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Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

From launch there are three engines taking care of Audi TT Roadster performance – one diesel with 181bhp, the 2-litre TFSi petrol with 227bhp and the hot TTS’s 2-litre TFSi boosted further to 306bhp.

Petrol engines

At the ‘bottom’ of the TT range is the turbocharged 2-litre petrol engine, which produces 227bhp at 4,500rpm, alongside a healthy 370Nm of torque from just 1,600rpm. Lasting until 4,300rpm, that gives the Audi TT roadster a strong spread of performance, and while the 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds (5.6 seconds for the quattro S tronic automatic) is impressive, it’s the mid-range flexibility that leaves the lasting impression.

Certainly there’s always plenty of urge for overtaking, and reaching the legal limit - from a motorway slip-road for example - is deceptively quick. The engine is smooth and refined too, though not particularly loaded with character.

Driven back-to-back with the TTS though, it still feels purposefully quick – choose this ‘entry-level’ car and you’ll never feel short-changed. That said, the figures do not lie, and the TTS with its extra 80bhp accelerates up to one second quicker from 0-62mph (5.2 seconds for the manual, and 4.9 seconds for the S tronic). Be in no doubt this is a quick car, though it only boasts 10Nm more than the entry-level car, and the same as the 2.0-litre Ultra Diesel.

With standard quattro four-wheel drive it can deploy that performance without drama though, whether you’re travelling in a straight line or turning a corner.

Diesel engines

For now there’s only one diesel engine available in the Audi TT roadster; the 2-litre Ultra Diesel with 181bhp and 380Nm of torque, which accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. At launch this car is only available with front-wheel drive, though later we can expect a quattro model to join the line-up.

The wall of torque, which comes on stream from just 1,750rpm, means mid-range acceleration is a match for its more powerful petrol brethren. And while the Ultra Diesel may not be the most natural choice of powerplant for this Roadster, it suits the car’s relaxed, long-legged but brisk nature. The incredible economy (65.7mpg) and efficiency (114g/km) isn’t a bad compromise either.

Gearboxes

Both six-speed, there’s a manual and S tronic automatic available. Save for an over-sized gearknob and slightly long throw, the manual is pleasant enough to use and has well-spread ratios. The same goes for the S tronic, with clean, quick shifts and only an occasional propensity to over-drop cogs when requesting hard acceleration. Paddle shifts on the back of the steering wheel do the job of changing gears manually, though don’t have the tactility of some rivals’ systems.

Regardless of whether you choose a front-wheel drive or quattro four-wheel drive Audi TT Roadster, you’ll be impressed with the grip levels on offer from the forgiving MQB chassis. Even the front-wheel drive cars hang on tenaciously through the corners, and you can really lean on its abilities. If it does break away from you it’s safe and progressive understeer (the front begins to wash wide) – if only the progressive steering offered a little more early feedback for when the front rubber was about to relinquish its grip.

Clearly if you do decide to drive the quattro instead, the grip levels are even higher and you can carry extra speed into a given corner. Audi’s engineering bosses talk of a neutral, and even slightly over-steering (tail-happy) chassis should you want it. Truth be told it feels less nose heavy than previous models, but steering from the rear takes massive commitment and never feels particularly natural.

If you can afford the sporty TTS then Magnetic Ride adaptive damping is standard, and constantly adapts to the road conditions or user requirements – the Drive Select allows owners to toggle between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual modes on the move. You can completely turn the ESP system off in the TT, though poor weather meant we opted for the half-way house ESP Sport mode only. It still allows an entertaining amount of slip without allowing the car, or more specifically the driver, to get carried away.

But it’s not a proper sportscar – a Porsche Boxster stands head and shoulders above the TT Roadster for driver involvement and feedback – and visceral thrills are not its A-game. It’s a car, especially in TTS quattro guise, to flatter its driver. No matter their behind-the-wheel ability. For many this composed, assured and capable nature will be perfect for their needs, and on an unfamiliar backroad the confidence it inspires is addictive, if not all that exciting or enveloping.