UK Car Road Test

Audi TT Cabrio 2004

 Movie Clips of this Car

Exterior Movie Interior Movie

 


This is the chop top version of the dramatic TT coupe

Does it work for you, Im not so sure. 

 

Originally the styling was dramatic to say the least, as radical a make over of a Golf floor pan as could be imagined by anyone on earth. And what a re style it was. Given the basics that underpin the vehicle and the design parameter it has to work around it really was the most amazing looking vehicle. We have all got used to it now though and whilst its not exactly tired, familiarity has breed, if not comtempt at least a few yawns. Im really not sure that chopping the top off really works that well. The letter box windows were the highlight of the design  and the chop top loses that. and it starts to look like a big Ford Street Ka.

Its still a triumph of styling deceiving the eye. It looks short stubby and low.  Until you lay the tape onto it that is and you start to realize just how much deception is being carried out.

This is a car that totally fools you. Its bigger than it looks both taller and longer. In the way of Audi cabrios it looks a touch feminine and a bit smooth posh and yuppie

Not sure about the red paint either, the designers know just what they were doing with the metallic silver coats of the original, and thats still the best colour for a TT


As with the coupe the cabrio carries absolutely everything has been touched by the stylists, re-thought, redone , re-worked and it carries its themes to the Nth degree.

All the touches such as  the wheels which seem to hark back to 30s Buggattis. with the little array of Allen heads rotating around the centre are kept whole sale. But with the advent of a glut of other designer touched cars its not quite so dramatic as before.

Again,  not much separate this hot 225bhp version, from its pathetically and tediously slow (ha ha)  180bhp brother. Big twin pipes coming through the rear valance and the chrome TT badge laid onto a red plastic background.

You get in this car for the first time and just sit there. No need to start it up just yet, just sit there and take in the sheer attention to detail that is laid out before your eyes. The sporty black leather seats match the black and dark Grey of the sullen sounding interior. But it glints and glistens from all sides of you in a visual feast of tiny and not so tiny highlights. This is no bung it together parts bin delve. This is a car built and laid out just so. The window starts level with your shoulder, at first it gives a letter box type effect, but they are taller than they look and let quite a bit of light in, along with the large front and rear screens.

The Six speed gear knob fits to a scaffolding pipe like linkage, and sits in concentric circles of rubber. Leather probably would not have sat neatly enough, and is ringed by another wheel trim.

The scaffolding supporting the console is still a strange touch,  and has knee knock pads laid onto its angled spars.

The dash binnacle curves in a mirror of the sporty leather clad soft touch steering wheel. It encloses just four plain type faced chrome ringed black dials.  Sounds average at best looks great in reality.

And just how passe are round eyeball vents. Not when done like this, turn the dimpled chrome rings one way for air, the other for off, lovely.  Or take the roof down for more air.

Just check out the row of switches, round chrome ringed again dimpled.

Or the chrome ringed dimpled heater controls, getting the theme yet?

Want to see just how over the top designers can take things. Then check out the heated seat switches. Now I've had heated seats before. You have a switch, press it bum warms up, takes the chill off the leather, press it again heater goes off bum now comfortable no problem. So does the TT just have a switch, oh no siree.  Push the round switch it glides out turn switch it rotates and starts to turn on a circle of lights like close encounters, one for rare , eight for well done, push back in to engage. Want to turn it off push to release, rotate opposite to extinguish lights push back in to disengage Complete waste of time money and effort but oh so lovely to look at and admire.

Check out dimple city more spots than your average teenage Corsa driver.

Any down sides, well the door trims seem a bit of an after thought almost like Audi ran out of inspiration.

The dash is deeper than your average MPV and you sit truly miles from the screen. With the roof down this seems even more dramatic with loads of sky between your eyes the screen top and the road.

Despite the looks rear vision is really quite good or would be if  the slickly styled oval rear view mirror was not so pathetically small.

Oh and could the handbrake be any plainer, and more plastic covered. Would an all chrome Item not look better or a rubber gaitor to match the gear stick.  

 

It has not got cup holders, sacrilege, how can any self respecting Car Marque build a car without its own brand of super cup holder. Perhaps the permissible G forces this 4 wheel drive, turbo charged super coupe can generate mean that its to much of a risk to send sticky liquids slopping around the interior.

Oh and the seats are not electric, perhaps the style is so tight the battery is very small, or the alternator. Or perhaps it needs all the power for the roof.

Its got everything else though and I for one can live without cup holders and electric seats. 

Please stop first

Comfort Features
Adjustable Steering Column
Adjustable Steering Column
Front Door Bins
Front Door Bins
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Pollen Filter
Pollen Filter
Split rear seats
Split rear seats
Sports Front Seats
Sports Front Seats
Time Clock
Time Clock
General Features
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Mirrors
Colour Coded Mirrors
Digital Odometer
Digital Odometer
Tinted Windows
Tinted Windows
Luxury Features
Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Cruise Control
Cruise Control
Electric Mirrors
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows front
Electric Windows front
Heated Mirrors
Heated Mirrors
Leather Upholstery
Leather Upholstery
Radio Cassette
Radio Cassette
Trip Counter
Trip Counter

 

 

Check out the engine 225bhp 1.8 is this not the hottest sounding motor in production. Well not quite but 126bhp per litre is quite some figure. And allegedly according to mad German Turbo tuners 330bhp and more  is easily available.

But that wild sounding 225bhp peak figure does not tell anywhere near the whole story of this Yamaha technology derived super unit.

Sure this 1.8 litre unit puts what is really a Golf in drag into a  performance league, that a couple of decades or  ago was populated exclusively by names like Ferrari and Lamborghini. But the stats alone do not tell you what a benign, smooth, well trained unit this is.   

You really do expect the engine to present a few tantrums and be a little difficult to drive, but you could not be more wrong.

Lag is exceptionally well hidden, the Turbo kicks into the rev range hard and very low revs, but not so hard as to present problems to the chassis.

 

Service Interval Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
10000 18 Not Available Band (D)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
4 Cylinder 20 Valve DOHC Turbo 225 1781 Yes
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Double 5 Turbo Charger
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
150mph 6.8seconds 155
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
23mpg 38.7mpg 30.7mpg Unleaded

Whilst you can pootle about like a granny, if you press the pedal down harder you are rewarded with truly inspiring performance. The TT is equipped with a six speed box, Sixth gives you fairly relaxed cruising speed and good possible economy whilst still allowing mild judder free acceleration low down. 

The gearbox change is fairly short and direct but heavily weighted and sprung in the 3rd - 4th plane, needing a firm hand to guide it to the right slots either side. The clutch is light and easy with an obvious long soft biting point.  Sprinting away from a standstill your arm and foot can barely keep up with the engine as you blast through First and Second, third is a bit longer and the turbo drives it wildly through the speed limit with 3 changes still left.

Top speed is just on the magic ton and a half mark, which should divide the super from the not so super..

As is normal the cabrio weighs in at a liitle more than the coupe and just takes the edge off the acceleration, not that you would notice mind.

Extra bracing everywhere.

Steer/Susp/Tech Features
Alloy Wheels
Alloy Wheels
Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Full Time 4 Wheel Drive
Full Time 4 Wheel Drive
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension

Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rev Counter
Rev Counter
Service Level Indicator
Service Level Indicator
Traction Control
Traction Control

You expect a certain feel when you drive any other Audi, a sort of weightless, effortless feel. Audis in general seem to have gone down the road of user friendliness to the point where they are no longer much of a drivers car. But the TT is here to put that straight.

Quicker steering with turned down assistance, means sharp responses and weighty feed back, a gear change that need to be worked with some thought. Firm suspension just short of a jiggly ride. They all tell your senses that this Audi is a little special and demands respect, put the effort and be rewarded.

If you are expecting the simpleton finger tipped and stocking footed drive of an A4 think again. The TT requires a little exertion to get the best out of it. Then again its not so bicep building and quad defining as to exclude the fairer sex,  its just not as lady like and granny friendly as the previous Audi cabriolet posing machines.

The chassis does an excellent job of  keeping the high power under control. The engine is wickedly powerful, but the chassis tames it to the point where you honestly feel you could handle a dose more with no problem.

The new versions have an even stronger V6 onboard but that may upset the balance which feels excellent.  Shall we say bore it 2.2 litres with 275bhp, dipping the 0-60 time well under 6 seconds, that sounds about right and super enough for most, Though the balance of the chassis changes with this big heavy motor on board..

In normal use the grip is fantastic and the car never feels close to its limits rounding bends as if its on rails and always responding to a sharp line tighten with even more grip. Body control is also excellent the car does not roll, instead you buttock slide across to the bolster and then are pinned there by the G force. This probably explains what the silver scaffold and kneepad is really for, its a cornering body brace.

Being the open top and untriangulated of course despite the extra weight of some additional body stiffening the Cabrio will never match the coupe for outright cornering prowess. But to be fair scuttle shake is no existent on the roads I drive on and I would have to be in the Alps or on a track day to notice any real difference.

 

Roof UP and Down

Okay to many its pushing it a bit to buy a convertible in our more Northern Climes. But plenty off us ride Motorcycles in the rain, so a convertible is hardly hardship is it. The roof when up is tight quite and secure. When down the glass shield behind your head does a good job of alleviating the buffeting and the forward tilt of the wigged middle-aged gentleman's hairpiece. 

Being German of course the roof goes up and down with ease and fits perfectly without fuss or fiddle.

 

 

 

Safety/Security Features
Alarm
Alarm
Antilock Braking System
Antilock Braking System
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Side Air Bags
Front Side Air Bags
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Fuel Cap
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection

Hooray its got an alarm, and an immobilisor,  this is a very desirable little car and need absolutely maximum protection.

The bubble shaped body is complemented by multiple bubble bags inside so should this MKII version do the MKI swapping end trick maximum protection is given. 

Keep your head on if it goes over

 Not quite the looks of the coupe

Forgetting the few incidents of tail swapping that blighted early versions, Four wheel drive, and traction control make for a very secure drive in the worst weather and makes the car feel very stable and safe. I like the roll hoops too as they afford a little feeling of security when careering around corners.

Practicality depends entirely on you description of the word. Its only got two seats, but thats okay The back seats exist in the coupe only as a marketing device, which is more than you can say for the rear leg room. Why the coupe  bothers with rear seats is beyond me.

Abandoning the superfluous rear seats entirely.  lets the hood fold nicely without intruding upon the boot.

It is easy to drive though and is possibly the most practical super car yet, assuming you think anything based around a golf can ever be a real super car or anything with two seats is really practical.

Gar-Juss 

Four circles with power to four wheels 
very fitting.

Nice

get the polish out

It is a still a sports car you could live with day to day though, which is more than many can ever manage. Its easy to get in and out, there is plenty of room in the front and loads of head room under that thick roof for even the tallest driver. Vision is not to bad, side and rear are okay, front is good bar for close up parking maneuvers .

If nothing else it is a success because its heritage is so well hidden, Lets be honest there is nothing about it which feels golf like. It does not fall into the trap of re-using parts from the normal cooking range of runabouts and for that reason alone it feels really rather special. Compared to the rather sedate more saloon based Audi Cabrios of Old this is really rather sporty.

Oh and residual values are very good, the TT is very sought after and it does not hurt your wallet running it or disposing of it. That is if you ever became bored of it. Personally I would not choose a red one though.

I also think this will remain the most sought after Audi Cabriolet, as the pictures of the new TT show it to have a rather strange estate like shape like the old BMW Z coupe, and Im really not so sure its going to go comfortably topless without some major designing pains


 

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UK Car Road Test Audi TT Cabrio 2004

UK Car Road Test Keywords: Sports 4*4TT Cabrio