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First drive: Audi’s TTerrific 3.2 quattro

Promise fulfilled: 3.2 V6, quattro all-wheel drive and DSG transmission make TT coupe the complete package.

Finally, Audi blesses its slinky TT coupe with V6 urge and a DSG shifter

Audi logo17 Dec 2004

AFTER more than five years on sale, Audi’s graceful TT coupe finally has the go to match its considerable show.

When the TT 3.2 quattro goes on sale in January, the premium German brand’s old but enduring coupe range will have a new performance flagship, priced at $95,600 and available exclusively with Audi’s brilliant new double-clutch DSG transmission.

With a new TT still three years away, Audi hopes the top-shelf V6 variant will play an important role in lifting the image of its only coupe, a model that’s decreased in popularity as it nears the end of its lifecycle.

Of course, Audi’s spin is the 3.2 marks a new phase in the TT’s model life, and says it will appeal mostly to males (80 per cent) with an annual income in excess of $100,000. And despite being a coupe-only proposition, it lists major rivals as BMW’s Z4 3.0 ($94,600) and the Mercedes-Benz SLK350 ($112,900).

Either way, TT’s sleek, classic lines and the same 24-valve V6 as found in the new A3 3.2 - plus Audi’s proven quattro AWD system and the effective new DSG tranny – make for an impressive combination.

Along with all-wheel drive, TT V6 out-specifies both SLK350 and Z4 3.0 by offering as standard 18-inch alloys, a Bose sound system and Xenon headlights, while metallic paint and satellite-navigation is also standard on the Benz it’s optional on Z4 3.0.

With peak power of 184kW, TT 3.2’s output falls between the BMW (3.0 inline six, 170kW) and Benz (3.5 V6, 200kW) and while it matches the top Z4 for claimed 0-100km/h acceleration (6.2 seconds), both fall short of the SLK350’s stated 5.5-second sprint time.

Though there’s no conventional manual available with it, TT 3.2’s DSG shifter (with steering wheel paddles and a launch control feature) represents superior transmission technology to the traditional five-speed semi-auto found in Z4 3.0, although SLK350 can be had with the new seven-speed ZF auto.

7 center imageSo the premium TT affords excellent value both when compared to its rivals and the 165kW/$92,500 TT Roadster quattro. Of course, the rest of the TT 1.8T line-up continues unchanged, including the 132kW Coupe manual ($71,400), 132kW Coupe Tiptronic ($75,200), 165kW Coupe quattro manual ($84,700), 132kW Roadster Tiptronic ($81,200) and 165kW Roadster quattro manual ($92,500).

Apart from 184kW at 6300rpm and 320Nm of torque between 2800 and 3200rpm, setting the 3.2 apart from other TTs is a 17-inch twin-piston brake system derived from the RS4, revised suspension including different spring, damper and anti-roll bar set-ups, a modified exhaust and 18-inch wheels.

Visually, TT 3.2 gets a honeycomb-style rear diffuser bumper panel, larger rear spoiler, revised front bumper with larger airdam and side gills and Xenon headlights with titanium-look surrounds and washers.

Audi Australia expects to sell just 60 TT 3.2 in 2005 – meaning it’ll be a highly exclusive vehicle with just five examples sold per month - out of a total TT sales volume of 300 vehicles (including 180 coupes).

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