Review : One Week With An Audi TT Roadster

Rather than trying to be a car journalist, I thought I’d just do a little post about my first week with an Audi TT Roadster.  The model in question is an 2.0l TFSI Quattro.

My only prior experience in a two seater car was in my Dad’s MGF.  I would describe the MG as a small two seater, whereas the TT feels remarkably normal car size.  Having part of the engine behind you in the MG added to that feeling, but with the TT being a front engined car, the only thing that makes the space feel a little tighter is the cockpit layout, with everything pointed at the driver.  No longer can your passenger change the songs!

The specification I’m driving is pretty complete; I think it’s only lacking sat nav and cruise control.  It also has an s-Tronic automatic gear box with a number of modes.  I’ve driven in dynamic where the reactions are a bit faster than and it revs a lot higher than it does in the Economy mode that I’ve been doing (most) of my commute in.

The downside of Economy is that it uses 4th gear to around 31mph and 5th hear to around 41, and back again.  If it would give me the higher gear 1 or 2mph earlier on the way up it would be more economical to drive in those speed limits, especially when you’re following traffic.  It kinda makes up for this by taking the car out of gear when you get off the accelerator.  As a driver, this can make you concentrate on lifting and coasting which means that you are probably driving more efficiently as well as the engine doing its best too.

To be fair, that level of planning ahead is one of the few things you need to do as a driver if you fancy the easy life.  The headlights manage themselves to the extent that it’ll even turn off full beam themselves when they see another car or notice that you’ve entered a well lit area.  The windscreen wipers also manage themselves.  Picking music on your phone is done by voice control.

The other things you have to do are the obvious – point it where you want it to go and push the pedals.  This is where the fun happens.  Pull back the gear stick and the car enters Sport mode.  The revs increase and that car that was behind you looking to overtake as you enter a national speed limit area is a spec in your rear view mirror with a flashing indicator still on.

I remember being in a friend’s Honda Civic Type R a few years ago.  It would cling to the road to an extent that meant that you didn’t feel like you were going round a corner stupidly quick.  The Quattro system on the TT does the same.  On the test drive, I tried to make it wheel spin and tried to make it slide a little (only when it was safe, obviously) but Quattro simply says, “Yes, thanks, I’ll have a piece of that” and takes you where want to be.

Again, this makes the car perhaps too easy to drive.  I noticed it when I got my last car – when you know that it’s got the potential under the bonnet, the bog standard driving can be done completely calm.  There’s no rush.  But when you want to rush, that’s when the TT makes you smile.  Car’s like this aren’t built for commutes; they’re built for fun roads with corners and gear changes and heavy use of the pedals.

When the exhaust pops and the revs hit red and the smile arrives on your face, that simple stuff becomes a blessing rather than a bore.

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