Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Let’s see now, where was I before I became engrossed in spring football?
Oh, yes. I was going to write about the Audi TT Roadster, which I recently had the opportunity to drive for a week.
A few years ago I recall reading a piece by a reviewer who questioned the TT’s credentials as a sports car. If memory serves, his point was that though it looked the part, the TT really didn’t act it. Too refined for his taste, I guess. If a sports car must be hard to start at times, balk at cold weather, and require the moves of a contortionist to get in and out of, then, no,  guess the TT doesn’t qualify.
Other than that, I would think the 2011 model I drove would fit the standard quite well.
The TT -- also available as a coupe that got a really stylish exterior upgrade a few years ago -- offers a lot more in performance and handling than the original that was introduced a decade or so back.
Its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumps out 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque to all four its wheels via a six-speed, double-clutch gearbox you can shift via paddle shifters or operate simply as an automatic transmission.
The standard all-wheel drive provides sure-footed handling in tight turns and is welcome when road conditions are not exactly perfect, such as in snow in northern climes or heavy rains in our South Florida climate.
The ride is smooth, some might say too comfortable for a sports car, but you can adjust the suspension with the push of a button to tighten it up for cornering without losing much in the way of comfort.
It is compact inside, but comfortable, and the flat-bottom steering wheel makes it easier for the driver to slide in and out of his seat. As is expected with Audi, interior features are of the highest quality.
Controls aren’t all that far off the chart when it comes to putting the navigation, audio, and climate systems through their paces, but maybe I’m just getting used to Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface) system.
Audi has ignored the trend to retractable hard tops for the TT, which means with the soft top there is a bit more wind noise when driving with the top up, but it isn’t all that overpowering. Raising and lowering the top is a one-button operation.
All in all, the Audi TT is a solid enough choice when it comes to fun-to-drive-and-own roadsters, but one thing does hold it back: its competition. The Nissan 370Z, for example, offers as much in classic sports car panache and is available (in some trim levels) at a couple of thousand under the TT’s $41,300 base price. You can also get a standard manual transmission with the Z, something not available in the TT.


  1. Settling for an Audi TT is a nearly impossible dream. If I could drive this machine, I would not complain about its unqualified features as a sports car. I’m the type of person who loves his exterior as much as he loves his interior, so the Audi TT is perfect for me. Out of all the supercars out there, Audis have the reputation of having mind-blowing interiors, and this model is proof enough.

    Kerstin Shed

  2. You’re such a lucky man to drive this Audi TT Roadster for a week, Paul! Others may consider the time very short, but, still, like you, other people would truly be glad to just to be given this kind opportunity because it's a sort of a once in a lifetime experience for every car enthusiast.

    Kyle Schmidt