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The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: 2011 Audi TT TFSI quattro roadster puts room in the vroom

Lyra, who always wanted to drive Audi's TT, brought high expectations to the little convertible. Peter, never particularly impressed with the roadster's styling, had few expectations. The end result: Lyra was disappointed, while Peter loved the car. Go figure.

Appearance: The squat roadster sits on 18-inch tires and has a wide stance that recalls Audi's R8 supercar, which we loved. The TT's design, however, is simple, with fender flares and a backward-sweeping body crease as its only sheet-metal flourishes. The black grille, which got tweaked for 2011, is trimmed in chrome, and Audi's signature LED "eyeliner" lights are sharp.

Performance: Here's what we agreed on: The 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic shifted flawlessly. We always prefer a manual transmission, but this automatic was almost as fun. For a small roadster, the TT absorbs bumps well and has a firm, composed ride. There's also an auto-deployed spoiler and, of course, Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. The 2-liter, 211-horsepower 4-cylinder is more than enough power (0-60 in 5.6 seconds) for the small car, which has an exhaust note that is subtle and throaty. Here's what we didn't agree on: Lyra was let down by the "significant" turbo lag; Peter felt it was only "slight." The steering was a "bit too light" for Lyra's taste, while Peter thought it gave just the right amount of feedback.

Interior: We may have disagreed on the car's performance, but we are unified on the well-appointed interior. The Nappa leather seats are well-bolstered and comfortable. Our tester had bright red seats that contrasted beautifully with the rich black exterior. The instrument gauges are simple and uncluttered yet easy to read. The flat-bottom steering wheel might take some getting used to for some. Peter drove the TT to Miami and he had enough head- and legroom. Impressive. And he arrived in South Florida not feeling like a pretzel. Another surprise: The TT's trunk, even with the folding soft top, actually had enough room for the bags he and his wife took on their weekend getaway. That's impressive for a small convertible. A few nits: The storage panel behind seats felt a bit plasticky considering the rest of the interior; the driver's floor mat was flimsy and popped easily off its anchor. We both spent time popping it back on.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Transmission: I really liked the automatic and would love to try the manual.

Handling: Zippy and composed — a joy to drive.

Trunk: While not large, it does have some actual room.

Lyra Solochek

Protection: Front, head/thorax and knee airbags plus side intrusion protection and roll bars.

Profile: The roadster looks slick with top up or down.

Seats: Bright red seats and interior trim scream "sports car."

The bottom line: Says Lyra: "If you're looking for a true performance car, you'll probably be disappointed." Peter: "It's a lot of fun and sent me online to price used models. I can always dream."









2011 Audi TT TFSI quattro roadster

Price: $38,300 coupe base, $41,300 roadster base, $50,245 as tested

Powertrain: 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder with turbo, TFSI direct injection, S tronic 6-speed automatic with dual-clutch gearbox, quattro all-wheel-drive system

Horsepower: 211 at 4,300-6,000 rpm

Torque: 258 pound-

feet at 1,600-4,200 rpm

Seats: 2

Curb weight: 3,241 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 97.2

Length, 165.4

Width, 72.5

Fuel economy:

22 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway

Fuel type:

Premium unleaded

Safety features: Front, head/thorax, and knee airbags, rigid body shell, side intrusion protection, roll bars, ABS, anti-slip regulation, electronic stabilization

Website: models.audiusa.com/

tt-roadster

The Daily Drivers: 2011 Audi TT TFSI quattro roadster puts room in the vroom 06/03/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2011 5:30am]

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