Audi TT Roadster Review 2023

Written by Andrew Brady

8/10
heycar ratingA stylish, well-executed roadster
  • 2015
  • Convertible
  • Petrol, Diesel

Quick overview

Pros

  • Stylish exterior 
  • Fun to drive
  • Good value 

Cons

  • Pricey optional extras
  • No back seats 
  • Some rivals handle better

Overall verdict on the Audi TT Roadster

"For many years the Audi TT has been the go-to performance car for people who don't really like sports cars. It takes the sharp styling coupe buyers love, and mixes it with approachable handling and reasonable running costs. Throw in Audi's customary flair for interior quality and design, and you have the formula for a brilliant roadster."

Audi TT Roadster Review 2023: Exterior Front

Our Audi TT Roadster review looks at the compact two-seater convertible. Its premium image make it a true rival for the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLC, while the sportier versions go toe-to-toe with the likes of Porsche 718 Cayman and Alpine A110. What ever flavour you go for, the TT Roadster is one of the best convertible cars you can pick right now.


Most of the Audi TT line-up is powered by a 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine, which develops between 197 and 306PS depending on spec. A 2.0-litre TDI diesel was also offered for a limited time. A flagship Audi TT RS version features a scorchingly fast 2.5-litre TFSI five-cylinder power unit.


The entry-level model has front-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but the mid-range 2.0 TFSI petrol gives buyers the choice of quattro four-wheel drive. A six-speed manual is standard, with the S tronic automatic and four-wheel drive optional - with both the latter fitted the TT Roadster is a very planted, quick off the line sports car.


High-performance TTS variants are devastatingly quick, but also deceptively easy to drive, with light controls, composed suspension, and a point-and-squirt driving style that lets you pile on speed at an alarming rate. Despite this impressive turn of pace, even this 'cooking' model will return over 35mpg when you're cruising. In fact, remarkably low running costs are a feature of the TT, with the most efficient model capable of 40mpg. It was offered with a 2.0 TDI diesel that could do over 60mpg, and was a great company car.


This rather sensible approach to building an open-top sports car brings a welcome usability along with it. The triple-layer folding fabric roof stows away neatly in just 10 seconds. The cabin is roomy (for a two-seater) and refinement is good, with a tight turning circle and decent visibility. Some buyers though may find the TT Roadster's driving experience a bit too responsible for its own good. It might be an undemanding travelling companion, but it also lacks the playful character of its rear-driven rivals.


Practicality is good for this type of car, with a 280-litre boot that's broad enough to carry the weekly shop, but will struggle with bulkier items due to its shallow height. The new BMW Z4 is a better option for carrying stuff.


The interior does feel special, with excellent build quality, a driver-oriented layout and some very nifty on-board technology. It's just a shame that much of the latter is found on the options list, and not fitted as standard. Where some open-top cars are as raw and thrilling as skydiving from a plane, the TT Roadster feels more like a rollercoaster - still fast and exciting, but also safe and predictable - an undemanding adrenaline rush.


Factor in keen pricing, undemanding driving dynamics and attractive exterior styling, and the TT is a nicely rounded package that will please a lot of buyers. For real thrill seekers, however, there are better choices.


Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Audi Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Audi TT Roadster cars for sale. If you're looking for the coupe version, you need our Audi TT review while the high performance version is covered in our Audi TT RS review.

Looking good is part of the mandate for any convertible worth its salt. The latest Audi TT Roadster isn't a style icon like the original, but it's still a very handsome car that'll add a dash of glamour to your driveway.


It's also one of the more accessible ways to enjoy open-top motoring. Prices for the TT Roadster start below all of its premium rivals, yet it has a broad range of smooth and punchy petrol engines if you do want a sportier drive.


The roadster shares the same high-quality cabin, refined road manners and standard kit list as the coupe. It'll really suit buyers who want a convertible they can use every single day. The fabric roof is well insulated, and folds away so fast that you'll be able to make the most of even the smallest spot of sunny weather.


Keener drivers might prefer a rear-wheel drive alternative, but the TT feels at its best without a roof. It's so compact that it's easy to drive and park, comfortable enough for road trips but fast enough to be good fun.


One of the best things about the Audi TT Roadster is how it delivers essentially the same driving experience, regardless of the engine you pick. The 'entry-level' 40 TFSI is surprisingly quick, feels light on its feet, and corners neatly.


That means you really don't need anything more than the 197PS front-wheel drive car in Sport trim. We like the sharper looks of the S line version, but you'll need to pay extra for sat-nav and climate control in either. 


Upgrading to the 45 TFSI comes with the option of four-wheel drive, giving the TT Roadster even more sure-footed handling - especially in wet weather - and so equipped, it does feel considerably quicker off the mark. This version also comes with a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. For us, the positive shift of the manual adds an extra level of interaction, giving the TT a bit more character.


Still, if you want a high-performance roadster then the TTS is the one to go for. It's really fast, comes much better equipped than the standard car, rides well on its adaptive suspension. It's also surprisingly efficient.


There isn't a huge amount of choice when it comes to convertibles, and even fewer that manage to combine the Audi's impressive interior build quality and refined driving dynamics. The BMW Z4 comes closest though. 


It costs a little more than the TT in equivalent Sport trim, but it's also better equipped, with the latest on-board technology, navigation and climate control all included in the price. Convertible buyers who want a folding metal roof (instead of fabric) can go for the Mercedes-Benz SLC (formerly SLK) but this is expensive and has a rock hard ride.


Faster versions like the TTS line-up against the Porsche 718 Cayman - and actually compare quite favourably in terms of price and performance - but can't match the impressive handling and driver interaction of that car. 


Look past these premium rivals, and the Mazda MX-5 offers a no-frills open-top experience at a much lower price. It's very compact, with a narrow cabin and small boot, but will be cheap to run and is great fun to drive.


Comfort and design: Audi TT Roadster interior

"You sit low to the ground in the Audi TT Roadster - giving it a sporty feel - but the seats are not quite as low-slung as in some rivals, so it's easier to get into (and see out of). "

Audi TT Roadster Review 2023: Interior

Once you are settled inside, there is a wide range of manual adjustment to the seat and the steering wheel, helping to accommodate all shapes and sizes of driver in comfort. The entry-level Sport is the only version without electric lumbar support and its seats aren't that supportive.


Audi TT Roadster S Line models and above come fitted with 'Super Sports' seats. They have thick bolsters that help hold you firmly in place, but you can adjust how tightly they grasp you around the middle to keep things comfortable. 


The view out of the front is good, making it easy to judge where the bonnet stops, but with the roof up there's a big over-the-shoulder blind spot, so you'll find yourself relying on the reversing sensors when backing up.


The driver-focused dash in the TT Roadster might leave your passenger feeling bereft; there is no central screen, and all the car's functions are controlled via the 12.3-inch digital instrument display instead. At first this takes getting used to, but soon becomes intuitive, and keeps the rest of the centre console free of clutter.


Apart from the five turbine-style air vents there are only a handful of buttons on the dash. Models with climate control, however, give you a clever digital readout at the centre of each vent for precise control of the heaters.


Even after several years on sale, the sheer quality of the TT's cabin never fails to impress. It's attractive to look at - which certainly helps when it'll regularly be on show for the world to see - but feels rock solid too. The plastics are dense and squidgy, but more expensive materials also feature in abundance. There's real aluminium in the centre console and door handles, and stitched leather on the steering wheel and gearstick.


Nothing this side of a Porsche Cayman can match the Audi TT Roadster for quality. Sliding a piece of paper between the panel gaps would be a real challenge, and the weight and heft of the various controls makes them feel built to last.


Stylish details like the frameless rear-view mirror and rotating air vents that turn with a reassuringly click help enhance the upmarket feel. The standard air conditioning controls don't look anywhere near as modern and slick as the digital versions you get in models with climate control, and it's an expensive option on all but the top trim.


Black Edition models have racier red stitching in the seats and other leather dash surfaces, but are otherwise visually identical to lesser versions (at least on the inside) so we'd save the cash for optional extras instead.


Where most rivals show the driver key information through at least two (sometimes even three) screens, the Audi TT Roadster has just one. It's a 12.3-inch display mounted directly in front of the driver; replacing the analogue dials.


Fortunately, it's a bright and colourful panel, making it easy to read outside and in direct sunlight. Audi calls it a Virtual Cockpit, but it's dual purposes as an infotainment centre and driving instruments takes getting used to. It makes the cabin feel very focused, removing any distractions that will require more than a quick glance through the steering wheel. Still for passengers, their limited view makes changing radio stations a real pain.


This unusual layout really comes into its own when paired with the optional (and rather expensive) navigation, giving the driver a clear view of the current route, nestled between the digital speedo and rev counters. It can be controlled via the steering wheel, or a rotary dial and shortcut buttons mounted behind the gear selector.


For most functions you'll end up using the buttons on the wheel (it's plain faster) but entering addresses will take less time with the dial; there's a large touchpad on top that lets you trace out letters to find post codes. The system comes with Bluetooth, DAB radio and two USB ports as standard, but the Technology Pack is the only way to get navigation. You do at least get a wireless phone charging pad and online services thrown in.


While we admire the singular focus of the TT's solution, and there are nice roadster specific touches like the seat belt microphone for improved hands-free calls, it's hardly the most user-friendly or feature packed setup.


The transformation from coupe to roadster makes a considerable dent in the Audi Roadster TT's practicality. For starters, it has two fewer seats than the hard-top, and the boot space shrinks from a maximum of 712 litres to just 280. That's hardly surprising news, given that Audi needed to find space to stow the folding roof mechanism, but it means that if you want to carry rear passengers you'll need to look at a Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet instead.


On the plus side, the boot capacity is the same whether the roof is up or down (unlike a Mercedes-Benz SLC) so you won't squash the shopping during a sudden downpour. However its shallow depth and relatively narrow opening make loading larger items harder than it would be in the BMW Z4. The load bay is big enough for a pair of weekend bags, a suitcase and a baby buggy, or set of golf clubs, depending on your specific needs.


Although a strict two-seater, there's room in the cabin for taller adults to stretch out. It also gives the driver and passenger enough breathing space between them to avoid that awkward 'squashed together' feeling.


Parking should be no problem as the TT Roadster's dimensions make it 4191mm long, 1966mm wide (including mirrors) and 1355mm tall. The only issue you might have is seeing it amongst tall SUVs in the car park. 


ISOFIX points in the passenger seat mean that you can also fit an infant or toddler child seat. If possible we'd strongly advise taking the roof off to do so; it halves the fitting time thanks to better access.


There are a few spots for stashing personal items, including a covered cubby in the centre console and armrest, and a decent glovebox that's lockable if you want to leave the roof off when parked. It's possible to stow coats and jackets behind the seats too, but smaller items are very easy to permanently lose back there. A takeaway coffee will fit neatly into the centre console, and there's another cupholder hidden in the armrest if your passenger also needs a caffeine hit, but neither can hold a water bottle without causing a major obstruction.


Overall, the TT Roadster manages to provide enough useable space to its two occupants and their luggage, and it's far from being the least practical car in its class.


Handling and ride quality: What is the Audi TT Roadster like to drive?

"Open-top cars tend to handle a little worse than their coupe equivalents. That's because the chassis is not as stiff, and the complicated folding roof mechanisms add to the weight, making them feel less nimble to drive."

Audi TT Roadster Review 2023: Driving

Audi has done a good job of compensating for the absence of a fixed roof, with great body control, plenty of grip, and no unwanted flex through corners. The steering is light, but accurate enough to position the car on the road with real confidence. There is hardly any body lean in tight turns, but push too hard and front-wheel drive cars will eventually start to scrub wide.


The suspension setup on Sport and S line versions is firm (this is a sports car after all) so you'll feel it in the bottom of your seat if you run over a drain cover or pothole, but longer dips and crests are nicely cushioned. This delicate balance is thrown out of whack if you fit larger wheels, or the 10mm lower sport suspension that is optional on S line cars. We'd avoid both, unless you want a TT Roadster that'll rattle your rear molars.


In town, a tight turning circle helps improve manoeuvrability, but the car also feels its firmest at lower speeds. On faster, more flowing roads it smooths out nicely, providing enough driver feedback without any harshness. 


The Audi TTS has adaptive dampers that let you stiffen or soften the ride to suit the driving conditions. They work really well, and turn the TT into a plush motorway cruiser when in 'Comfort' mode. Still, the firmest 'Dynamic' setting feels a bit too bumpy for most British roads, with heavier steering, but no more feedback or control.


Four-wheel drive versions are very effective at putting their power down, and feel virtually unflappable, but rear-drive rivals like the Porsche Boxster and Mazda MX-5 are both more playful when you want them to be.


Most versions of the Audi TT Roadster (except the TT RS) are powered by a turbocharged 2.0 TFSI petrol engine. It comes in three different states of tune, in either front- or four-wheel drive, and as either manual or automatic.


Happily, they all give decent performance. The entry-level 40 TFSI has a 197PS output and front-wheel drive layout, paired with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. It feels nippy in town, with enough urgency to get away from lights and junctions quickly, and has the flexibility to make overtakes a stress-free manoeuvre.


The 45 TFSI - with its 245PS power figure - should feel a lot faster, but in practice it doesn't deliver that extra performance unless you hold onto the gears, keeping the revs high. That means in day-to-day driving (where you'll be using the mid-range) the gap between it and the 40 TFSI is a lot narrower than it looks on paper.


With front-wheel drive the 45 TFSI comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The clutch is light and easy to use, and the shift is fairly precise, but it's not as fun to use as the manual in the Mazda MX-5.


You can pay £1480 for the S tronic automatic, or choose the quattro four-wheel drive version, since it gets a dual-clutch gearbox as standard. The Audi TTS Roadster combines these two technologies with its 306PS output. It's a seriously quick car - and sounds a bit more lively than the normal line-up thanks to its quad exhausts.


Older versions of the TT Roadster are available with Audi's familiar 2.0 TDI diesel engine, which was fuel efficient, but not as smooth as the petrols. It delivered its power in a single lump, discouraging you from driving it hard.


How a convertible copes with wind and road noise can easily be broken into two categories: roof-up and roof-down. Drive the Audi TT Roadster around with the fabric roof in place and it's surprisingly refined. Audi has lined the cloth with sound insulation, so apart from a bit of wind whistle around the windows, it's remarkably quiet.


At motorway speeds, the compact cabin and large wheels transmit a droning rumble from the tyres, but the engines are all very smooth, and the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic on some cars keeps the revs low.


In heavy rain it'll be quite hard to hear your passenger over the drumming on the roof. When the sun does shine and you stow it away, buffeting from the wind is just about tolerable up to speeds of around 60mph. If you drive any faster than that, you'll want both windows up, and the optional pop-up wind deflector fitted too.


The 2.0 TFSI engine is smooth when you're taking it easy, but it gets pleasingly zingy if you start to work it harder. It's a quieter engine than you'll get in the Mercedes-Benz SLC or BMW Z4.


Having an open roof means you are more exposed in the event of a crash, so protection is very important. In a serious accident, the Audi TT Roadster has a pair of roll-over hoops and a reinforced windscreen frame that were both designed to hold the entire weight of the car - should you be unlucky enough to turn upside down.


What about in a less dramatic collision? Four airbags are fitted as standard, along with electronic stability control, tyre pressure monitors, cruise control and a button to hold the car steady when sat on a steep hill. There are ISOFIX points for a child seat in the front passenger's spot, plus an airbag deactivation switch.


Although the Audi TT Roadster has never been crash tested by Euro NCAP, the coupe version received four stars (out of a possible five) in 2015. It did reasonably well for adult and child protection, but it doesn't have a low-speed automatic braking system (to prevent avoidable accidents in town). BMW Z4s get this kit as standard.


If you are the sort of driver who feels safer with a few more electronic aids, you can choose to add them from the options list. Blind spot monitors (showing you if it's safe to pull out or not) cost £595, while a camera that reads road signs to display the local speed limit inside the car are a bit cheaper at £155. Audi Park Assist uses various cameras and acoustic sensors to automatically steer you into trickier spaces, and is also £595.


The Audi TT 45 TFSI and TTS come with Audi Lane Assist as standard, which gently corrects the steering if you start to drift out of line on the motorway, but this system is nowhere near as essential as auto emergency braking.


MPG and fuel costs: What does a Audi TT Roadster?

"The TT Roadster is very frugal for this type of car. Even when it was retested using the new WLTP rules every model the line-up managed an official figure over 30mpg - impressive considering the performance."

Audi TT Roadster Review 2023: Driving Back

A front-wheel drive 40 TFSI will go the longest between fuel stops, returning an official 39.8mpg. Combined with a 50-litre tank you should be able to get a range of around 440 miles, depending on your driving style.


The 45 TFSI is only fractionally thirstier, but adding four-wheel drive knocks that figure down to 34.4mpg - the same as the considerably more powerful TTS. Both some way short of the 50mpg+ of older diesel versions.

Audi is a well-placed brand in the VW Group, benefitting from a number of components shared across numerous brands. However, the Audi brand itself is one of the lowest performing of the group in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, with only SEAT in a worse position.

 

However, the TT Roadster has been around for several years now, with only the odd minor issues reported. Its engines and mechanicals are well proven, having been used across the VW Group line-up. The same applies to its tech - all of it is familiar fare from other Audis over the years.

With its folding fabric roof, the Audi TT Roadster is obviously less secure against break-ins than its hard-top sibling, and how much you're likely to pay in insurance bills will reflect that difference.


For example, the TT coupe starts in group 35, but with the same 40 TFSI engine and in Sport trim the roadster is three bands higher in group 38. That's also four groups higher than the old 1.8-litre model.


The more powerful 45 TFSI fitted with the S tronic gearbox is in group 41. That rating rises by one band with each step you take up Audi's trim ladder, but the most expensive to cover is the TTS, which sits in group 44.


The amount of road tax you'll have to pay to keep your Audi TT Roadster on the road will vary a lot depending on the model you choose. Cars costing less than £40,000 (including options) will be subject to a £150 flat rate and a £540 first year 'showroom' tax based on the vehicle's CO2 emissions.


Models that break through that price barrier are subject to a premium rate of £325 as well as the standard rate - for a total cost of £475 per year - and the dirtier quattro versions will also cost £870 in the first year.


Compare this to a 2.0 TDI TT Roadster registered before April 2017 - costing just £30 a year - and it's clear that choosing the newest models can actually have a serious impact on the everyday running costs.

How much should you be paying for a used Audi TT Roadster?

"Prices for the current range start at £37,165 and rise to over £59,000 for a fully-loaded TTS Vorsprung. If you head to the used market it's easy to knock a considerable chunk off that, especially on low mileage cars."

Audi TT Roadster Review 2023: Exterior Side

We found an automatic Audi TTS Black Edition with the Technology Pack fitted and only 4000 miles on the clock for just £46,850 - representing a huge saving - but this model is also a lot rarer than the standard Roadster. A similar mileage 40 TFSI Sport from 2019 can be had for around £27,000 with navigation included.


Choose the older shape and you can pick up the TTS for around £25,000, or a 230PS 2.0 TFSI with four-wheel drive from between £18,000 - £20,000 depending on its mileage and condition. Always look for cars with nav fitted - and if possible the electronic climate controls too - they'll hold their value much better.


The cheapest used roadsters are manuals. The less desirable (but cheaper to run) diesels start at £14,500. That's for a 2015 model that's covered around 65,000 miles, with a 1.8 TFSI costing roughly about the same.


For a premium sports car the Audi TT Roadster is not especially well equipped as standard. The Audi TT Roadster Sport model gets xenon headlights, 18-inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, DAB, Bluetooth, and heated leather seats.


The Audi TT Roadster S line trim looks meaner on the outside, with lowered suspension, aggressive looking air intakes, LED headlights and larger 19-inch alloys, plus figure-hugging Super Sports seats with electric lumbar support.


Audi TT Roadster Black Edition models get even bigger wheels - but unless you pay for the most expensive Audi TT Roadster Vorsprung trim or the TTS - then you'll need to pay extra for climate control, navigation, and a reversing camera. It's annoying that Audi keeps important kit like a wind deflector hidden in a separate 'Plus' Pack for £1295. There is no way to add it separately for less cash; the same is true if you want navigation, that's in the £1495 Technology Pack.


Those options can quickly push up the price, but are important to have fitted if you plan to sell the car on. It's great that the Audi TTS Roadster comes with everything you need as standard, but it also starts at over £51,000.



Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Prices for the current range start at £37,165 and rise to over £59,000 for a fully-loaded TTS Vorsprung. If you head to the used market it's easy to knock a considerable chunk off that, especially on low mileage cars.
Audi is a well-placed brand in the VW Group, benefitting from a number of components shared across numerous brands. However, the Audi brand itself is one of the lowest performing of the group in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, with only SEAT in a worse position.
The TT Roadster is the convertible TT. Roadster is the name Audi uses for its top-down models.

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