The original Audi TT Roadster changed the car industry with dramatic styling and yet cleverly using a common platform to keep production and development costs down.
The first generation TT is a very individual car with love it or hate it looks. However, nobody can deny the Audi build quality and attention to detail. The design stayed true to the original concept and wasn’t watered down to please all tastes. The iconic design is likely to attract classic status before long.
It has a good range of engines (the 1.8T being available in a number of turbo output settings), two and four wheel drive and deliberate if uninspiring handling. Although the Roadster was at the top of its class in 1999 when it was introduced, it was later put in the shade a little by its newer competitors. A second generation model was introduced in 2007.
With all-wheel-drive and the zesty turbocharged engine the Audi TT Roadster 1.8T Quattro is confidence inspiring to drive quickly in all weathers. The engine is responsive and lightweight making it well suited to this popular little roadster. The pick of the bunch of course, is the uprated 225bhp version which offers up some serious performance. The neat fabric roof does a great job of noise and cold insulation.
The compact 3.2-litre VR6 engine slotted into the Audi TT Roadster chassis nicely and provided a smooth and sweet sounding flagship for the range. The clever engine design with staggered cylinders in a narrow angle allowed 6 cylinders to take up little more space than a conventional inline 4 and was also used in several compact cars such as the VW Golf and Audi A3. Power output was only marginally more than the lighter turbocharged Quattro model but the soundtrack made it feel like a much more special car. Sadly the extra fuel consumption of the larger engine helped to make it a less popular option.