The third generation of Audi TT is already on the market as a coupe, but the roadster version is going to be oficially unveiled only on 2014 Paris Motorshow. Where the open-top TT is going to make a statement in front of another well-known roadster: the Mercedes-Benz SLK. The SLK is also a third generation model, but is three year older than the new TT Roadster. It’s design is very mature and resembles a lot like a SL-junior, which means SLK is got plenty of sobriety and elegance, but in a more agile form.
In the meantime, the new TT Roadster looks more like a facelift of the previous model, with a more agressive front end, but the same compact overall dimensions. There is, however, a huge difference between the two cars: TT is based on the VW’s MQB front-wheel drive platform, while the SLK is a rear-wheel drive car – so the Mercedes roadster has a longer bonnet and a shorter back, which means another type of sensations behind the wheel.
Audi TT has the option of quattro all-wheel drive on the petrol 2.0 TFSI 230 HP, while the other engine, 2.0 TDI 184 HP, remains only as a front-wheel drive manual six, for the moment. In the near future, Audi will launch a new TTS Roadster (310 HP). The SLK has a wider range of engines and transmissions: the petrol engines are 200 BlueEfficiency (1.8 turbo 184 HP), 250 BlueEfficiency (1.8 turbo 204 HP), 350 BlueEfficiency (3.5 V6 306 HP) and, of course, the mighty SLK 55 AMG (5.5 V8 turbo 421 HP); SLK has also a diesel unit, 250 CDI BlueEfficiency (2.2 litres 204 HP), which is also available with a 7 speed automatic gearbox.
The roof of the two models is also different: while the Mercedes-Benz SLK is loyal to the retractable hard-top, the Audi TT is still betting on the soft-top, which may not be as good looking as a hardtop, but means less kilograms (39 kg, that is 3 kg less than its predecessor), which is important when we take into account the weight od the quattro system. Both cars are said to be very rigid, but the Audi’s soft-top can be folded in just 10 seconds, while the SLK’s hardtop needs 20 seconds for a complete cycle. But, when the cars ar closed, SLK offers the unique MAGIC SKY CONTROL, a glass roof that switches to light or dark at the touch of a button.
Interesting, TT Roadster and SLK have the same aerodynamic Cd of 0.30, but the boot capacities vary: when the cars are open, Audi’s 280 litres prevails over the 225 litres of SLK, which, in turn, can increase the space for luggages to 335 litres, when the roof is up. The most dynamic TT Roadster is the TTS (310 HP), which has an acceleration from still to 100 km/h of 4.9 seconds, not far from the 4.6 second of the most powerful SLK 55 AMG. The most frugal TT Roadster is the diesel variant (4,3 l/100 km), while the SLK 250 CDI is a little bit more thirsty (4.8 l/100 km).
Both cars have a wide range of luxury and high-tech options, but they are very well differentiated: the TT Roadster is oriented toward gadgets fans (who are going to be dazzled by the display that replaces the conventional cluster behind the wheel), while the SLK’s cockpyt is much more official, appealing a more mature public. Both cars can be equiped with an electronically controlled suspension, but for the TT Roadster it is available only for the TTS variant.
The base price for the new Audi TT Roadster is 37.900 euros (in Germany), which is the same with the most accessible Mercedes-Benz SLK, which starts from 39.359 euros (also in Germany), but is less powerful than the basic TT Roadster. We’ll see the next summer who will prevail in terms of sales: the new-kid-on-the-block Audi TT Roadster or the mature and elegant Mercedes-Benz SLK?