Sheer sportiness, a genuine driving experience plus high power reserves – cue the new TT Roadster from Audi. The open-top sports car retains the distinctive lines of its tremendously successful predecessor, but instils them with even greater emotion, performance and dynamism.
Sheer sportiness, high power reserves plus a stirring driving experience – cue the new TT Roadster from Audi. The open-top two-seater, available in two engine versions, has retained all the strengths of its successful predecessor and added even more emotion, performance and dynamism. It is a sports car built to appeal to all the senses.
Audi offers a choice of two engines for its new TT Roadster. The 3.2-litre V6 power unit generates 184 kW (250 bhp) and is coupled to the quattro drive system as standard. The 2.0 TFSI engine, which blends turbocharging with petrol direct injection technology, delivers 147 kW (200 bhp) to the front wheels. Both model variants can be ordered with the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual shift.
The chassis of the new Roadster is also built for impressive sporty performance. Its highlight is Audi magnetic ride, the optional suspension damping technology that allows drivers to choose between an uncompromisingly dynamic ride or more comfort-orientated characteristics.
To mirror the puristic character of open-top motoring, the boldly styled body is crowned by a lightweight cloth hood. The TT Roadster 3.2 quattro comes as standard with a quick-action, fully automatic softtop which is available as an option for the 2.0 TFSI at a price of €1,015.
Despite its lavish specification, the new Audi TT Roadster will be priced similarly to the outgoing model. It will be launched in Germany in spring 2007 with prices starting from €33,800 (incl. 19 % VAT).
The experience of dynamic movement, the fascination of open-top driving – the new Audi TT Roadster is a sports car built to appeal to all the senses. In its second generation, the open-top two-seater has become even more emotionally charged. Beneath the charismatic design of its exterior resides the full array of advanced technology of the Audi brand.
Audi created a real stir in the late 1990s in unveiling what was at that time an entirely new range of sports cars. The TT, appearing in 1998 as the Coupé and in 1999 as the Roadster, was visually a sensation. Their common design became established as an icon of automotive design because it pursued the ideal of pure geometry. Its core motifs were the semicircles of the wheel arches and the curves of the roof line and the front and rear end. This timeless architecture lent the Audi TT Coupé and TT Roadster the character of a total driving machine and simultaneously gave the development of the entire brand decisive momentum.
Cautiously managed evolution: the styling
In the case of the new TT Roadster, Audi has respectfully and attentively developed and nurtured this genetic code. Unlike the Coupé, where the geometrical shapes merge dynamically with one another, the design of the open-top sports car comes across as strongly geometrical, as on its predecessor – the tail end and hood are clearly distinct entities.
The panelled body, accounting for two-thirds of the height, looks poised and powerful. The convex and concave curves of its surfaces accentuate the character of an athletic sculpture straining forward.
The wheel arches enclose wheels 16 or 17 inches in diameter, depending on the engine version, complete with striking rim designs. The tyres have grown in size to 225/55 R 16 and 245/45 R 17.
The tornado line beneath the body’s shoulder and the strikingly ascending dynamic line above the sills create the impression of a more elongated body. The legendary aluminium tank cap above the rear right wheel now features a cross-bar bearing the TT logo. The two rollover bars are angled slightly forwards, and their elegant aluminium trims have round cross-sections.
The front end of the new TT Roadster has acquired a charismatic expression. Its defining element is the single-frame radiator grille surrounded by a narrow chrome strip, with a high-gloss black instead of titanium grey finish on the V6 models. The slits beneath the grille and the large air inlets, in front of which the standard front fog lights are located, hint at the potential of the engines. Starting at the single-frame grille, two pronounced contours extend across the front lid to the A-posts.
A captivating feature: "winged" headlights
The lights sloping to a point – with chrome-look trims that are standard on the V6 versions as well as in conjunction with xenon lights, and optional on the 2.0 TFSI – underscore the presence of the TT Roadster. Reverse-curve plastic elements below the tubes, known as the "wings", accentuate the spatial effect. Instead of the halogen lights, xenon plus headlights that can be combined with daytime running lights are available as an option (standard on 3.2 quattro). Adaptive headlights with dynamic cornering light are a further option.
At the rear end of the new TT Roadster, the large exhaust tailpipes, diffuser and centred rear fog light serve as reminders of the performance of the Audi brand in motor sport. There are likewise tubular reflectors at the rear, appearing to hover inside their casings by virtue of their visual depth. Rectangular shields on the reflectors mean that other drivers following on behind perceive angular light rings.
On the TT Roadster with four-cylinder engine, the light housings are red, and on the V6 quattro they are of a dark colour (optional on 2.0 TFSI).
The spoiler of the new Audi TT Roadster is unobtrusively integrated into the contour of the luggage compartment lid. When the car reaches a speed of 120 km/h, the spoiler is automatically extended out by an electric motor, thereby improving the downforce on the rear axle. It is automatically retracted again when the speed falls below 80 km/h. The driver can also operate it via a switch.
The drag coefficient of the Audi TT Roadster is only 0.32, compared with 0.34 for the final version of the predecessor model. The frontal area has grown in size from 1.99 m2 to 2.09 m2, but the overall drag of the new two-seater nevertheless undercuts the figure for its predecessor. Thanks to engine encapsulation and the body’s ASF design, its underbody is smooth throughout almost its entire length. Lift has been reduced by 50 percent at the front axle, and by 40 percent at the rear axle.
The engineers implemented cutting-edge technology in the development work performed in the wind tunnel. The facility is equipped with a belt that runs at the speed of the wind, allowing the wheels to rotate when the measurements are being taken. The balanced aerodynamic properties provide the basis of this open-top sports car’s excellent road behaviour and stability right up to top speed.
The dynamic impression that the new two-seater creates also stems from its modified proportions. Compared with the previous model, the two-seater is 137 mm longer and 78 mm wider, but only 8 mm taller. It is now 4,178 mm long, 1,842 mm wide and 1,358 mm high. The new TT Roadster’s wheelbase is 2,468 mm (+ 46 mm). This growth has by and large been translated into increased space inside: it has become measurably more spacious and has a more airy feel.
The soft top
Audi made a conscious decision to keep the cloth hood for the new TT Roadster. The soft top concept fits in perfectly with the philosophy of puristic open-top motoring and also offers a number of benefits over a folding steel hard top.
The cloth hood, incorporating reinforcements made from steel and aluminium as well as a large glass rear window, has a very lightweight construction – not only does this reduce the overall weight of the TT Roadster, it lowers its centre of gravity too. It sleekly blends in with the car’s lines and takes up only a small amount of space when folded down. Thanks to the new Z-fold, the front section of the roof lies on top of the cloth like a cover. It locks into place to lie flush with the body, dispensing with the need for a tonneau cover. The soft top is available in the colours black and dark grey.
The body of the new TT Roadster is built at the Ingolstadt plant in line with the ASF principle, using an innovative composite structure of aluminium and steel; like its predecessor, the painted bodyshell is then forwarded by rail for final assembly at the Györ plant in Hungary. ASF stands for Audi Space Frame, the ground-breaking aluminium technology that the brand developed at the start of the 1990s.
The supporting structure of the Roadster body is made of extruded aluminium sections and die-castings; a large number of aluminium sheet panels form a positive connection and perform a load-bearing role within this structure. The individual components have various shapes and cross-sections – like the bones in a human skeleton, they combine best possible function with lowest possible weight.
In the body of the new TT Roadster, Audi has supplemented ASF technology with high-strength steel, which accounts for 42 percent of the overall weight. Steel components are used primarily at the rear of the floor assembly. The reinforcing bulkhead that plays a key role in the Roadster, as well as the doors and rear lid, are likewise made from steel. The developers were thus able to achieve an optimum distribution of axle loads and consequently dynamic handling.
The bodyshell of the TT Roadster weighs 251 kg; were it built entirely of steel, it would be 45 percent heavier. Unladen, the 2.0 TFSI tips the scales at a mere 1,295 kilograms.
Central zones of the body: the cast nodes
The percentage of wrought aluminium components in terms of the overall body weight are as follows: 22 % of sheet, 18 % of castings and 18 % of extruded sections. Castings are deployed primarily where high forces are introduced locally and where multi-functionality is required. A prime example is the A-post node – a high-tech component that connects the longitudinal member, sill, A-post and windscreen cross-member.
On the new TT Roadster, a large proportion of the extruded sections are made from innovative aluminium alloys that exhibit superior strength and therefore help to cut the weight even further. The new-style ASF features properties that are ideal for a sports car. Compared with the already very good predecessor, its static torsional rigidity has risen by over 100 percent. The vibrational comfort on board is also exceptional; this is all thanks to high local rigidity at the points of introduction of the frequencies, improved soundproofing of the body and the specific design of the metal-panelled areas. The drivetrain and suspension, too, are acoustically optimised.
The new Roadster TT also sets new standards in terms of crash safety. The longitudinal members at the front end are made of extruded aluminium sections and castings. In conjunction with the front cross-member and the subframe, which is bolted to the forward structure at six points, this assembly reduces and distributes the energy that acts in a head-on collision.
At the rear end, there are large-volume members to protect the passenger compartment. High-strength aluminium profiles in the doors and robust side sections resist the worst of a side impact. Transverse extruded sections reinforce the floor of the passenger compartment. The windscreen frame, which is reinforced by a high-strength steel tube, and the rollover bar protect the passengers in the event of a rollover.
Both front airbags, which are activated in two stages depending on the severity of the impact, receive their signals from an early-responding up-front sensor located at the front of the vehicle. The belt tensioners and belt force limiters protect the driver and passenger, and a special mechanism pivots the pedals away from the driver’s legs. Large-size head and thorax side airbags are integrated into the seat backs. In a rear-end collision, the Audi backguard system uses the head restraint to support the back of the head.
The dynamic exterior appearance is carried through into the interior of the new TT Roadster. It has the same advantages as a made-to-measure suit: the driving area, the horizontal edge of which echoes the tornado line of the body, is perfectly tailored to the driver’s requirements.
The centre console, now with three circular air outlets instead of the previous two, is turned slightly towards the driver and rests visually on a wide centre tunnel. The short gear lever knob and the rotary controls for the automatic air conditioning (standard on the 3.2 quattro) have a substantial look that is entirely in keeping with the TT tradition.
The instrument cluster is located beneath a round instrument panel hood that can be supplied trimmed in leather as an option. The two scales for speed and revs, embedded deeply inside tubes, are another characteristic TT feature. They are complemented by a large digital speedometer in the driver information system display. The new three-spoke sports steering wheel, which is adjustable horizontally and vertically, fits snugly in the hands.
Its thick rim, trimmed in high-grade Nappa leather, is flattened at the bottom, reminiscent of the Audi RS 4 and the new R8 mid-engine sports car. As an option, the multifunction sports steering wheel can be supplied with convenient controls for the radio and telephone, and there are two shift paddles on the versions with S tronic. The driver’s and passenger’s sports seats offer a very deep, sporty position allied to high comfort and firm lateral support. They now have a greater adjustment range; a four-way lumbar support and electric adjustment of the entire seat are available as options.
Superlative finish has already become a hallmark of Audi. The rings on the air outlets and various controls such as the door openers are finished in aluminium. The carpets are made from high-quality pile carpet and there are aluminium door sill trims in the side sills. The gear lever gaiter is made from leather – on the 3.2 quattro, the handbrake lever, additional armrest on the centre tunnel and pull handles on the doors are also trimmed in leather. Three optional leather packages complete the range.
The TT 2.0 TFSI has cloth seat upholstery, and the 3.2 quattro a Leather/Alcantara combination complete with seat heating. For custom specifications, Audi offers the leather grades Valetta, Fine Nappa, Leather/Alcantara and Impulse. The Impulse equipment and trim, available exclusively in chennai brown and with strikingly contrasting seams, rose to cult status in a similar form on the previous model as the moccasin-like Authentic leather.
Sporty and practical: the load-through hatch with removable ski bag There are two large, practical door compartments and two cup holders inside the car as standard. A storage package comprising three nets and four compartments – beneath the seats and in the rear bulkhead – is available as an option. Sporty customers will moreover appreciate a load-through hatch complete with removable ski bag for the rear bulkhead.
It accommodates two pairs of skis up to 1.90 m long – this practical feature is unique in the roadster segment. The luggage compartment, too, has benefited considerably from the body’s larger dimensions. It has grown from previously 180/220 litres to a capacity of 250 litres. In a new departure compared with the previous model, the capacity is the same on both the front-wheel-drive 2.0 TFSI and the 3.2 quattro. It remains constant irrespective of whether the hood is open or closed.