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Audi TT review (2006 onwards)
Model: Audi TT
Bodystyle: 3dr Coupé
Engine: 3.2 V6, petrol
Transmission: 6–speed manual, four-wheel-drive
Date of Test: September 2006
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What is it?
Need you ask? This is the replacement for the iconic and highly original Audi TT, the car started a design revolution for the German manufacturer. It has a lot to live up to, for the original TT, against all the usual trends, remained almost as popular at the end of its life as it was in the beginning. The new car doesn’t quite have the style of the original but it is still unmistakably a TT. This time around it’s bigger, faster and lighter, thanks to aluminium construction like that of the A8. It also has an extending rear spoiler so the purity of the design is retained at speeds below 75mph.
Where does it fit?
Initially available with in either 2-litre turbocharged form with front-wheel drive, or as a 3.2 V6 quattro, the TT’s key rivals are the Alfa Brera, Mercedes SLK, BMW Z4 coupe, Mazda RX-8 and Chrysler Crossfire. At the top end you can throw in the cheapest Porsche Cayman too. Some of these rivals offer four seats like the TT, but only the Mazda can genuinely take four adults – even children will be cramped in the others. The TT also has the option of the best auto/manual gearbox in the world. Previously known as DSG, but now called ‘S tronic’, it drives like a regular auto or, if you choose, has a quick-shifting paddle change behind the steering wheel.
Is it for you?
British buyers loved the original and it seems almost certain that the new model will follow its success. It may not have the same level of visual impact, but it promises to be a better car with styling that still stands out. For those who like the fresh air experience, a convertible version comes early in 2007. There aren’t the budget models of the outgoing TT, but it’s only a matter of time. Prices are £25k for the 2.0T and £29k for the 3.2 V6, though the tempting option list will mean that another £3k will be easy to add.
What does it do well?
Either model is quick, but the V6 is very fast indeed. Responsive and extremely accelerative, the whole experience is accompanied by a delicious, purposeful mechanical soundtrack that is more Honda than Audi, praise indeed. The power steering is electrically assisted on this car, a factor that hasn’t previously been a recipe for good driver involvement. But Audi has got it right, and there’s good feel and accuracy to enable you to exploit the handling the full. With quattro four-wheel-drive on the V6, the TT simply tracks around bends with utter commitment at astonishing speeds – though the front-wheel-drive 2-litre is hardly inferior in most circumstances.
What doesn’t it do well?
The TT has its foibles, however. With the six-speed manual gearbox, the throttle is far too sensitive. Reapplying power after lifting off demands concentration and delicacy of foot to avoid a jerky transition. It can make town driving uncomfortable and take a little of the pleasure out of high-speed give and take. It’s a straightforward software fix that Audi needs to attend to right away. The manual gearchange is far from the best, rather notchy and lacking precision. Finally, wind the driver’s window down and there’s some seriously uncomfortable buffeting at speed.
What’s it like to live with?
The new TT is as least as easy going as the old car. It’s roomier and feels higher quality inside, though some of the neat detailing of the original is lost to luxury. And it is very comfortable. Full Nappa leather is standard on the V6 but ‘Magnetic Ride’, which makes the ride much more comfortable and helps handling too, is a £1150 option. There’s a decent stereo system and the usual impressive Audi climate control system. Luggage space is generous, and the rear seats drop forward hatchback-style to extend the load area.
How green is it?
In 3.2 V6 form the TT averages 27 mpg in the official tests but it’s all too easy for this to drop very close to 20mpg in real life. The official figures for the S Tronic version are better – 30mpg – but that’s an illusion of the test programme that won’t be reflected in real life. But if you do choose the automatic TT you benefit from lower CO2 figures: 224 g/km compared with 247 for the manual car, which will translate into a significant saving for company car drivers.
Would we buy it?
Undoubtedly. The new TT is a very fine car indeed. Beautifully built and great to drive it ticks all the right boxes for a sporting coupe. But it wouldn’t be the V6. The 2.0-litre turbo, despite ‘just’ 200bhp and front-wheel drive, is a really well-rounded package with none of the throttle issues of the V6. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being disappointed with this version and the financial saving can’t be ignored.
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