-over bars with their elegant plastic covering, has a fundamental role to play in the body's overall rigidity.
The side sills are also specific to the Roadster: they consist of extruded aluminum sections containing numerous reinforcing ribs. The A-pillars have been strengthened too and a high-strength steel tube integrated into the frame of the windscreen. Already impressive in the outgoing TT Roadster, static torsional strength has been more than doubled in the new model – this translates into outstanding comfort and precision handling.
A full ensemble of restraint systems promise the greatest possible passive safety. In the event of an impact from the side, aluminum beams and padding in the doors are called into action along with the head and thorax side airbags. Two-stage full-size airbags and the Audi backguard system are on hand to limit the consequences of a collision from the front and rear respectively.
The interior of the TT Roadster is noticeably larger too, offering extra headroom and elbow room. The width at shoulder height is now 53.6 in, an increase of 1.1 in.
Deep-set sports seats provide firm lateral support for both the driver and passenger. The standard-specification leather sports steering wheel features a flat-bottomed rim. The optional Impulse leather trim with its distinctive topstitching already attained cult status when it was offered for the outgoing model; it is one of four different leather trim packages. The 3.2 quattro is upholstered in a combined Alcantara/Leather trim as standard.
The three circular air outlets and the dome shrouding the instrument cluster dials inject the cockpit with characteristic TT flair. As is to be expected of an Audi, the ergonomic concept is perfect and the workmanship of the very finest standard. The increase in the body's dimensions has also benefited luggage space, which has expanded from 210 to 250 litres in both the front-wheel-drive and the quattro variant.
The drive train
Like the TT Coupé, the new Roadster is available with a choice of two transverse-mounted engines. Both generate high pulling power and impressive peak output, resulting in out-and-out sporty performance. The four-cylinder engine directs its power to the front wheels, while the V6 powers all four wheels based on the quattro principle offering dynamism and sure roadholding in equal measure. Apart from a sporty six-speed manual shift, both engines are also available in conjunction with the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox for lightning-fast gear changes without any interruption in the power flow.
The four-cylinder unit bearing the initials TFSI musters up 200 hp and a constant 207 ft.-lbs. of torque between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm from its capacity of 1,984 cc. The TFSI technology combines a turbocharger to optimum effect with Audi's own gasoline direct injection, which produces a distinct improvement in combustion efficiency.
In both 2005 and 2006, the responsive and extremely refined two-liter turbocharged FSI unit was voted "Engine of the Year" by an international jury of experts.
When fitted with the S tronic shift, the Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI accelerates from standstill to 62 mph in just 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 146 mph. It burns an average of just 7.8 litres of fuel for every 100 km.
The V6 unit with its capacity of 3,189 cc delivers 250 hp and a peak torque of 236 ft.-lbs. which is on tap between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm. The sonorous, ultra-compact long-stroke engine features two continuously adjustable camshafts. The TT Roadster 3.2 quattro sprints from 0 – 62 mph in 5.9 seconds with the S tronic gearbox and can, if necessary, go on to reach a governed top speed of 155 mph. It returns average fuel consumption figures of 9.5 l/100 km.
The sporty chassis has undergone complete redevelopment for the new TT Roadster. Its chief features are the complex four-link rear suspension, wide track widths, elastokinematics that have been heavily reworked, plus large wheels. The 2.0 TFSI rides on 16-inch and the 3.2 quattro on 17-inch alloy wheels. The wheels may be specified with run-flat capabilities as an option.
The front wheel suspension, which is linked to a separate subframe, has a McPherson construction that has been refined by the use of lightweight aluminum components. The electromechanical power-assisted steering combines a direct ratio with sensitive precision.
The construction of the four-link rear suspension, which also operates using a subframe, separates the coil springs and the shock absorbers from one another. The longitudinal links – which have a relatively soft set-up for enhanced ride comfort – absorb the propulsive and braking forces, while the rigid connection of the three transverse links for each wheel allows them to direct the lateral forces into the bodyshell with great precision.
The redeveloped electronic stabilization program (ESP) has been optimized for a sporty driving style and to help produce the steering balance of the TT Roadster, which varies between neutral and slight understeer. If necessary, the brake assist system takes action to ensure that the four large disc brakes build up maximum braking power as fast as possible.
The optional Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system is a high-tech feature that is unique in the roadster segment. At the push of a button, drivers can choose between either an extra-comfortable or a decidedly dynamic suspension set-up. Circulating inside the shock absorber struts is a special fluid containing minute magnetic particles. Applying a voltage to this fluid alters its viscosity – and therefore the damping characteristics – within milliseconds.
All variants of the new Audi TT Roadster come generously equipped as standard, with the specification including the new "chorus" audio system and a driver information system, and in the 3.2 quattro, automatic air conditioning. There is a choice of two optional navigation systems, both DVD-based and featuring the exemplary MMI operating logic. Universal mobile phone preparation and the resonant Bose surround-sound system are also available.
An extra touch of class can be added to the interior's sophisticated and sporty ambience by opting for either of the two aluminum styling packages. The standard storage facilities, featuring deep compartments in the doors and two cup holders, can be supplemented with the storage package, comprising three storage nets and four extra, practical compartments. Customers who lead a sporty, active lifestyle are also able to opt for a load-through facility in the rear panel, including a ski bag which is large enough to accommodate two pairs of skis up to 1.90 m in length – something which no other model in the roadster segment is able to offer.
Xenon plus headlights with the adaptive light cornering function can also be found on the extensive list of equipment options. They are fitted in conjunction with a headlight styling package that Audi includes as standard on the 3.2 quattro.