First launched in 1998 to the appreciation of a drooling public, the Audi TT Coupé continues to offer driver appeal, even in the current third generation model nearly twenty years on. Also available in roadster form, this icon of automotive sports car design boasts across the whole range the expected performance, but is it starting to lose that sports car edge?
It seems superfluous to go into a lengthy description of this car, featured here in S-Line trim with a 2.0L TFSI 227bhp engine, because it has been described at length in many reviews. You can see it for yourself in the images or check out the company page. If you crave more power there’s a warmer TTS version (305bhp) plus the fierce and hirsute RS version, only for the brave. For more technical knowledge, there’s a detailed specification at the bottom of this page.
You can have front-wheel drive if you want but you don’t want that do you? What you want is the quattro all-wheel drive that I enjoyed on this car. There’s a choice of engines starting with a 178bhp 1.8L TFSI which in my view suits the roadster well but most people will go for the more powerful two litre. You can have a choice of a couple of diesels if you must or the gutsy 2.5L five-cylinder unit found in the RS.
Sophisticated Sitting In The Audi TT
There’s no infotainment screen, either fixed or rising from the dash. A 12.3” digital instrument panel that can be configured variously sits in place of analogue dials in the instrument binnacle. Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) has few buttons and offers simple menu navigation.
The driver can select ‘Classic View’, that presents a conventional speedo and rev counter. Additionally, all other information is displayed between them. Alternatively there’s a full-screen ‘Infotainment Mode’ where the instruments shrink revealing functions such as the sat-nav, for example, which expands to fill the screen almost entirely. For this buyers will need to specify the optional Technology Mode to get the best out of this display. Costly, but absolutely worth it.
The Super Sport seats are great; grippy where they need to be while retaining a good level of comfort and, for the lucky driver, a sporting driving position. The rear seats as always in cars of this type are a joke. Certainly they have Isofix for safety but are of limited use for baby seats and the like. Take them out please Audi and add a bit more boot space.
That said, the boot is still a decent size for two but in no way can this be considered a family car. It’s all about the driving.
Driving The Audi TT
In recent years car makers have been offering up extra power by the bucket load. 350bhp and greater are not now uncommon in performance cars. Obviously that’s all fine and dandy but the fact is, in the British Isles at least, 227bhp is plenty to be honest.
The Audi TT has always been a coupé that has blended motoring enjoyment with everyday usability and ease of driving. Yes, this current model is lighter, faster and more efficient than ever, but I am beginning to wonder if, at this level, if it isn’t getting a bit too soft, if you know what I mean.
Hardcore driving performance seems to have given way to a more sophisticated experience. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it is because I expected more having driven a couple of real monsters recently. Whatever, for me, it was more of a fast cruiser than out and out sports car. The obvious solution would be to go for the faster TTS model or better still the highly charged hardcore RS.
Audi’s Drive Select system is standard across the range, and for the first time it adjusts the all-wheel-drive system on quattro models to give a sportier set-up in Dynamic Mode. My default setting.
Dynamic Mode also modifies the throttle response, steering weighting and air-conditioning load, plus the shift speeds on six-speed S tronic automatic cars (as with this model). As with other Audi models, the Drive Select offers a choice of Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, Auto and Individual modes. This is what I mean; the other settings seem superfluous in a sports car. Still, horses for courses eh? Most buyers are probably happy as it is.
A manual gearbox is available but the automatic with paddle option for total control is so good that, although it adds to the price and this is not a cheap car, it would be a mistake to go old-school.
The Audi TT’s steering is progressive with a rack that becomes more direct as the wheel is turned. The result is sharp, positive responses. With light but consistent weighting and some old-fashioned feel, the driving set-up and handling is a real highlight. To sum up, the Audi TT is an agile, quick and sporty drive but best served hot. Geoff Maxted