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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi TT have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Fiat 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The TT has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
The TT has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The TT has standard Parking System to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
The TT offers an optional Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the TT and the 500 Cabrio have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.
The Audi TT weighs 632 to 890 pounds more than the Fiat 500 Cabrio. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
The TT’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 500 Cabrio’s (12 vs. 5 years).
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the TT’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500 Cabrio’s camshaft. If the 500 Cabrio’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the TT has a standard 140-amp alternator. The 500 Cabrio’s 120-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
The battery on the TT is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the TT’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The 500 Cabrio’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the TT’s reliability 56 points higher than the 500 Cabrio.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 125 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.
The TT has more powerful engines than the 500 Cabrio:
TT 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
TTS 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
TT RS Coupe 2.5 turbo 5 cyl.
500 Cabrio 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.
500c Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.
500c Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.
The TT has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500 Cabrio (14.5 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Audi TT comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 500 Cabrio.
The TT offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer an SMG.
All-wheel drive, available in the TT, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all-wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Fiat 500 Cabrio is not available with all-wheel drive.
The TT RS’ launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the TT’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500 Cabrio:
TT 45 TSFI
TT RS Coupe
The TTS Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the 500 Cabrio are solid, not vented.
The TT RS offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.
For better traction, the TT has larger standard tires than the 500 Cabrio (245/40R18 vs. 195/45R16). The TTS/RS’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500 Cabrio (255/30R20 vs. 205/40R17).
The TT 45 TSFI’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500 Cabrio’s standard 45 series tires. The TTS/RS’ optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the 500c Abarth’s optional 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TT 45 TSFI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 500 Cabrio. The TTS/RS’ optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels optional on the 500c Abarth.
The Audi TT’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500 Cabrio only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
For superior ride and handling, the Audi TT has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Fiat 500 Cabrio has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The TT has standard front gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The 500 Cabrio’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The TT has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the TT flat and controlled during cornering. The 500 Cabrio base model’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The TT offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 500 Cabrio’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the TT’s wheelbase is 8 inches longer than on the 500 Cabrio (98.6 inches vs. 90.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the TT is 6.4 inches wider in the front and 6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 500 Cabrio.
The TT’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.7% to 39.3%) than the 500 Cabrio’s (64% to 36%). This gives the TT more stable handling and braking.
The TT 2.0 TSFI Roadster executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 4.8 seconds quicker than the 500c Lounge (24.7 seconds vs. 29.5 seconds).
For better maneuverability, the TT’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the 500 Cabrio’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.6 feet). The TT RS Coupe’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the 500 Cabrio’s (36 feet vs. 37.6 feet).
The design of the Audi TT amounts to more than styling. The TT offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .3 to .32 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the 500 Cabrio (.352 to .362). A more efficient exterior helps the TT go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the TT get better fuel mileage.
The TT Roadster has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 500 Cabrio (7.5 vs. 5.4 cubic feet).
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the TT. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The TT uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 500 Cabrio uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the TT is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 500 Cabrio. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Fiat. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 114% lower rating, Fiat is ranked 31st.
To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the TT has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.
The TT’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 500 Cabrio has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The TT’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 500 Cabrio’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
The TT’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500 Cabrio’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
If the windows are left open on the TT the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the 500 Cabrio can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
Audi Advanced Key standard on the TT allows you to unlock the driver’s door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
The TT has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
The TT’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 500 Cabrio’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the TT to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
The TT has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500 Cabrio doesn’t offer automatic headlights.
The TT has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 500 Cabrio offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Audi TT comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Fiat 500 isn’t available as a coupe.
The TT will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the TT will retain 45.66% to 46.08% of its original price after five years, while the 500 Cabrio only retains 27.7% to 34.14%.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi TT, based on reliability, safety and performance.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.