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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Aug 20, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff



By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & articles © by Harvey Schwartz

There are many convertibles plying the roads and freeways of Southern California, but not too many with the unique looks, a turbo-charged engine spinning all four wheels, and an interior that leaves little to be desired. With a price of $42,735.00 there is no other 2-seat sporty roadster on the market that can match the new Audi TT turbo-charged Quattro.

I just spent a week behind the wheel of this high-performing sports car and came away impressed with the ride, handling, and comfort. Every time I parked the car I got the same comments on the unique looks and what the car is called. I was surprised since the Audi TT Roadster has been on the market for two years now. The styling is very unique with curving lines front and rear and short overhangs front and rear. The front fascia is highlighted with HID lamps behind clear lamps, a wide-mouth grille with the Audi logo in the center, while just below are air-openings covered in plastic mesh for the two in-line intercoolers and front brake cooling. The rear fascia is clean and highlighted with an airfoil integrated on the top of the trunk lid to keep the rear pushed down at speed, big wrap-around lamps, and 2-2in. round, polished stainless steel exhaust tips. From the side you notice the round ends, steeply raked windshield, straight line at the belt, thick rocker panels and flared fender openings that are nicely stuffed with big Continental 225/40ZR18in. high-performance tires that wrap around sporty 7-spoke 18X7.5in. cast alloy wheels. On the top of the passenger-side rear fender is a racecar inspired, aluminum gas filler door with cabin release button.

Under the 2-sided galvanized steel body and aluminum hood is more race inspired goodies, like a potent 1.8liter, DOHC 5-valve per cylinder turbo-charged and intercooled engine with electronic throttle control that generates 225hp at 5,900rpm and 207lb.ft. of torque at 2,200 to 5,500rpm. A Getrag 6-speed manual transmission channels the torque to all four-wheels through the Quattro all-wheel drive system and Audi’s electronic differential lock. All this power and torque with all four wheels turning rockets the TT from a standstill to 60mph in just 6.3sec. and covers the 1/4mi. in 14.4sec. at 94.4mph. Those are very impressive numbers for a small roadster, yet the handling of this power is easy with the AWD system underpinned by a race-car inspired fully independent suspension system. Up front are MacPherson gas struts, 3-point lower control arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar. The unique rear suspension features a parallelogram multi-link independent setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar. The Audi TT turbo-charged Quattro roadster goes through the 600ft. slalom at a very respectable 63.3mph. The latest electronics helps to keep the car on track and you out of trouble with both electronic stability control (ESP) and anti-slip regulation traction control (ASR). These systems work with the engine control computer unit and the ABS brakes to help keep you from losing control of the car during spirited driving on curving roads or when driving on wet roads. The variable-rate, power-assisted rack & pinion steering is neutral with very little slush on the top. The brakes easily slow the car down from speed with vented discs at all four-wheels. Up front are 12.3in rotors clamped with dual piston calipers while the rear rotors are 10.0in. and clamped with a single piston caliper. The braking system also includes electronic rear brake pressure proportioning. These systems working together help the TT stop from 60mph to 0mph in just 111ft.

The low back-pressure, dual-exhaust system has a nice throaty sound to it and it reminds you that you are behind the wheel of a very special type of sports car with excellent performance stats. On the inside you can relax in super-comfortable leather trimmed high-back bucket seats that reminded me of Recaro seats because they were so supportive. The leather trimmed 3-spoke steering wheel is both tilting and telescoping to give you the perfect placement for perfect control. Both doors open wide for easy entry and exit with the doorsills having aluminum trim with the TT logo. That is the first hint of the large amounts of real aluminum trim everywhere-from the 2-tall fixed polished aluminum roll bars, to the interior door handles and trim, to all 3-foot pedals and dead foot rest, to the aluminum trim around the 4-airducts, to the trim around the racy instrument cluster, gear box trim and gear stick shifter, to the center stack with aluminum pulls on the side, to the aluminum trim on the glove box. The Audi TT is aluminum intensive on the inside like no other sports car I have driven.

Under the flip-down/flip-up aluminum cover on the center stack is the very powerful Premium Bose audio system with an AM-FM stereo radio, 6-CD in-dash player and 7-Bose speakers. Other features equipment in this fully loaded roadster include power windows/door locks, electronic climate control with pollen filter, heated seats, electronic cruise control, remote keyless entry, 20sec. up or down, power-cloth top with glass rear window and defogger, map lamps, and vario-speed wipers/washers including front lamp washers. I was surprised to notice that the top had no head-liner to keep most of the outside noise out when riding with the top up, plus the boot to cover the top when down was not mechanical, but you had to attach it by hand. You see the power top with power boot on convertibles from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, and Saab.

The Audi TT turbo-charged Quattro roadster is one of the safest sports cars to be driving in with standard with next-generation front airbags, thorax/head side airbags, 3-point seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, front/rear crush zones, steel beam in each door, dual power side-mirrors with defogger on driver’s side and central locking system with alarm. If you want the sun in your face and the wind in your hair while enjoying an exciting drive through curving roads and on long empty stretches of highway, with a large dose of luxury found only in more expensive sedans and coupes, then take a test drive in a new Audi TT Turbo-Charged Quattro roadster.


More on Audi at More photos from Harvey Schwartz at


Price as tested: $42,725.00 Engine: 1.8liter, 20-valve DOHC 4-cylinder engine with cast iron block/aluminum heads, sequential electronic fuel injection, electronic throttle Horsepower: 225 at 5,900rpm Torque: 204 at 2,200-5,500rpm Transmission: 6-speed manual suspension Front: MacPherson gas struts, 3-point lower control arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar Rear: Parallelogram multi-link independent with gas charged shocks, coil springs, stabilizer bar Tires: Continental 225/40ZR18in. high-performance tires Wheels: 18X7.5in. cast alloy Brakes front: 12.3in. vented rotors/dual piston calipers, rear: 10.0in. vented rotors/single piston caliper, ABS, rear brake pressure proportioning Overall length: 159.1in. Overall width: 73.1in. Overall Height: 53.0in. Curb weight: 3,472lbs. EPA: 20mpg/city, 29mpg highway 0-60mph: 6.3sec. 1/4mi.: 14.4sec. at 94.4mph

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