Audi TT review: Iconic little coupé is all grown up
How time flies when you are having fun – it’s hard to believe that the iconic little Audi TT has been on the scene for 18 years.
For its coming of age we are now offered the TT’s third generation, already the winner of several prestigious awards, including the Auto Express ‘Coupé of the Year‘ accolade.
We well remember the first one we ever saw, in the car park at Silverstone back in the day, though our view was rather restricted because of the excited crowd that the car had drawn.
That original was very different in looks from its rivals, with feline curves and no hard edges, explaining the amazing impact it created. The new version is more angular and sharp-edged masculine – especially when viewed head on – but could, at a distance, in profile and with the hood lowered, be mistaken for one of several competitors – look out for General Motor’s new GM Cascada already sold in the USA as a Buick and in Europe as an Opel, with a Vauxhall-badged version almost certain to follow.
Like many of us senior citizens, for its third generation the TT has been put on an intensive weight-loss programme that’s been made possible by the modular MOB platform that is now employed by a wide range of offerings across the Audi, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda brands.
The TT’s lightweight brings the bonuses of enhanced performance and much improved fuel economy. On both these counts the punchy diesel version makes especial sense for the owner who craves sporting style but needs to watch the pennies.
The newcomer’s superb interior design is a leap ahead of the competition, replacing the usual instrument dials with a so-called ‘Audi Virtual Cockpit’ adjustable and multi-functional LCD screen, while the materials and trim are of luxury car quality.
As before, buyers can stick with the hardtop coupé or opt for the wind in your hair values of the roadster. It takes a single button switch to lower and raise the high quality triple-lined fabric soft-top, which is not only simplicity itself to operate but efficiently screens out wind noise and road roar to achieve saloon car levels of soundproofing.
Throughout the comfy, if a little tight, cabin the trim and fit are exemplary, with an abundance of sumptuous materials extending right into the boot, whose size can be greatly magnified by lowering flat the two rear seats which are otherwise rather pointless appendages for anyone but a couple of small kinds.
With prices ranging from £27,455 up to £41,160, and a wide range of optional extras, there’s a wide range of choices on offer. There’s an entry-level 1.8 while at the top of the range the TTS is a serious pocket rocket, almost in the Porsche 911 league.
Choose one of the four-wheel drive Quattro versions and you’ll find yourself at the wheel of a brilliant little car that rides and handles better than some sportscars retailing at double the money or more.
It’s eye-pleasing, fun to drive yet practical too – so what more could you ask.