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First look: Hardcore TT ready to go

Outrageous: TT Clubsport quattro is production-ready.

Audi previews its potent speedster-style TT in production-ready form

26 May 2008

AUDI is preparing to put its outrageous TT Clubsport quattro into production after previewing a road-ready version to the Audi faithful at last weekend’s Wörthersee Tour in Austria.

Showing the car alongside the A3 Clubsport quattro we revealed last week, Audi said that “small-series production of this model cannot be ruled out”, but there is little doubt that the hardcore topless TT is ready to roll.

At the same event last year, which brings together Audi and VW enthusiasts, the company showed the first speedster-like TT Clubsport quattro as a true concept, but the latest version has clearly been productionised.

Whereas the original concept had no door-handles, F1-style mirrors and a tiny screen with almost non-existent A-pillars, the 2008 model arrives with normal TT door-handles and mirrors, a higher screen and rollover bars, bigger headlights, a number plate panel across the grille and – most importantly – a proper load-bearing A-pillar that would provide some real-world protection.

The original speedster-style fairings behind the rollbars have also been tamed down and made production-ready while the interior has similarly been refined with more user-friendly instrumentation and, notably, a proper gearshifter.

7 center imageAlthough the Clubsport quattro retains the 2007 concept car’s distinctive orange highlights, which contrast with the largely black upholstery, the designers have further lightened the interior feel by adding more brushed aluminium features in the style of modern Audis.

One thing that has not changed over the past year is the outstanding performance of the turbocharged 2.0-litre TFSI petrol four-cylinder engine, which Audi promises still breaks the magic 300 horsepower (225kW) barrier.

With the boost screwed up, the engine management computer programmed for performance, a new intake manifold and a free-flow exhaust system designed to produce “a powerful racing sound” from the twin oval tailpipes, the engine produces almost 40kW more than the same engine fitted to the Audi S3 hot-hatch.

This impressive power output is fed to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via its familiar six-speed S tronic sequential dual-clutch transmission, which provides faster changes than a conventional manual gearbox whether left in auto mode or by using manual changes via the central gearshift or steering wheel paddles.

Braking power is provided by big 340mm ventilated discs up front and 310mm at the rear – a package that comes straight off the new TTS model.

Heavily pumped-up wheel-arches house polished 19x9.0-inch alloy wheels shod with 255/35-section tyres that produce a 66mm wider track than the standard TT.

The rear bumper incorporates a diffuser to provide some aerodynamic downforce at speed, assisted by a pop-up rear spoiler.

As mentioned earlier, the huge uninterrupted grille of the concept car gets a more familiar production Audi look with a number plate bar, but the two large air inlets on either side of the lower grille are retained beneath the larger production headlights with LED daylight-running strips.

Inside, the bucket seats are designed to accommodate the high lateral loads that might be experienced from the big tyres and stiff suspension on a race circuit, underlining the potential for the car to be used as a road-registrable track car.

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