Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet 2016 review
Paul Gover gets behind the wheel of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet at its international launch
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Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2017 Audi TTS roadster with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
We’ve just spent an enjoyable week behind the wheel of an Audi TTS roadster in our home areas in south-east Queensland. Winter obviously isn’t normally the season of choice for an open car. But the TTS’s heated seats, hot air blown onto our necks and a behind-the-seat air deflector let us travel in comfort during daylight hours.
The Audi TTS roadster follows the same successful styling theme as the new coupe, a solid evolution of the first generation model of 1999. We reckon its sharp lines and interlocking facets make it one of the best looking sports coupes and roadsters on the current market.
The soft top roof folds down between the cockpit and the luggage lid. Its top sits visibly when it is down and has some untidy looking areas about it. The water that enters these holes is drained away under the car.
Inside, the styling of the TTS roadster is neat and beautifully simple. We particularly like the turbine styling of the air vents and the way the controls for temperature, fan speed and air direction have been integrated into the centre of the vents. This minimises the number of controls on the rest of the dash, resulting in an ultra-clean look.
The Audi TTS comes to Australia with the company’s topline 210kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine. It has a big 380 Nm of torque that runs over an astonishing range from 1800 rpm all the way to 5700rpm.
The exhaust makes all the right burbling and spitting sounds as you zip up and down through the gears. Great fun.
The multimedia system is interesting in that there’s no central screen, rather it’s incorporated in what Audi calls a Virtual Cockpit directly in front of the driver. The VC can be viewed in different ways; big dials when you’re in a sporting mood, added information with smaller dials when your brain is in cruise mode. Sounds distracting? Thankfully, we found this not to be the case.
A clever feature is the mounting of the microphones into the safety belts. These are used to control the voice activation system as well as for mobile phone conversations.
ANCAP rates the Audi TTS as a four-star vehicle in both coupe and roadster format. Small roadsters often struggle to get maximum star ratings in safety testing because of limited cabin space and the difficulties of getting curtain airbags into them. ANCAP doesn’t take the ability of dynamic sportscars to stay clear of crashes in the first place.
A simple one-button operation of the soft-top roof takes a mere ten seconds, meaning you can do it at a red traffic light with time to spare. Or at speeds of up to 50 km/h if you want to show off while getting out of the carpark!
The seats support well without being overly aggressive. However, my six-foot frame was pretty close to the limit of what the TTS copes with. Indeed, in the passenger seat some extra degrees of recline would have been appreciated.
There’s good boot space at 280 litres and it’s capable of carrying a couple of cabin bags with some soft items around it. Certainly more than enough for weekends away.
Performance is very good, however the 90 kg weight increase in the roadster over the TTS coupe due to the necessity to strengthen the car in the underfloor area means it’s not as quite as quick as the coupe. A zero to 100 figure of 5.6 seconds is still exciting and very much in modern sportscar territory.
Throttle response is excellent with only minimal turbo lag. Once the TTS has all 380Nm of torque under your right foot there’s the sort of urge that makes overtaking a snack and hills almost cease to exist.
Gearchanges are very fast and when you select the dynamic mode the exhaust makes all the right burbling and spitting sounds as you zip up and down through the gears. Great fun.
Fuel consumption is impressively low for a full-on sportscar, sitting at around six to seven litres per hundred kilometres on motorways, seven to nine litres around town, and only jumping over 11 litres when given a real hiding on twisty, hilly roads.
The TTS sits 10mm lower than the standard TT. It has adjustable magnetic ride technology controlled through the Audi Drive Select system. Road holding is excellent with a nicely balanced feel at all times. The ability to steer the Audi TT on the throttle will be appreciated by keen drivers, particularly once you get the aforementioned 380Nm of torque on tap.
Ride is generally good, but big bumps can catch it out. Our least-favourite speed bumps in a nearby shopping centre carpark had to be taken at less than walking speed to prevent almighty crashing in the suspension.
Audi’s third-generation TTS roadster has excellent styling, heaps of performance from both the powertrain and chassis dynamics and will appeal to those looking for a second car that something out of the ordinary. Having said that, it can also work as a single car for couples.
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