Slightly less energetic but still more than worthy. Push this 1.8 hard and it revels in being revved, and side by side with the 2.0 the gap doesn't feel as big as the on-paper figures suggest. Of course, dragging the 1.8 from low revs and using the Roadster's fairly long gearing requires more patience than with the 2.0, but it always feels warm-hatch quick when taken by the scruff of the neck. The only thing missing is a rasping soundtrack like the 2.0's.
Yet that omission only aids the 1.8's refinement; it's wonderfully smooth across its rev range and near silent at a cruise. Roof up, the Roadster's biggest issue is road noise, especially on the motorway, but roof down (which takes just 10sec at up to 31mph) and with the side windows up, the Roadster does a good job of keeping those on board out of the wind.
Ride and handling remain impressive rather than scintillating, with the former being as good as it's likely to be on any Roadster. Our Sport model wore standard 18in wheels and sat on standard non-adjustable suspension, both of which ensure a firm but compliant ride which faltered over only the most rugged surfaces.
The A-pillar and floorplan strengthening the Roadster receives over the hard-top TT helps it to feel brilliantly stiff and, together with light but quick steering and high grip levels, this is an agile, faithful car that has the ability to gratify. Yes, this is a front-wheel-drive car that will stray at its front axle if pushed too hard, and it can be a little predictable if you prefer your roadsters to be rear-wheel drive. But is it engaging? Certainly.
From the driver's seat, if you’re extremely long-legged, you might prefer to have your seat slid a bit farther back, but the chances are that drivers of most shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable, thanks to lots of adjustment to the supportive seat and steering wheel. You’ll have no problem working out the dashboard controls, because there are only a handful of clearly labelled buttons set neatly into the fascia.
All Roadsters feature Audi's 12.3in Virtual Cockpit colour display where you’d normally expect to find the instrument dials. Audi's MMI infotainment system is easy to use; you control it via a large rotary dial between the seats and there are also handy shortcut buttons to take you directly to specific functions. The Roadster’s interior really is special, too, with high-quality and solid-feeling materials throughout.
Boot space is quite a bit smaller than that of the TT Coupé, but you’ll still fit more in it than you would in a BMW Z4's or a Mercedes SLC's. What’s more, the size of the load area stays the same whether the hood is up or down, whereas many rivals with folding metal roofs eat into their load space.