The chassis, for one. The old roadster was never an inspiring drive. Its Mk4 Golf platform was too flexible for that. So Audi has turned conventional thinking on its head for the new version, combining different materials and construction methods on one platform: the inner wings, suspension towers, front chassis rails and part of the front bulkhead are made of light and rigid cast aluminium; huge, multi-walled aluminium extrusions are used for the sills, floorpan reinforcements and for a bracing bar between the front suspension towers; and stamped aluminium sheet is used for the inner wing mounts, windscreen surround, floorpan and rear wings.
The really clever bit is that steel has been incorporated too: the rear floorpan and inner wings are made of conventional pressed steel, and there’s a massive steel bulkhead behind the seats. The upshot is a 120 percent improvement in torsional rigidity and an appealingly low weight – while the use of heavier steel allows for a more even distribution.
Skin-wise, the new roadster lacks the visual discipline of the outgoing model; Audi has gone down the road of styling rather than pure design. That said, it will get a pavement-side reception usually reserved for Porsches: it looks very expensive and is clearly beautifully made.