What is it?
The new TT Roadster, the drop-top version of Audi's iconic sportster. This is the 3.2-litre V6 version, which comes with standard Quattro four-wheel drive.
What's it like?
Even in pouring rain that prevents us from driving with the hood down, the new Roadster looks expensive. It might have lost the purity of the old car's design, but it now seems more sophisticated.
It is: the spaceframe body is a clever weight-saving blend of 58 per cent aluminium and 42 per cent steel. Model for model, it weighs 75kg less than the old car.
Inside, it feels less like a concept car made real, but a bit more comfortable. The cabin is easily the best in the class. But then the TT always felt special, until you drove it. Not any more. The steering is linear and accurate, if still not especially communicative, and the chassis is a whole heap better. There's tons of grip, too.
We tried both a dual-clutch S-Tronic version without Magnetic Ride (a £1150 option), and a manual car with the trick dampers. Magnetic Ride works well – leave it off and you have surprisingly comfortable cushioning on motorways and B-roads; switch it on and you get a much tauter set-up.
As for S-Tronic, I still don't really reckon it offers more than a decent auto 'box; it's at its best when left to its own devices. Also, the gearlever is counter-intuitive for manual shifts, as you have to push forward to go up a gear and back to go down, and the wheel-mounted paddles are fiddly.
But S-Tronic could be worth its £1400 price, especially for company car users. It improves official economy figures from 27.2 to 29.7mpg combined and lowers CO2 from 250 to 227g/km. It also takes 0.2sec off the 0-62mph time.
Should I buy one?
We'd certainly recommend trying one. The new TT still isn't the best-driving roadster (both Boxster and 350Z are better), but it's no slouch and a refined cruiser to boot. The TT no longer trades on looks alone. This is a seriously good all-rounder, no matter what the weather.