Audi just did the impossible – the third generation TT coupe is better than ever…
Originally launched in 1998, the TT is one of the world’s best loved sports cars.
Some say the new car doesn’t look much different to the outgoing model, but get up close and personal and the curves have become creases and it’s blossomed into a thing of beauty. The S Line version I drove even had a hint of aggression.
Slip inside and the revelations begin. Minimalist and definitely more revolution than evolution, it’s an interior like no other. Audi calls it a “Virtual Cockpit”.
In one fell swoop, Audi’s men and women in white coats have replaced the traditional dashboard with a state-of-the art digital display AND devised clever new all-in-one air vents.
The dashboard dials and instruments have now morphed into a single 12.3-inch 3D digital display which switches between sat nav, speedo, car settings and audio, leaving the centre console free of multimedia. The functions are controlled by buttons on the steering wheel or a rotary knob just behind the gear selector.
Of course, this means the driver can stay focused on the road, but it will leave some passengers used to fiddling with gadgets slightly frustrated.
The digital dash is incredibly intuitive and I can’t help feeling it’s the way all cars will be in a few years.
The climate control is also very clever, condensing all manner of switches and dials into single units. Hard to explain, but basically the digital temperature readout, boost and heated seat controls are now contained within the circular vents themselves.
All this and we haven’t even got to the fun bit – the TT is great to drive too.
I drove the 2.0 TFSI Quattro S line S Tronic, which means it has a two-litre turbocharged petrol engine, four-wheel-drive, a six-speed automatic gearbox – and it’s packed with gadgets.
Press the Start button and it’s refined, put your foot down and it’s still smooth with the odd engine pop on gear changes if you try really hard.
Glance at the speedo and you’ll see you’re close to the legal limit. This car is quick. It’ll reach 62mph in just 5.3 seconds and tops out at 155mph.
Lower your rear view mirror slightly and you’ll even see the concealed spoiler rise when the TT tops goes over a certain speed!
Switch the Audi’s Drive Select system to Dynamic mode and the TT turns aggressive with a sportier set-up and exhaust growl.
Whether you’re cruising on a motorway, weaving round country roads or driving in town, the TT is an exhilarating experience, without being too much of a handful.
The grip is amazing – try as I might, I couldn’t get any of the wheels to spin, while the steering and gearbox are a joy.
Beautifully comfortable seats, a superb driving position, excellent visibility and an awesome Bang and Olufsen sound system make the cockpit a lovely place to be.
My test car came with a lot of extras which bumped the price up to £46,185, but even without them, the basic £34,545 is very good value.
Among the extras were Audi’s Matrix LED Headlights which don’t just look mean – they’re a great safety feature too, lighting up the road ahead at night like no other headlights.
No car is perfect and the Audi is no different. The rear seats seem pretty pointless to me because there’s no way even a child could sit in them unless the driver is equally small.
That said, the boot has a 305-litre capacity – 13 litres more than before – which can be increased to 712 litres by folding down the rear seats.
Parking is slightly nerve-wracking. Not just because you’re paranoid about kerbing the impressive alloys, but because its haunches are difficult to judge. Beeps help, but a rear view camera wouldn’t go amiss.
Audi claims the TT is capable of 44.1mpg, but you would have to be very restrained to achieve that. In reality I think it’s closer to 30mpg.
Starting at £29,770, the Audi TT range is a class act. Stylish, safe, pioneering, beautifully built and competitively priced, it’s a coupe that will go on rewarding you the more you live with it – and hold its value better than any of its competitors.