Audi has again opted for a fabric roof rather than fashionable folding metal for its second generation TT Roadster though the latest model now has fully automatic 'hands-free' operation.

The news model goes on sale in Europe before Charistmas and reaches RHD markets like the UK from next spring.

Like its coupé counterpart, the roadster has an hybrid Audi Space Frame (ASF) body shell blending 58% aluminium and 42% steel. Body rigidity has increased by 100%.

Audi said that sticking with the cloth hood minimises impact on the weight savings made through the new construction technology. The new hood, electrohydraulically powered, is both lighter than before through the use of a new steel and aluminium support framework, and more insulating thanks to an additional layer of soundproofing.

Incorporating a heated glass rear window, the soft top opens or closes in just 12 seconds, and can now be operated at speeds of up to 30mph. It stows more compactly due to a new Z-fold system which stacks the rigid front section of the roof on top of the cloth to form a cover, ensuring that the hood sits completely flush with the body and eliminating the need for a tonneau.

Operation is now also completely 'hands-free', with no need to attach or detach the hood to or from the windscreen rail. A mesh wind deflector is fitted as standard or optional according to market.

The new generation roadster initially will be powered by either the 2.0-litre Turbo FSI petrol engine with 200PS or the 3.2-litre V6 petrol unit with 250PS. In common with the coupé, 2.0 T FSI versions are front-wheel-driven, and the 3.2-litre models have quattro four-wheel-drive. Six-speed manual transmission is standard with the S tronic twin-clutch automatic transmission (formerly known as DSG) optional.

Germany is the biggest market for the TT coupe followed by Britain and both account for 50% of all sales. The US is third. Germany is top market for the TT convertible, with the US second.