2012 Audi TT Roadster
Base price: $50,875
As tested: $53,870
MPG: 23 city/31 highway (2.0-liter)
- Quality of interior finish
- Limited rear visibility
- Limited storage
By Clint Williams
In Superior, Ariz., 65 miles east of Phoenix, State Highway 177 climbs into the Tortilla Mountains with nary a mile of straight road. Broad sweeping curves blend with brief straightaways followed by tight, tire-squealing turns. Traffic is light, the scenery stunning, the air clean. It is the sort of road engineered with the Audi TT Roadster in mind.
Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, highways like the 177 are the peas to the Roadster’s carrots — meant, always, to go together.
The Audi TT Roadster offers a combination of acceleration and handling that makes driving flat-out fun. Drop the soft top for the wind-in-your-hair effect, and you’ve got a pretty good way to kill a Saturday afternoon.
The Roadster is powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that cranks out 211 horsepower and a head-snapping 258 foot-pounds of torque. There is a smidgen of lag as the turbocharger kicks in, but this car is quick, zipping from standstill to 60 mph in less than six seconds. But, on a road like State Highway 177, you most appreciate how quickly the car leaps from 50 mph to, well, a lot more, to pass slower traffic on a section of straight road.
The six-speed S tronic® automatic dual-clutch transmission features two paddle shifters on the steering wheel so you can do the shifting yourself.
The Roadster’s handling gives you confidence to zip up a mountain road. Steering is laser precise and the permanent all-wheel drive grips the road. It’s almost too easy to navigate the curves — you’ll feel as though you’re going slower than you are.
Most of us have to drive a car all week long, not just Saturday afternoons. Fortunately, the Audi TT Roadster serves well as a commuter car too. Its fuel economy is good for a sports car, though premium fuel is recommended. The cabin is extremely comfortable and the interior fit and finish is top notch. The soft-top drops and rises in less than 10 seconds, making it easy to change the view while at a stoplight.