What’s nearly as quick as the Audi R8 Spyder, but costs £76,000 less? The Audi TT RS Roadster, of course, whose fiercely powerful 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo propels it to 0-62mph in only 3.9 seconds, just a third of a second slower than its supercar stablemate.
The 394bhp drop-top sounds amazing, roof up or down, and offers pretty much everything its fixed-roof TT coupe brother does and more. Yes, the additional strengthening necessitated by chopping off the roof does add some extra weight, to the tune of 90kg, which slightly impacts on both performance and economy. Yet the 0.2sec-slower benchmark sprint and marginally worse mpg are negligible prices to pay.
You’ll need to drop the Audi’s triple-layered acoustic soft-top to hear the off-beat engine note at its best, and this is easy at anything less than 31mpg. Dash-mounted buttons control the operation of both it and the rear windbreaker.
Further tweak the exhaust to ‘Sport’ to ensure that your enjoyment of the TT RS Roadster’s thrilling performance is accompanied by the best-possible engine note. There’s no great mid-range thrust, but the response perfectly complements the taut and agile chassis that’s benefited greatly from the extra strengthening. Quattro four-wheel drive provides superb grip and security, and the adaptive dampers give beautiful control and help prevent the ride from being too firm.
Roof up, the classy cabin is well isolated from wind and road noise at speed, and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is as impressive as ever. Roof down, the boot shrinks somewhat, but can still accommodate a couple of squashy overnight bags.
The Audi TT RS Roadster costs £53,550, which is £1750 over the coupe. Would you pay that for supercar pace, loads of grip, a lovely sounding, powerful engine and great, if not class leading, handling? Look at the alternatives before you decide; Porsche’s Boxster S is slower but dynamically superior, so is definitely worth considering.
Audi TT RS Roadster
On sale: Now
Engine: 5 cyls, 2480cc, turbocharged, petrol
Power: 394bhp at 5850-7000rpm
Torque: 354lb ft at 1700-5850rpm
Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Economy: 34.0mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 189g/km, 35%
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