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Miss California is from Germany, and she goes by the name Tee Tee—named after the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy), we’re told. Audi says it now stands for Technology and Tradition. If you want to meet her at a store, note the proper name: 2012 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-Tronic Roadster. Reed Berry says there is no one more fitting to represent California.
By Reed Berry
With apologies to the rest of this great country, some cars just seem to be made for California.
Oh, I know my comments will undoubtedly alienate the residents of 49 other states (and possibly Puerto Rico) but – well – we’re just cooler here.
There, I said it.
This is California. We have great weather, beautiful beaches, celebrities, amazing scenery, and exciting nightlife. A sporty, great looking performance car is practically a requirement for those who use their vehicle as a fashion accessory in order to ‘dress to impress.’ Admittedly, there are a number of vehicles that seem to be a nice fit for the sun-and-fun-filled California lifestyle but, if asked to create a short list, at or near the top will be the 2012 Audi TT Roadster.
I don’t think I can pinpoint one feature that makes this car so desirable. It seems to be a combination of factors working in perfect harmony that make this car one of my personal favorites this year. Power, performance and aesthetics combined with impressive fuel economy (23 city/31 highway) make this car quite appealing. And it’s an Audi so, needless to say, the crisp styling of this roadster is very easy on the eyes.
The exterior has a lot going for it. The TT’s stylish body seems to blend modern day design elements with characteristics of classic roadsters of the past. The high-gloss black grille gives the front end a distinctive look, and a rear diffuser with dual exhaust adds to the vehicle’s sleek, sporty appearance. 24 bright, energy-efficient LED daytime running lights not only serve a useful purpose, but the number signifies Audi’s domination at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The interior of the TT is also quite striking, as the test vehicle I am driving is equipped with Audi’s available Baseball Optic Leather package. The woven stitching of the leather seating surfaces gives the interior a stylish, sophisticated look. The leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel not only adds to the sporty ambiance but also provides greater leg room in the space-efficient cockpit. The shift paddles on the steering wheel give the TT a true sports car feel.
Overall, the interior is quite driver friendly. All controls are conveniently positioned. iPod connectivity is accessed through the glove box and, once attached, control of your device is turned over to the in-dash 140-watt sound system making it much easier to search for your favorite tunes. Unfortunately, aside from your iPod, there isn’t much room for anything else as the glove box is not particularly spacious.
Great weather practically demands that I lower the power retractable soft top. At the touch of a button, the lightweight top opens quickly and retracts into its own dedicated compartment rather than into the trunk as with some convertibles. Closing the soft top takes just 12 seconds and, according to Audi, can be operated at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. In the interest of safety and to minimize driver distraction, I recommend operating the retractable top only when the car is safely stopped.
As it turns out, the soft top isn’t the only feature on this car that is retractable. The TT has an automatic rear spoiler that extends at 75 mph and retracts at 50. A button on the console allows you to operate the spoiler manually. Not only does the spoiler serve a useful purpose, it allows you to control the exterior appearance of the car as desired.
There is certainly no shortage of power in this enthusiastic roadster. A 211-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox takes you from 0 to 60 in just under 6 seconds. Acceleration is quick and confident, passing slower moving vehicles with ease. If you require additional power to get you to your destination even faster, you may want to consider the TTS Roadster with its aggressive 265-horsepower engine. But, unless your automotive needs require you to drive at light speed, the TT has more than enough power.
Handling is exceptional, and to be expected from Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Throw in electromechanical steering, big 18-inch wheels and front-mounted MacPherson struts and the TT is equipped to negotiate practically any driving situation and road surface. My test vehicle is equipped with an available Audi magnetic ride with sport program ($1,900) that seems to be well worth the added cost. In some cars with sport mode, the difference between standard and sport is barely noticeable. In the TT however, the difference is clear. One push of the button tightens the suspension and steering for true sport performance.
The Audi TT Roadster comes in two trim levels: Premium Plus (Base MSRP $41,300) and Prestige (Base MSRP $47,400). Prestige takes all the features of Premium Plus and adds such amenities as Nappa leather sport seats (heated front seats), a BOSE premium sound system, MMI navigation system with 6-disc CD changer, interior LED lighting, and Audi acoustic parking system.
For more information about Audi products, go to www.audiusa.com
Name of vehicle:
2012 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI quattro S-Tronic Roadster
As Tested: $48,545
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City/Highway):
23 / 31 miles per gallon
2.0-liter DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with TFSI direct injection
211 @ 4,300 rpm
258 @ 1,600 rpm
6-speed manual transmission standard; 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters available
Servotronic electromechanical steering
Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split; ventilated front discs; hydraulic brake assistant
18” 5-arm-design alloy wheels
Curb weight: 3,307
0 – 60 MPH: 5.6 seconds
Top speed: 130 MPH