Picking up our new 2012 Audi TT Roadster on the first over-70 degree day this year in Connecticut is definitely not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Redesigned in 2008 and based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf, the TT is in its second-generation--but we haven't yet tested one. While other prestige roadsters, namely the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK, are moving to turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the TT has been that way for years. Its 2.0-liter, 211-hp turbocharged four-cylinder is the same engine that we've enjoyed in the VW GTI and Jetta GLI. However, unlike those cars, the TT comes only with a dual-clutch automated manual transmission. You can't get a clutch pedal in a TT unless you go for the rare, full-tilt TT RS with its five-cylinder turbo. That probably reflects buying patterns, but seems something of a shame.
All TTs have Audi's "quattro" all-wheel-drive system. You'd think that makes them great cars in the snow, but TTs also have standard summer performance tires. You'll need to opt for the available all-seasons--or use winter tires--if you live where it snows.
Finding our TT roadster wasn't easy, especially given that there aren't many sitting around dealer's lots. It didn't help that most of them are black on black. (We prefer to test--and photograph--bright-colored cars that will look snappy in the magazine and online.) Our TT was located at and shipped from a Chicago-area dealer to our local dealer, who had to swap out a rare-as-hens-teeth Audi Q5 2.0T allotment to get it. (Audi has been running rather lean on supply as of late.) When this happens, bargaining becomes moot.
But in the end, it's quite an eye-catching car. Our Scuba Blue TT Premium Plus has the S-line package, which adds slick 19-inch wheels and sports seats with Alcantara synthetic suede inserts. Oddly, it has an audio input, but no USB input. The only other option was heated seats, making this a surprisingly lightly optioned car. Sticker price came to $45,300 -- several thousand dollars less than competing German roadsters.
With the arrival of spring, we look forward to top-down break-in miles on our TT.