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Driven: Audi TT Roadster 45 TFSI. Image by Audi UK.

Driven: Audi TT Roadster 45 TFSI
We did 700 miles in the updated TT Roadster and really enjoyed it… and then Bram Schot called time on the model. Boooooo!


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Audi TT Roadster 45 TFSI

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Good points: the TT gets an unfair rap from petrolheads but 245hp model drives sweetly, sounds good, looks great, has a quality interior... there's a lot to like

Not so good: it's maybe not the most involving car in the world, Roadster sacrifices 2+2 layout, expensive as tested, TT's time on this Earth is limited

Key Facts

Model tested: Audi TT Roadster 45 TFSI quattro S line S tronic
Price: TT Roadster range from £33,915; 45 TFSI quattro S line S tronic from £40,355, car as tested £47,460
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic, quattro all-wheel drive
Body style: two-door roadster
CO2 emissions: 165g/km (VED Band 151-170: £530 in year one, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 39.2mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.5 seconds
Power: 245hp at 5,000-6,700rpm
Torque: 370Nm at 1,600-4,300rpm
Boot space: 280 litres

Our view:

May 23, 2019: everyone remembers where they were that day, the day that Bram Schot, the new CEO of German car giant Audi, confirmed that this generation of TT sports car would be the last as we knew it. The inexorable rise of crossovers and SUVs has seen the TT's once-remarkable sales figures dwindling over the years, until the point it has become a niche-interest model in Audi's bulging product portfolio. So Schot had the unenviable task of being the bearer of the inevitable bad news, a decision driven by cold, hard economics - that if the TT nameplate were to continue beyond the Mk3, it would be on something other than a 2+2 premium sports coupe or two-seater roadster. Probably a pseudo-SUV of some sort, maybe electrified. Thus bringing to an end a 21-year epoch in which the swoopy TT has been a comforting, ever-present fixture of our roads network.

So where were we on May 23, 2019? Er... er... not sure, actually. Probably at home, washing the pots or something, because - as our memory fails us as we enter into our dotage - a cursory survey of our diary suggests we weren't anywhere else of note. Truth is, only two days previous we'd handed back a Turbo Blue Audi TT Roadster 45 TFSI quattro S line S tronic (phew!) after a week of road-testing and we're mildly annoyed, looking back now, that Schot's timing wasn't a bit better, so we could have said a proper goodbye to the TT while we still had it. But we digress. For reasons of outrageous diva-ishness.

Should we really be lamenting the TT's passing, however? It's not as if it has had the most enviable reputation in the motoring world over the years. It has always looked superb, that incredibly familiar, three-bubble shape being credited to (variously) J Mays, Freeman Thomas, Walter de'Silva and Peter Schreyer, but its slightly inert, Volkswagen Golf-derived chassis has always held it back from critical acclaim. Audi, though, has been tweaking and tightening the TT throughout all three generations, to the point that - by the time of the 2018 facelift of the current Mk3 - the MQB underpinnings have become pretty sharp.

We could go into great length about the mild facelift, which brought in a 3D-effect Singleframe grille, different front air intakes, some new body colours (Turbo Blue being one of them) and OLED rear lights, as well as that utterly incomprehensible Audi boot badging which means that this 245hp 2.0-litre model has to be known as the 45 TFSI. We could point out that, with options, our 2.0-litre Golf in a ludicrously fancy frock had an on-the-road price of £47,460, which is patently too much money. We could point out that the Roadster is going to be subject to all the usual 'hairdresser' comments that these sorts of cars are, from people who haven't really got the first clue about cars.

Or we could point out that we did 700 miles in the TT Roadster 45 TFSI (grrrr...) and loved every single one of them. Loved the way its chassis feels sprightly and eager, without the car ever coming across as nervous or skittish. Loved the steering, which is one of Audi's better efforts with nice, natural weighting and good progression off-centre. Loved the way the interior felt like something from a vehicle far grander than a TT, with its beautiful Virtual Cockpit, cleverly integrated heater controls in the air vents and general air of Teutonic solidity. Loved the way it was just as good at relentless motorway miles as it was blasting about on B-roads, the Roadster twice having to endure the 300-mile return trip to Heathrow (up and down the monotony of the southern portions of the M1), yet riding it out wonderfully well - so well and comfortable, in fact, that much of these motorway miles were done hood down - and giving back a best of 38.3mpg on one of those four legs, with an overall average of 34.1mpg not to be sniffed at from such a fast, everyday car. Loved the fact that it still looks smart and fresh and desirable, especially in its Turbo Blue warpaint and sitting on a set of £795 TT RS Design alloys; it is splendid to behold hood up or down, which is not something that can be said of all its rivals, let us tell you.

It's not perfect, of course. Like any TT before it, the chassis remains too strait-laced at the absolute limit, so you'll get more outright thrills from certain other vehicles in this sector than you would from a TT 45 TFSI quattro. The Roadster has to lose the vestigial rear seats of the Coupe in order to house its fast-folding hood, so it's slightly less practical than its tin-topped brethren. And we still can't get over a nigh-on 50-grand Audi TT that isn't the S or RS derivative.

However, while we'd never have had the TT at the top of our dream-car shopping list in the event of those lottery numbers landing, we're not ashamed to admit we'll be very sad to see it go. Say what you like about its particular offering of safe performance in a striking shell, all designed for mass consumption, but the TT was - and is - an incredibly important car in the automotive world. So to think that it is being killed off in favour of SUVs and the like is most galling indeed, but - as the car-buying populace - we've only got ourselves to blame for the demise of this distinctive Audi. Which has never been more likeable than it is now, in its facelifted Mk3 body. Go and buy one, then. While you still can.


BMW Z4: like Audi, BMW (oddly, given its dynamic reputation) has always struggled to get its roadster to drive well. The third-gen Z4 is much better for handling, but just take a look at it... ugh.

Mazda MX-5: yes, it's massively cheaper than the Audi and less powerful too, and while the Mazda's interior is nice, it's not as plush as the TT's. But you'll have more fun driving a 184hp MX-5 than a 245hp TT Roadster, plain and simple.

Porsche 718 Boxster: king of the two-seat roadsters at this sort of price point when it comes to handling and engagement, although many criticise the 718 for its four-pot engine noise. Chassis is sublime, though.

Matt Robinson - 19 May 2019    - Audi road tests
- Audi news
- TT images

2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.

2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi TT 245 Roadster S line. Image by Audi UK.


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