The Audi TT is one of the most recognised and most coveted sports coupés on our roads. Since its launch back in 1998, the TT has cemented its status as a modern design icon. But there has to be more to the TT than just style and for this third generation, Audi has reengineered the car with a lightweight construction to improve acceleration, handling and fuel consumption.
The third generation of the Audi TT coupé retains the classic silhouette but with a bit more aggression and chiselling all round that from afar makes it more like a mini R8. Xenon lights come as standard, with full LED lamps front and rear on S line models. Together with big alloys (18” on base, 19” on S line), the TT looks muscular but sensuous, with curves in all the right places.
Inside, the TT has a suitably plush interior with some beautiful design elements like the circular air vents that also house the controls for the heating and air conditioning. It’s a very distinct interior and it’s completely focused around the driver, devoid of anything such as a centrally mounted touchscreen, so common in new cars these days. That would just completely spoil the clean brilliance of this cabin. Instead, Audi’s virtual cockpit gives the driver full control of all the car’s functions through some simple swipes and selections from steering wheel mounted controls or from a rotary dial on the centre console, with information displayed in the driver’s line of sight. This is standard across the range.
The TT is described as a 2+2 coupe but normal sized adults will struggle for space in the back so those seats are probably best considered for very, very occasional use. The boot opens like that of a traditional hatchback so the space is easy to access and quite practical for daily use. The rear seats can also be let down for more space.
The Audi TT is available with a 1.8TFSI turbo petrol engine with 180hp, a 2.0TFSI with 230hp or a 2.0TDI diesel with 184hp. There’s manual and automatic gearboxes. Standard models are front wheel drive, though there is the option of quattro four wheel drive on the 2.0-litre petrol for extra grip.
In terms of pricing, Sport models with the 1.8TFSI have an on the road price of €45,350, while S line models have an on the road price of €48,850, or €51,450 with the S-Tronic automatic gearbox. So this is an expensive little piece of kit. Standard equipment on Sport models includes 18” alloys, alcantara and leather sports seats, electric parking brake, flat bottomed steering wheel, the virtual cockpit, air con and cruise control. S line models add a lowered sports suspension, sportier bumpers, side sills, rear diffuser, 19” alloys, LED lights front and back, electric lumbar support and auto lights and wipers.
The Audi TT does not disappoint on the road. You are slung low in the car with all the controls at your fingertips so there is a pure driving thrill to the TT. This car is very much the kind of sports car you could easily drive every day because the comfort and refinement of the car is just as good as any of Audi’s more mainstream models. This is no tempermental diva of a car.
Yet it would be a waste just to cruise around in this car. Once you find a stretch of deserted rural road and you start pushing this car, it really does come alive. Naturally the centre of gravity is low so it is perfectly flat and balanced through corners at speed with what seems like neverending levels of grip, even in standard front wheel drive form. The steering is quick to respond to inputs and it really is a lot of fun to throw this car through a series of corners.
My test car had the 1.8TFSI and will cost €280 per year to tax, while 40mpg seems achievable in every day driving with a bit of care. This engine is down on power and torque compared to the 2.0-litre petrol, but it can still move quickly sprinting to 100kmh from a standstill in 7 seconds, accompanied by a meaty growl. The automatic gearbox is quick and seamless to shift gear and you can make the car a bit sharper and more responsive by selecting the dynamic mode from the Audi drive select system that comes as standard on S line models.
The Audi TT coupé is not a cheap car to buy but it’s a top quality product, with a stunning design inside and out. You don’t buy an Audi to slum it and this is a very Audi sports car. After spending time with the TT, I find this car has an emotional appeal, the ability to seduce all who come across it. Yet it’s not all about style and the Audi TT is a true, driver-focused sports coupé – from the way you are positioned in the car and how you interact with the controls, to the fun and rewards this car gives when you let it loose on a back road. Fashions may change, but the Audi TT remains a classic!
Model tested: Audi TT 1.8TFSI S-Tronic S line
Price: RRP €50,600, OTR €51,450
0-100km/h: 7 seconds
Claimed Economy: 47mpg
CO2 emissions: 136g/km
Motor tax: €280 per year