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First look: Audi's leaner, meaner new TT coupe

Fighting fit: New TT is longer, wider and lighter than Audi's sleek original.

Audi unveils a larger, lighter TT as a fitting encore to the irresistable original

7 Apr 2006

Audi has today unveiled the second-generation TT coupe at a spectacular event at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin - and it's due on sale here next year.

As you’d expect, some care has been taken not to lose the irresistible charm of the first model. The result is a TT that has grown in every direction – particularly in width – and uses established themes while imparting some more contemporary elements.

Retro-inspired cars would pose an interesting design problem when the time for an update rolled around. Particularly in the case of something like Volkswagen's New Beetle, or BMW's reincarnated Mini, where the past has been recreated with an eye for sticking as closely as possible to the original.

The Audi TT, as a retro-inspired car, is something different, however. The inspiration came from famous Audis of the past, but there was no particular model that it attempted to duplicate.

But the appealing little coupe, when it was launched here in May 1999, certainly struck a chord with buyers.

Espousing the Bauhaus school of architecture in its clean, curving shapes, the TT was an exciting, fresh "must have" for buyers looking to purchase a distinctive personal coupe.

Now, seven years after that event, the result is an all-new TT that looks, perhaps, a little more mainstream but is probably better-proportioned, and offers more space and improved dynamics.

To be specific, the 2006 TT is 137mm longer than its predecessor (4178mm) and 78mm wider (1842mm), while the wheelbase grows from 2429mm to 2468mm and front and rear tracks increase from 1528mm to 1572mm and from 1505mm to 1558mm respectively.

7 center imageYou might think this would bring a proportionate weight increase, but Audi has gone for broke with the new TT, constructing 69 per cent of the vehicle in aluminium, with steel used for the remaining 31 per cent and biased towards the rear to achieve a favourable weight balance.

The result is that the V6 quattro version weighs barely any more than the 1.8-litre, four-cylinder quattro that was previously offered.

The expanded track dimensions are accompanied by larger wheels, ranging from 16 to 19 inches, and there’s a new multi-link rear suspension replacing the previous double-wishbone arrangement.

Audi’s "magnetic ride" damper system is also offered as an option on the new TT. The system, according to Audi, "simultaneously ensures high levels of ride comfort and thoroughly sporty dynamism, according to the specific driving scenario and the preferences of the driver." Initially the new TT will be available in coupe form only, in front-drive 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo or 3.2-litre V6 quattro configuration.

The 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder turbo develops 147kW and is capable, in six-speed manual form, of accelerating to 100km/h in a claimed 6.4 seconds and reaching a top speed of 240km/h.

The naturally-aspirated, 184kW 3.2-litre V6 quattro version develops 184kW and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds, reaching a top speed of 250km/h.

Standard with both engines is a six-speed manual gearbox, while Audi's DSG dual-clutch gearbox is optional.

The styling benefits from the TT’s squat new look, but appears to be a little more cluttered than before, while inside the familiar themes are present, with plenty of stainless steel trim, round instruments and flying buttress structures on the centre console.

The new coupe continues with its "occasional" split-fold rear seat and, according to Audi, offers 290 litres of loading space that can be increased to 700 litres by folding down the rear seat backs.

The new TT will be available with options such as adaptive cornering lights, park distance control, a new range of hi-fi sound systems, Bluetooth mobile phone interface, and an optional navigation system that "takes its cues from the MMI system familiar from the Audi A6, A8 and Q7 model series."

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