Ever since the first Audi TT surfaced (way) back in 1998, its trademark curves and sporty disposition have proved very popular on these shores – especially to car-buyers of the female persuasion. But, when the latest version was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last year, it was obvious the TT was ‘MAN-ing up’ in the looks department.
Of course, the recognisable elements of a TT are still there and the old MK2 version had already increased testosterone levels, but I still wasn’t expecting it to look quite so, well.. er, macho.
I wonder… Is this what happens when car designers spend too much time watching Transformers and Iron Man on DVD? Or did someone leave an R8 parked next to cute VW Beetle on Valentine’s day? Whatever the reason, the latest TT is meaner, leaner and greener too, and after a weeks driving the 2.0 TFSI (230PS) manual, 6-speed it’s also become one of my favourite cars of the year. Male or Female.
The TT’s wider body and stiffer lines are enviously monitored everywhere you go, from the car park at Aldi to the Golf Course’s 19th hole it’s a real head-turner. The car feels more special and price-wise the TT is also nicely positioned in the marketplace – exclusive enough to have that ‘wow’ factor, but at £31,635.00 still within the price range of many of us mere mortals.
Once you’ve managed to climb in (over 50’s need not apply) you’ll notice how clean and minimal the dashboard area is. They’ve chucked out the ‘chintz’, replacing it with some old-fashioned (German) Feng shui and a very modern central digital interface. It looks a bit daunting to begin with, but it’s nicely intuitive and after 5 minutes you should be pretty much up to speed. Nearly everything you need to control or look at can be accessed and displayed right in front of you, from the speedo and rev counter to car set up and the media library.
With the Technology Package featuring ‘Audi Connect’ (an extra £1,795.00) you can hook your phone up, browse the web and follow Google Maps right across the wide digital display. A nice touch is the climate control led displays, which are fixed directly in the centre of each vent.
You’ll likely spend half an hour getting the seat adjustment EXACTLY right (for £1000 extra you can have the luxury of adjusting the seats electronically and worth every penny). Press the circular ignition button and with a squeeze of the pedal you’ll go from 0-62mph in a fairly nippy 5.3 seconds.
You’ll hear the throaty growl; fairly subdued roar next to some, but still nice all the same. Keep your foot down and eventually you’ll get to 155mph (or a speeding ban) whichever comes first. Initially I was yearning for the S-Tronic automatic version that is also available and some flappy paddles, however after few hours buzzing around the country lanes of Norfolk the manual stick totally won me over and I think I prefer it.
The ratios are set fantastically well so gear changes feel fluid and natural, especially between 2nd, 3rd and 4th and let’s face it, that’s where the most fun is to be had. For those with unconventional grip techniques the hole underneath the head of the gear stick is made for you.
Driving is no good if you can’t stop, luckily the TT’s brakes are well measured and once applied your mental connection with every inch of incoming tarmac is always definable. The 19inch (S-line) alloy wheels help in no small part, meanwhile the steering is balanced and steady allowing for corners to be taken quickly and confidently.
The engine feels sharper and more responsive than before. You can be comfy on the Motorway in ‘Comfort’ mode, change to ‘Efficient’ mode for shopping around town and go ‘Dynamic’ on the country lanes when you need a reminder of why you spent your sons University fund on a car with two very small rear seats. On the flipside you can get a decent amount of stuff in the boot (as long as its flat).
The car I tested was the front-wheel drive version, it’s also available with Audi’s twin-clutch S-tronic six-speed and a four-wheel ‘quattro’ (automatic only). There is a choice of trims, ‘Sport’ or the more plush ’S-line’, but both come with DAB radio, leather seats and climate control. The S-line also features 19inch alloy wheels, all-LED headlights a lower ride and firmer suspension. Oh, there’s a Roadster knocking about too I believe.
The official MPG figures are excellent; urban 38.7mpg, extra urban 56.5mpg and combined 47.9mpg, but even after a robust workout I was still getting 30+ mpg, emissions are fairly respectable 137g/km down from 183g/km for the same model last time around.
After a week in the new Audi TT getting back into my ‘normal’ car felt like jumping onto a pre-Wurzels combine harvester. The only problem with Audi TT I can see is whether to call it Jack, or Jill.
Audi TT Coupé 2.0 TFSI (230PS) 6 speed from £31,635.00
Top speed 155mph
Co2 Emmissions 137g/km
Mpg urban 38.7 mpg
Mpg extra urban 56.5 mpg
Mpg combined 47.9 mpg
Insurance group 35
VED Band E
Car tested with extras £41,895.00
For more info visit www.audi.co.uk