Audi has continued the rollout of its third generation TT range, with the reveal of a Roadster to sit alongside the TT and TTS coupe. The Roadster shares its high-tech interior and sharp styling with the TT Coupe, but has been reinforced in key structural areas to deal with the loss of strength associated with losing a car's roof.
For all the fun that open-top motoring allows, it also brings a set of challenges that you simply don't face with a hardtop, so Audi has added steel reinforcement to a number of key areas around the car. The TT Roadster's A-pillars house extra steel reinforcement pillars and its aluminum sills have been strengthened with steel-ribbing, while v-shaped struts have been fitted under the luggage and engine compartments.
In keeping with tradition, the new TT Roadster also features rollover hoops, which are mounted to a new wall between the cabin and luggage compartment.
The standard TT Roadster will be available with a choice of gasoline or diesel engines at launch. The former is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder motor producing 169 kW (230 hp) and 370 Nm (273 lb.ft) of torque, which is enough to propel the car from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds. The TT Roadster's diesel is also a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four cylinder motor, making less power but more torque than the petrol, with 135 Nm (184 hp) and 380 Nm (280 lb.ft). For those who want more power, the range is topped by the TTS, with its 228 kW (310 hp) four cylinder motor.
Despite the extra power, Audi's new convertible is more efficient than its predecessor. The base petrol engine returns a combined economy figure of 6.8 L/100km (35 mpg), with CO2 emissions of 155 g/km, while the diesel is more efficient again, returning 4.5 L/100km (54.7 mpg) on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 118 g/km. Thanks to its extra power, the TTS Roadster is less efficient than the entry level cars, emitting 174 g/km of CO2 while consuming 7.5 L/100km (32 mpg).
Aside from its structural reinforcements, the new TT Roadster mimics the MQB-based chassis of its coupe brother. Audi's optional Quattro all-wheel drive system can shuffle power between the front and rear wheels on the go and can be combined with optional magnetic ride control for an active, customizable handling setup.
The TT Roadster comes with 17 inch wheels wrapped in 225/50 tires as standard, with larger 18 inch units with 245/40 tires standard on the TTS and 20 inchers available as an option. The diameter of the vented front discs range from 312 to 338 mm (12.3-13.3 mm) in size depending on the engine.
Weighing in at 39 kg (86 lb), the new roof is lighter than the unit on the outgoing model and takes just 10 seconds to open or close at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph). Audi claims that the Roadster's "acoustic" roof is 6 dB quieter than the lid on the outgoing car and doesn't impede on the TT's 280 liters (9.9 cubic feet) of boot space when closed.
If you've looked at the interior of a TT Coupe, the Roadster will be very familiar. Central to the car's cockpit is the "virtual cockpit," which packs the speedometer, tachometer and full infotainment setup into a 12.3-inch screen mounted in front of the driver. Audi's familiar MMI system makes an appearance in the instrument binnacle, while climate control is managed by dials integrated into the car's three air vents.
Pricing starts at €37,900 ($48,430 US) for a manual 2.0-liter petrol TT Roadster, with the car to be on display at next month's Paris Motor Show.