Is the new Audi TT Roadster the perfect contender for Mercedes-Benz SLK?

Mercedes-Benz SLK
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The third generation of Audi TT is already on the market as a coupe. But the roadster version is going to be officially unveiled only at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. 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 it 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. It comes with a more aggressive front end, but the same compact overall dimensions. There is, however, a huge difference between the two cars. The 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. This means another type of sensations behind the wheel.

Audi TT Roadster vs Mercedes-Benz SLK - Paris 2014 - Mercedesblog 1

The TT Roadster has only 2 petrols and one diesel for the moment, while Mercedes-Benz SLK doesn’t have the option for all-wheel-drive

Audi TT versus Mercedes-Benz SLK – engines

The Audi TT has the option of the quattro all-wheel drive on the petrol 2.0 TFSI 230 HP. Meanwhile, 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. There are 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 there is, of course, the mighty SLK 55 AMG (5.5 V8 turbo 421 HP). The SLK also has a diesel unit, 250 CDI BlueEfficiency (2.2 litres 204 HP), 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 that means less kilograms (39 kg, that is 3 kg less than its predecessor. Which is important when we take into account the weight of the quattro system. Both cars are very rigid. But the Audi’s soft-top can folded in just 10 seconds, while the SLK’s hardtop needs 20 seconds for a complete procedure. But, when the cars ar closed, the SLK offers the unique MAGIC SKY CONTROL. That is a glass roof that switches to light or dark at the touch of a button.

Audi TT Roadster vs Mercedes-Benz SLK - Paris 2014 - Mercedesblog 2

SLK: mature, official, classic-oriented. TT Roadster: gadget-boy, modern, high-tech oriented

Interesting, TT Roadster and SLK have the same aerodynamic Cd of 0.30. But the boot capacities vary. When the cars are open, the Audi’s 280 litres prevails over the 225 litres of SLK, which, in turn, can increase the space for luggage 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. That is 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). Meanwhile, the SLK 250 CDI is a little bit more thirsty (4.8 l/100 km).

Long list of optional equipment for both

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). The SLK’s cockpit is much more official, appealing a more mature public. Both cars can be equipped with an electronically controlled suspension. But for the TT Roadster it is available only for the TTS variant.

Audi TT Roadster vs Mercedes-Benz SLK - Paris 2014 - Mercedesblog 3

Audi TT Roadster remains more affordable than the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but SLK has more real roadster pedigree

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?