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What Car? says

5 out of 5 stars

For The Audi TT still manages to looks chic and sophisticated after all these years

Against It's uninvolving to drive, and the cabin is not as spacious as some rivals'

Verdict With its iconic looks, the TT Roadster still turns heads, even though it sold so well

Go for… 1.8 T Quattro 180

Avoid… 3.2 V6

Audi TT Roadster
  • 1. There have been problems with dashboard components failing. Forget the car if any instruments don't work
  • 2. The cambelt needs to be replaced every 60,000 miles
  • 3. The TT shares much with the VW Golf, and most mechanical parts are reliable
  • 4. Ignition coil failure on 1.8T engines was common and it's costly to replace them
  • 5. There are no rear seats, but that's no great loss - the ones in the coupe are almost useless
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Audi TT Roadster full review with expert trade views

The TT is that rare thing: a concept car that made it into production. The Roadster version only served to broaden the TT's appeal and has sold strongly ever since it arrived in 1999. The cabin shares the same clean, artistic styling as the coupe and build quality is typically Audi - excellent - even if the cabin is not as good for space as some rivals.

The rear seats you'd find in a TT coupe have been sacrificed for space to stow the Roadster's easy-to-use, electrically operated hood, but it’s no great loss – they were useless anyway. Roof up or down, the TT Roadster looks great.

A front-wheel-drive 150bhp model arrived at the same time as the 3.2 V6 Quattro in mid-2003. The four-wheel-drive V6 also introduced the direct-shift gearbox (DSG) for the first time, which did away with the clutch pedal but allowed lightning-quick manual changes from the gearlever or steering wheel paddles.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Bags of image, but at a price - 225 preferred to 180 but 2WD is best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Roadster is not as stiff as the TT coupe, so don't opt for the most powerful version, as the open-top struggles to cope with the extra performance. However, we do think four-wheel drive is desirable, so the 1.8 T Quattro 180 is our choice. Its 180bhp engine provides strong acceleration but won't tie the chassis in knots. It's also cheaper to insure and easier on fuel than the more powerful units.

The 225bhp and later 240bhp versions are quicker off the mark than the 180 (or later 190), but there's not much difference. The 3.2 V6 is swift and sounds great, but, as on the stronger four-cylinder models, the extra performance is hard to justify for the added cost.

The 150bhp (latterly 161bhp) front-drive Roadster offered a cheap way into TT ownership when it was new, and continues to do so in the used market. However, it had less standard equipment than the four-wheel drive models, so we’d only buy one fitted with optional leather seats.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Pre-2002 the value buys, but a 180 with six-speed good

James Ruppert
Used car guru

As the TT's chassis is derived from the previous generation of Volkswagen Golf, many of the TT's major components are common to a vast number of VW and Audi models. That makes them cost-effective, but Audi dealers' labour rates will bump up the price, even if they are cheaper than BMW or Mercedes dealers.

A cam belt change is needed every 60,000 miles to keep the 1.8 turbo engine in good health, but this is not an expensive operation, and the excellent network of independent Audi specialists can help to further reduce the cost of running a TT.

Fuel economy for all but the 3.2 V6 is good for a sporting open-top, while tyre wear is also better than for many of the TT's rivals'.

Franchised Audi dealers still love the TT for the ease with which they can sell used examples, but don't rule out an independent specialist for finding quality used examples.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Bags of image, but at a price - 225 preferred to 180 but 2WD is best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The TT didn't get off to the best start in life, with worries about the car's high-speed stability, but by the time the Roadster appeared, these problems had been sorted with the addition of a small rear spoiler and a standard ESP system.

There are no concerns about the cabin's quality, because the materials are all up to Audi's usual high standards. However, there have been problems with dashboard components failing and this can be an extremely expensive problem to put right if the car has fallen out of warranty.

The cambelt needs to be replaced every 60,000 miles, but it's not a costly job. Likewise, the ignition coil can fail, but again it's not too pricey to fix.

Overall, though, the TT suffers from more reliability problems than you may expect of an Audi, so look for a car that's been well cared for and has a fully stamped service file, especially if it's an older and higher mileage example.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Pre-2002 the value buys, but a 180 with six-speed good

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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