Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Cabriolet – Eeny, Meeny…


Wasn’t there a time when Top Gear was all about cars? I seem to remember it was quite good, post Noel Edmunds that is, before the BBC turned it into light comedy cash cow.

Sour grapes? No. I worked on TV with Hammond for a while and he was a true pro. James May is a good foil for Clarkson, while big JC himself writes cracking copy in the Sunday Times.

I just think Top Gear is way past its sell by date and needs a total revamp. Perhaps a spot of dumbing up is in order – and a very large gag for JC’s gob. No wonder he is frowned upon around here in the Cotswolds.

And the Audi TT Cabriolet? This is what Clarkson said…

“Then there’s the biggest problem of them all – the problem of being in an Audi TT when you are not called Angela. I do not know why it can be driven by only people named Angela, but that’s a fact and there’s nothing we can do about it. If you have a TT and you aren’t called Angela, you have the wrong car.”

Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Cabriolet – Geoff Capes Need Not Apply…

AU_078_sI’m not sure why God created the Midlands. He obviously wasn’t a petrol head because the roads are terrible – especially if you are travelling across country, rather than to the north, or south.

The whole A-road network around Birmingham seems to consist of A-roads choked up with heavy goods vehicles, chugging along at 50mph, or oversize tractors which seem to have become the new caravan. Awful.

I’m just returned from a six hour slog to interview Geoff Capes, a former Commonwealth gold medallist and the World’s Strongest Man, twice. Geoff is now 27-stone and breeds budgies (it’s true) but he once appeared in a Volkswagen Polo commercial, lifting the supermini off the ground. He split ten pairs of trousers in the process.

Geoff now drives a Discovery and there’s no doubt he would have tossed the Audi TT to one side if I had blocked him in on the driveway. The TT isn’t a Geoff Capes sort of car but it’s roomy enough for a pipsqueak like me. Plus the folding soft top means the roof mechanism doesn’t eat into the boot space.

Size isn’t everything and the TT’s small cabin is perfect in every other way. Large blokes need not apply.



Tuesday – Attention To Detail


Here are a few random reasons why the 911 Cabriolet is the best soft-top on the market. First, when you open the door after a rainstorm, the water doesn’t drip in to the cabin. Does your car do that?

Second, if it rains when the top is down, provided you don’t come to a grinding stop, you will stay dry. Such are the aerodynamics of this car.

Thirdly, there is a second sat nav screen that pops up in the instrument binnacle when you come to a navigation instruction. So, you have an overall map in the main dashboard that affords a general view – then the second explains graphically where you need to turn.

And finally, the wind deflector really is a work of art. Instead of manually pulling a deflector out of the boot and fighting to install it at the roadside, this one works beautifully. The frame pops up automatically, then the fabric material stretches over it.

You see, it’s the attention to detail that makes a great car…

Saturday – Magnesium Sandwich Anybody?


That’s right – every 911 Cabriolet comes with a magnesium sandwich as standard. You won’t find it in the glovebox but in the roof. One of the reasons why it’s so easy to forget this is a convertible not a coupe is down to the design of the electric hood.

Design in a 911 Cabriolet has always been incredible but this latest model takes it to new levels. Sandwiched between the fabric components of the roof is a layer of magnesium, which forms a coupe-style hard top when it is in place.

The result is minimal road noise but just enough to let you and your passenger enjoy the rasp from the 3.4-litre engine behind you. It’s nothing short of remarkable – although I’d dread to think what it costs to replace!

God decided to make it rain for the last 48 hours in the south of England, so that roof is staying firmly in place. My only problem so far? Remembering the seventh gear in the manual gearbox. To be honest, if I was buying I’d opt for the auto -a round the town you need Fatima Whitbread‘s legs to work that heavy clutch pedal

Friday – Look At Me!


Just in case a 911 Cabriolet isn’t enough to get you noticed, Porsche has thoughtfully added the ‘Extrovert Button’. It’s right next to the gearstick and a quick press is guaranteed to turn every head in a 100 yard radius.

The sports exhaust system improves the car’s exhaust note by opening a flap in each of the twin exhaust system’s silencers. It turns the Cabriolet into a snarling beast – although why it’s not a standard feature on the latest 911 is rather surprising.

Shy, retiring types are unlikely to be driving a Porsche in the first place but having just returned from the Bath, I can tell you the 911 wouldn’t have been more conspicuous if I had Kate Moss siting naked next to me.

This latest version of the Cabriolet is around 60kg lighter than the old one and with a more powerful engine under the boot lid, it’s very fast indeed.

However, the best bit so far is the wind-blocker behind the driver’s seat. Wind-blockers are usually removed from a sports car and kept in the garage until the day you sell the car. In the 911, it pops up electronically from the hood well. Brilliant – and you can still hear yourself talking on the Bluetooth phone system at 65mph…