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Audi TT 3.2 V6 Quattro review (2003-2006)
Engine: 3.2-litre V6
Fuel type: Petrol
Transmission: 6-speed semi-auto
Date of test: September 2003
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What is it?
The TT is one of the UK's biggest selling coupes, and Audi's third biggest selling model in the UK. One of the most instantly recognisable automotive shapes of the current day Britain is the TT's biggest market. This 3.2-litre V6 version is the flagship and debuts Audi's clever DSG dual-clutch two-pedal gearbox that drives all wheels through the familiar quattro four-wheel-drive system. Impressive technology and smart design combine in a car that remains highly desirable to this day.
Where does it fit?
In the TT line up the 3.2-litre V6 tops the range. That doesn't mean it won't sell in big numbers - indeed Audi expect it to take around two-thirds of total TT sales. It's unique in its class by offering four-wheel-drive as standard, the DSG dual-clutch system debuting in the TT prior to its use throughout the VW-Audi group model line-up. The TT's competition includes other 'premium' coupes and roadsters including BMW's Z4, the Mercedes SLK and the Alfa GTV V6. Other 'mainstream' rivals include models like Nissan's more powerful 350Z and the Mazda RX8.
Is it for you?
Judging by the tremendous sales of the existing line up then the TT V6 quattro could well be for you. It'll certainly appeal to style-conscious buyers as the TT gets a slightly more muscular look over the lower-priced 1.8-litre turbocharged cars - while more enthusiastic drivers will be drawn by the increase in power and that lightning fast paddle-shift transmission. If you're after a coupe, or roadster then the TT 3.2 is undoubtedly an attractive choice. It's the best driving TT yet, though its success could detract slightly for some - go to any 'trendy' city centre and you can't move for Audi TTs. There's nothing currently to match it in the design stakes - nor does it look like there's anything on the way to better it.
What does it do well?
The TT is a polished all-rounder but the 3.2-litre version is undoubtedly the most appealing. That's because it comes fitted with Audi's clever dual clutch gearbox, meaning there's always drive though the four-wheel-drive system and that gearshifts are instant. It's a two-pedal system which means you don't have a clutch to operate (it's all done for you) instead the gears are selected by paddles behind the wheel or via the +/- gear selector in the conventional location. There's a fully automatic mode too, the DSG gearbox offering the best of both worlds. Space is good for two - the rear seats are a joke - though the boot is surprisingly capacious. The TT is fast and fun, surefooted too with its quattro four-wheel-drive transmission, while it looks and feels much more expensive than it actually is. The interior remains a styling masterpiece.
What doesn't it do well?
The TT V6 is a very fast and able sports car, but despite all its power and clever transmissions it's not as much fun to drive as you might expect. The steering lacks any real communication and the ESP kills the fun rather early. Switch it off and there's little telling you what's going on - the overall driving experience lacking in the feel you might expect from a car with such sporting pretensions. It's a complaint that will detract more enthusiastic drivers, but in reality most will be more than satisfied with the overall performance of the flagship TT. The rear seats are pointless and the steering wheel feels far too big, while Audi's reputation for reliability has taken a pounding in recent consumer reports - the TT not fairing too well.
What's it like to live with?
The TT is undoubtedly a 'feel-good' kind of car, having one on your drive will undoubtedly bring you a great deal of pleasure. It's one of the most stylish cars around - bar none - and the performance from all is ample. The V6 builds on this, turning the TT into a more credible performance machine. It might not deliver the ultimate thrills of some of its rivals - think Nissan 350Z - but as an all-round ownership proposition it's highly appealing. It's comfortable, refined and is even relatively practical with its useful boot while none of its direct rivals can offer four-wheel-drive or the its clever transmission.
Would we buy it?
In V6 guise the TT is the car it should have always been. Its 3.2-litre V6 gives it the performance punch to match that offered visually, the V6 version gaining a bigger spoiler and more aggressive body kit. The DSG transmission is very, very impressive, the best of all the electronic/hydraulic systems we've tried by some margin. However, we'd still like to see the engine offered with a conventional manual gearbox. Keen drivers will still be disappointed with the level of feedback from the steering, but most will be impressed with the V6's accessible, useable performance. It still looks stunning, inside and out, that alone would be enough for us to recommend it.
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