New models - Audi - TT - Roadster range
Driven: Audi TT Roadster open for business
Convertible TT Roadster bolsters Audi image-boosting halo range
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10 Jul 2015
AUDI has added a look-at-me drop-top Roadster option to its third-generation TT sportscar range, priced from $81,500 before on-road costs, but the German car-maker says it does not expect the convertible to be a big seller.
Instead, the TT Roadster will further elevate the brand's “sports and performance credentials” alongside other low-volume sellers in the four-ring fleet such as the R8 supercar.
Offering a folding fabric roof and wind in the hair, Audi says the new Roadster will appeal to its “aspirational customers” who put a premium on design and style, and whom are willing to stump up the extra $3550 over the Coupe equivalent.
Speaking at the launch of the new TT Roadster this week, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said the open-air version would join Audi’s increasingly popular convertible range as a significant ambassador for the brand.
“While the TT Roadster isn't expected to deliver massive sales volumes, it is important to be able to offer our customers such a distinctive drop-top sportscar in this section of the market,” he said. “It certainly adds to the desirability of our brand.
“Taking a look at sales of our other junior convertible – the A3 Cabriolet – it's clear to see how popular these brands can be. So far we have sold more A3 Cabriolets since it launched in July, than in any 12-month period prior.
“This warm reception of the new model highlights the attraction of top-down motoring for Australian consumers.”
Mr Doyle's predictions for the Roadster were repeated by Audi Australia's product planning manager Peter Strudwicke.
“It's not really here for volume but we will do a reasonable amount – maybe 100 to 120 in a year or maybe a bit more, actually,” Mr Strudwicke told GoAuto.
“The TT Coupe has been doing a bit better than expected, so if we translate that to the Roadster then it will probably do a bit better as well.
“It's really important in all sorts of different segments. The ultimate halo model for us is the R8, for the brand as well as sportscars. It reinforces our sports and performance credentials.
“It's halo but it is also meeting the needs of all our customers and our customers can have very diverse needs, so we have something that meets most of those requirements.”
Like the Coupe variants, the Roadster is offered in two specification levels, starting with the base Sport priced from $81,500 and the more richly equipped S line at $89,000.
The open-top version of the new TT shares the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine of the Coupe, but is only available with the six-speed S-Tronic six-speed transmission coupled with the company's quattro four-wheel drive system of the range-topping Coupe. For now, front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox are confined to the entry-level coupe.
Despite a 90kg weight penalty over the fixed-roof Coupe, the Roadster takes just 0.2 seconds longer to hit 100km/h from standstill, doing the dash in 5.6 seconds, thanks to 169kW of power and 370Nm of torque.
Fuel consumption goes up by 0.3 litres per 100km, to 6.7-litres per 100km. CO2 emissions stand at 154 grams per kilometre.
Audi has extensively reinforced the Roadster's body to maintain the stiffness and driving experience of the Coupe, while offering the enjoyment of topless driving. Hot-shaped, high-strength steel has been added internally to the sills, A-pillars and rear chassis architecture, as well as extra underbody stiffening braces.
The Roadster's folding fabric roof weighs 39kg, reduces the boot space to 280-litres and takes just 10 seconds to stow while driving at up to 50km/h.
The German car-maker claims to have preserved the same driving dynamics of the Coupe, thanks to the latest iteration of the quattro system that can, under certain circumstances, send 100 per cent of torque to either the front or rear axles.
Audi's Drive Select system allows the driver to sharpen the steering, transmission and accelerator response.
In the most driver-focused mode, the bi-modal exhaust is at its most vocal, while a “sound actuator” boosts the noise heard in the cabin.
A comfort setting provides the most relaxing drive for occupants, while the efficient mode incorporates early upshifts from the transmission and a coast function that disengages the engine on overrun.
If the magnetic ride suspension is optioned, ride stiffness and body roll also adapts according to the setting.
To broaden the Roadster's year-round usability, heated seats are included as standard on both variants, as is a rear electric wind diffuser to cut cabin turbulence when the roof is open.
As an $800 option, Audi will also add neck-level heating that blows warmed air on the necks of occupants at three levels of intensity.
The Roadster's standard leather seats are specially treated to reflect heat, increasing their durability and comfort on days with strong sun.
Another Roadster-specific touch are the microphones embedded into the driver's seatbelt, allowing handsfree connection of a phone without the intrusion of wind-noise if the roof is open.
Complementing the Roadster-specific equipment are all of the features found in the equivalent Coupe versions, including the large “virtual cockpit” display that moves all information from a central MMI dash screen, as found in other Audi models, to the instrument cluster.
The system can display a variety of information depending on the driver's requirements. Small gauges can be imposed over a large navigation map, or the driver can select vehicle settings, entertainment options or large dominating gauges for when driving enjoyment is the focus.
The 12.3-inch screen is powered by a high-speed Nvidia chip that refreshes at the rate of 60 frames per second, while glowing with a brightness of up to 800 cendelas for reading on even the sunniest days.
Functions are accessible through the flat-bottomed multi-function sports steering wheel, centrally-mounted MMI dial or through a voice control system that recognises everyday language and sentences.
Cabin climate controls – including heated seats and neck-level heating – are incorporated in the heater vents to retain a minimalistic dash appearance.
The 18-inch wheels are standard on the Sport, with rim size increasing to 19-inches for the S line, but a variety of wheel designs of up to 20-inches are available optionally.
The top-spec S line has LED headlights, while LED tail lights have a trick “dynamic feature” that tracks amber lights from inside to out when indicating.
An S line sport package adds a range of exterior features to the top-of-the-range variant including different front and rear bumpers, side sills, rear diffuser, S line steering wheel with perforated leather with a matching gear knob and contrasting stitching throughout the interior.
Sport seats are leather in all versions, but the S line gets higher-spec versions with pneumatic adjustment.
A range of options include a $2200 assistance pack that adds lane departure warning, assistance parking assistance, automatic main beam headlights, heated and folding side mirrors that auto-dim and dip for kerb-side parking.
Metallic paint adds $1400, a Bang and Olufsen sound system costs between $1200 and $1750 depending on the variant, while interiors can be tailored with a number of aesthetic options.
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