New Audi TT – Lighter Faster and So Much Cooler

Audi TT | First Drive Review

Article and Images by - Peter Anderson

MyDrive | Audi Australia – It has been twenty years since the Audi TT’s sensational Frankfurt motor show debut in 1995. It went on to become a style icon, reintroducing the term Bauhaus to an ecstatic Audi fan base who were extremely pleased the brand had discovered style.

Plenty of non-Audi fans were happy too, with the car appealing to over half-a-million buyers since. With short lifecycles now the norm, the TT’s long lived two generations speak to the car’s evergreen popularity.

Neither of the first two were regarded as driver’s cars but Audi made a couple of valiant attempts with TT-S and TT-RS models.

The new model is lighter, faster and cooler. So much cooler.

VALUE

The Australian TT model range is super simple. Front or all-wheel drive quattro with a six speed manual or S-tronic dual clutch transmission.

The range kicks off at $71,950 for the six-speed manual front-wheel drive Sport, with the six speed S-tronic weighing in at $74,950.

Another $3000 will get you the quattro drivetrain and a 0.6 second quicker dash to 100km/h, at just 5.3 seconds. Jump to $85,450 and you’ll have yourself an S-Line quattro.

All Sport line TTs have the virtual cockpit, leather and alcantara interior, 18-inch alloy wheels with a choice of five or ten spoke designs, drive select, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera, keyless entry and start, xenon headlights with LED running lights, auto headlights and wipers, electric front seats and MMI music interface (with a standard USB port!)

The new model is lighter, faster and cooler. So much cooler

S-Line adds a spectacular pair of front seats with pneumatic adjustment and full leather, upgraded sound system, DAB digital radio, LED headlights and trick LED tail lights with animated indicators.

The animated indicators are a row of LEDs that instead of flashing pulse along the length of the row to indicate the intended direction change.

A plethora of options include two packages – Assistance and S-Line.

As well as some safety features, you get semi-autonomous parking for parallel and ninety-degree parks, high beam assist and heated and folding mirrors.

The S Line sport package adds S Line front and rear bumpers, sills and rear diffuser, S Line logos around the exterior and interior as well as trim changes.

DESIGN

The third generation is upon us and it’s a brilliant-looking thing. It looks like an Audi in the pictures but you have to get up close and run your fingers along the lines and find all the amazing little details – including the alloy filler cap.

The LED daytime running lights reference the Le Mans-winning R18 race car while the trademark TT cues are reinvented, rebooted and modernised. The profile is unmistakably TT but with plenty of R8 in the proportions.

Inside is one of the great innovations in modern motoring. That might seem a little hyperbolic, but the new dash is a sight to behold. When viewed on its own, free of the car, it’s shaped like an aircraft wing, the instrument pod acting as the fuselage, the air-conditioning vents shaped like jet engine turbines.

Those vents hold a surprise – the central cylinder doubles as the air-conditioning controllers – twist one to set the temperature and fan speed, press the other to direct the flow. It looks brilliant and manages to reinvent climate control. It also clears the cabin of a huge number of buttons.

TT cues are reinvented, rebooted and modernised

The MMI on the central console is the latest iteration, with extra controls for better navigation and a touchpad for writing out sat-nav addresses.

If that wasn’t enough, the instrument pod is a huge change. Gone are the dials and auxiliary information gauges. In their place is a huge 12.4-inch TFT LCD screen that needs so much grunt it has an NVIDIA graphics card to run it.

It’s a fully digital dashboard that replaces both standard instruments and the now ubiquitous central screen. You can view it in “classic” mode where it looks just like a standard dash. But if you’d rather view the sat-nav map, the speedo and tacho go left and right respectively and shrink to give you an expansive view of the map.

You can change that to the media page and flip through your music, whatever function you please. It’s a massive leap forward and makes the Tesla’s big screen look pedestrian. Running at 60 frames per second, its super smooth and just works.

SAFETY

The TT has six airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, skid reduction, brake assist, tyre pressure indicator and fatigue detection.

The $1692-$2200 (fwd/quattro) Assistance package adds blind spot warning and lane assist.

INFOTAINMENT

The MMI rotary dial works together with the virtual cockpit dash and controls the standard eight speaker stereo with USB, Bluetooth, AUX-in, two SD card readers and 10gb of flash memory for music.

…makes the Tesla’s big screen look pedestrian

All TTs also have navigation plus which includes live traffic updates and voice control.

There are two upgraded stereo options – a nine speaker 155 watt option for $423 (standard on S Line) or a Bang and Olufsen 12 speaker with a monster 680 watts for between $923 and $1750 depending on trim grade. Sport trim buyers can add DAB digital radio and digital television.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

The 2.0 litre TFSI engine produces 169kW and 370Nm of torque. At launch, that’s the only engine available before the TT-S arrives late in the year.

The six speed manual front wheel drive will accelerate to 100km/h in six seconds, 0.1 seconds slower than the twin clutch, delivering a claimed 6.3l/100km and 5.9l/100km respectively. With quattro all-wheel drive, the dash to 100km/h is dispatched in 5.3 seconds, with a small increase in fuel consumption to 6.5l/100km.

DRIVING

For the launch drive across some of Tasmania’s best roads, we chose the Sport Quattro S Tronic. After finding our way out of Launceston we were firing across sweeping country roads. While the big 19-inch wheel and tyre combo made its presence felt with a muted roar, the cabin was otherwise quiet of the coarse chips of the island state.

Overtaking is brutal – the transmission kicks down to second and flings you straight through the speed limit as you power past the various slow-moving pensioner-driven traffic. We climbed into the mountains and found some brilliant, twisting roads.

“a kind of halo car for the masses that the R8 can’t be”

These roads had everything – off-camber, pot-holed corners, blind crests, tightening and opening bends with a couple of hairpins thrown in. The TT had an answer for them all. The front grip is phenomenal, you can throw the car left and right with immediate response and a stable, unflappable feel.

The pointy performance comes with a small price, though – the ride is quite firm and if you’re on a rough-ish road.

The electric variable rack steering keeps up brilliantly and the overwhelming impression was that of a lower, more stable S3, which is pretty much what it is, despite being down on power. Along with all that grip comes a ton of security, the chassis egging you on to go faster and faster, all the while with unintrusive traction and stability controls.

Switch them off and you can make the tail wag a little as the quattro system is rear-biased and therefore rather more fun than it might otherwise be.

The run in to Hobart coincided with what passes as peak hour. This brought the TT’s usability to the fore – it’s an easy car to drive in traffic and cruises happily and easily in traffic.

SUMMING UP 4/5

The third generation TT not only lives up to Audi’s sporting success but is a terrific car in its own right. With a much sharper, beautifully-detailed look on the outside and a brilliant, inventive cabin, it’s also a kind of halo car for the masses that the R8 can’t be.

Audi has positioned itself as a style leader in the past few years and the new TT bring back the creative brilliance of the first generation while adding a brilliant chassis to the package.

Feedback and Links

Feedback or questions on this article, please use the comment field, or click for contact details.

For details on Audi Australia, click > www.audi.com.au & www.audi.com.au/tt

For details on Audi,  click > www.audi.com | www.audi.co.uk

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