2001 Audi TT Preview

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The Car Connection Expert Review

by Jim Kenzie

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The white-haired gentleman in the courtyard of the Royal Arms Hotel was mightily impressed when he saw the Audi TT roadster, in gunmetal gray with the brown "catcher's mitt" interior.

"What is that?" he inquired. "It's gorgeous!"

Then the valet brought his car up – a Lincoln Town Car with a faux convertible vinyl roof.

It takes all kinds – Phoenix is the capital of the faux convertible vinyl roof universe – but this scenario indicates that the Audi TT Roadster appeals to all kinds.

Given that few cars look better than the Audi TT Coupe, and few coupes look worse with their roofs cut off, this should not come as a great surprise.

However, the Roadster is not simply a coupe that has been, um, coupe'ed. The two body styles were developed simultaneously, although the open version was shown as a concept car a bit after the coupe.

There's actually a fair amount of difference between the cars. The Roadster makes no pretense of being anything but a two-seater (not that real human beings could sit in the back of the coupe anyway). There isn't even space behind the front seats of the roadster to store anything – the room is all taken up with the well which holds the folded roof. Three cubby bins in the rear firewall, two of them lockable, provide some storage space. One is taken up by the CD changer, when fitted.

The Roadster also isn't a hatchback – the smallish trunk lid reveals a cozy storage area which, while it might not take Tiger Woods-sized golf clubs, did by actual experience of a fellow journalist, handle the soft-sided luggage needed for a weekend getaway.

The road to convertible-ization

The appeal of convertibles is obvious – wind-in-the hair motoring is the way to go.

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