There’s no Quattro all-wheel drive option with the TDI and it comes with a manual gearbox only, but neither feels like much of a loss. There’s enough traction for all but the most greasy situations and the six-speed ‘box is slick enough to remind us of the pleasures we’re missing when opting for modern paddle-shift dual-clutch automatics.
To counter the roof chop the Roadster naturally has extra strengthening - in the A-pillars and across the floorpan to be precise. However, thanks to a composite aluminium and steel chassis it’s still a relative featherweight, and it feels it to drive. Agile and happy to change direction, the body always stays well controlled, even as we pressed on through the challenging B-roads of our Cotswolds test route.
As the miles pile on one word keeps cropping up: effortless. Whether you’re contemplating the engine, gearbox or chassis, everything about the TT Roadster is simply effortless and undemanding, right down to the light but direct variable-rack steering and well assisted, progressive brakes.
Is there a catch; a sting in the tail? No, not really. Push on too much and you’ll find some understeer, but that’s about it. Perhaps sometimes you might wish it had some edge to it, to make things more exciting, but we suspect the majority of buyers will be happy with it as it is.
The extra bracing keeps the body free from shimmy, even in S line trim with 10mm taken out of the ride height and on 19in wheels. In this guise you get the odd thump over large potholes, but otherwise it’s firm but compliant. The Sport model on standard suspension and 18in rims offers the best comfort. Neither set-up felt hugely bettered with the optional adaptive dampers added.
In TTS guise, it feels monstrously grippy and neutral with the added safety net of Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive. It’s perhaps a bit of a shame that there isn’t a touch more sparkle to the handling near the limit.
The TTS is still inclined to understeer first, and there’s not quite the willingness to be steered on the throttle that you’ll enjoy in the Golf R, which shares many of this car’s oily bits. Still, you can turn the car in with a bit of lift-off oversteer fairly easily, and body control is well-sorted enough that weight-transfer doesn’t get in the way.
Even better, this spirited handling hasn’t come at the cost of jarringly uncomfortable ride. Granted, even with the suspension set to 'maximum-cosset' the TTS Roadster shivers over patched-up roads and thumps over expansion joints and the like, but it's supple enough to keep you happy most of the time.