By now you should know what to expect from a 2.0-litre Audi TT but this third generation model still has a few surprises up it sleeve. Jonathan Crouch reports
Ten Second Review
The Audi TT coupe is a strong contender with a 2.0 TFSI engine under the bonnet. Choose front or all-wheel drive chassis, manual or S tronic transmissions and Sport or S line trims. Even the entry-level model will get through 62mph in just 6 seconds, hit 155mph and yet it'll still return almost 48mpg.
Old motoring tropes can take a long time to overcome. Take the Audi TT as an example. When it was first launched back in 1998, it was criticised for being a dangerous handler. It wasn't at all. Audi just credited its drivers with some understanding of chassis dynamics which was an altogether different mistake. Responding to the outcry, Audi took all the edges off the TT's handling repertoire, whereupon the car was derided for being safe and dull to drive. I guess that's what kids these days would call a facepalm scenario. Over the years, Audi has quietly sharpened up the TT's act. I had the opportunity to drive the last TT RS back to back with the universally lauded Porsche Cayman S and concluded that were you to never take your car on a race track, the Audi was probably the more attractive ownership proposition for most. It wasn't a popular opinion amongst fellow journos. Audi's back with the third generation TT and the 2.0-litre petrol engine is the powerplant that the range hinges around. Does it offer anything for keen drivers?
Look under the bonnet and you'll find much the same 2.0 TFSI petrol unit you'll find in more powerful versions of the Golf GTI, tuned in this instance to 230PS. The TT rides on much the same MQB chassis as the godlike GTI too and you can even get a front-wheel drive version if you want an upgrade Golf GTI coupe that's not called a Scirocco. Most UK buyers will probably be drawn to the all-weather grip of the quattro all-wheel drive platform, but there's something to be said for both chassis layouts. A lot in fact. This is now a seriously capable driver's car. Both will hit a top speed of 155mph, with the manual front-wheel drive car getting to 62mph in 6.0 seconds and the S tronic twin-clutch quattro model taking a mere 5.3s. The quattro drivetrain has come in for some upgrades to increase driver involvement. By networking quattro drive with Audi drive select, the driver of the Audi TT can adjust the operating parameters of the all-wheel-drive system to suit his or her individual requirements. In "auto" mode, optimum traction and balanced driving dynamics are given priority. In "dynamic" mode, torque is distributed to the rear axle earlier and to a higher degree. In the drive select "efficiency" mode the system can temporarily shut down the quattro system if conditions suit this. Audi's magnetic ride adaptive damper control system is available as an option. Compared with the previous version, Audi magnetic ride has been improved in terms of characteristic spread, control dynamics and precision as well as user friendliness. In other words, you'll really be able to tell it's working when you press the button. The body is lowered by 10 mm in S line versions, or if the Audi magnetic ride system is fitted.
Design and Build
One thing's for sure. Even if you'd never seen this car before, you'd know it was an Audi TT. Some commentators have been a little disappointed in how safe Audi has played the exterior styling and I'd count myself as one of them. It's still a handsome car but it looks like a midlife facelift of the second generation model more than an all-new piece of design. The big front grille gives the car a meaner look and there are some lovely details. The fuel flap on the right side panel is the classic circle surrounded by socket screws. This shape is again reminiscent of the first-generation TT, although here there is no filler cap beneath the flap. This means that there is nothing to be unscrewed and the pump nozzle slots straight into the tank neck. The interior, on the other hand, is a real piece of work. Pure, clean lines dominate and seen from above, the instrument panel resembles the wing of an aircraft; the round air vents - a classic TT feature - are reminiscent of jet engines with their turbine-like design. The vents also contain all the controls for the air conditioning system, including seat heating where applicable, temperature, direction, air distribution and air flow strength; as an option they can also house small digital displays which show the chosen setting. A 2+2, the TT Coupe gets a load area with a capacity of 305-litres, which is 13-litres more than before, and can be extended by folding the rear seat backrests forwards.
Market and Model
Prices kick off at £29,860 for the front-wheel drive TT 2.0 Sport coupe with a manual transmission. Go for the S tronic version of this car and you'll need to fork out £31,355. Then you can upgrade to the S line trim which will set you back £32,410 for a manual coupe. Prefer drive going to all four tyres? Then you're going to have to like S Tronic because that's all that's offered. The quattro coupe in Sport trim opens at £32,785 with the S line version pitched at £35,335. In case you were wondering, Roadster models are just over two grand dearer again. All versions of the TT Coupe come with the MMI radio and the electromechanical parking brake. Alongside the S sports seat with various leather and trim variants, options include the advanced key, hill hold assist, high-beam assist, the LED interior lighting package, front seat heating, and the storage and luggage compartment package. The connectivity package features the touchpad-based MMI touch system. At the top of the modular range is the MMI Navigation plus with its flash memory, two card readers, DVD drive, Bluetooth interface and voice control system. The Sport trim features 17-inch alloys as standard, while 18s and 19s are available at extra cost. Quattro models can be optioned with 20-inch wheels. The S line specification gets its own look for the bumpers, air intakes, grille, sills and rear diffuser, plus larger wheels and the no-cost option of 10mm lower sports suspension.
Cost of Ownership
The TT has always been one of those cars where once you'd stumped up the asking price, ongoing costs were agreeably modest. This latest model continues that trend. Even if you opt for this punchy 230PS petrol engine, you'll get 41.5mpg and 159g/km from the quattro model with the S tronic box. When the Audi drive select system is set to its 'efficiency' mode, the S tronic transmission decouples and 'freewheels' each time the driver takes his or her foot off the throttle pedal. The front-wheel drive manual car's numbers are 47.9mpg and 137g/km. All up, the TT 2.0 TFSI weighs just 1,230kg thanks to the extensive use of aluminium chassis members, body panels and suspension componentry. Buyers get a three year 60,000 mile warranty and residual values look extremely strong indeed. Still want that Cayman?
The Audi TT coupe is a strong contender with a 2.0 TFSI engine under the bonnet. Choose front or all-wheel drive chassis, manual or S tronic transmissions and Sport or S line trims. Even the entry-level model will get through 62mph in just 6 seconds, hit 155mph and yet it'll still return almost 48mpg. Look under the bonnet and you'll find much the same 2.0 TFSI petrol unit you'll find in more powerful versions of the Golf GTI, tuned in this instance to 230PS. The TT rides on much the same MQB chassis as the godlike GTI too and you can even get a front-wheel drive version if you want an upgrade Golf GTI coupe that's not called a Scirocco. Most UK buyers will probably be drawn to the all-weather grip of the quattro all-wheel drive platform, but there's something to be said for both chassis layouts. A lot in fact. This is now a seriously capable driver's car. Both will hit a top speed of 155mph, with the S tronic twin-clutch quattro model taking a mere 5.3s.