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Driven: Audi TT hits Aussie streets

R8ing TT: Audi’s style icon adopts its mid-engined supercar’s facial features this time around.

German design icon Audi TT morphs into a sharper piece of kit in third generation


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20 Feb 2015

AUDI has launched the reborn TT sportscar in Australia nearly a year after its 2014 Geneva motor show unveiling, revealing a three-variant line-up starting at $71,950, plus on-road costs.

While the entry level front-wheel-drive 2.0 TFSI manual costs $2600 more than the 1.8 TFSI S-tronic automatic it replaces as the new base, the mid-range 2.0 TFSI S-tronic is $500 cheaper than the preceding equivalent, from $74,950.

The same (169kW output) 2.0 TFSI S-tronic but with ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive powers the final of the Mk3 TT triumvirate, priced from $77,950. This should snare up to 70 per cent of total TT sales.

All three are available in two trim levels – standard Sport or S line that adds $7500 to the price – with both including the 'virtual cockpit' full digital instrumentation pod situated directly ahead of the driver.

All variants include LED elements in the headlights, leather and Alcantara blended upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, front and rear parking radar, full satellite navigation with DVD player and 10GB music storage, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Audi’s Drive Select system that alters throttle and dynamic responses for Eco, Normal and Sport or any combo thereof, cruise control with Audi-first speed limiter functionality, keyless start, ambient lighting, versatile storage compartmentalisation and 18-inch alloys.

Audi claims $8000 of added value compared with the outgoing version.

The S line adds an exterior body kit with 19-inch wheels, full LED headlights, LED arrow-style rear indicators, an audio system upgrade, digital radio and more heavily bolstered seats with pneumatic adjustment.

A maze of options exist, headlined by signature new ‘Matrix LED’ light system with arrow-pointers for the indicators at both ends of the vehicle, adjustable dampers dubbed Audi Magnetic Ride offering Comfort, Auto and Sport modes, an Assistance Package with blind spot alert, active lane assist, park assist, auto dimming high beams, and folding/dipping side mirrors, full leather trim, digital TV, a slew of alloy choices up to 20 inches in diameter and metallic paint.

However, a reversing camera will not be here until towards the end of this year at the earliest.

Retaining the same iconic design, but improving technology and driveability, is the Mk3 TT’s central objective. Only some driveline components carry over from its 2006-era Mk2 predecessor, meaning this is essentially new from the ground up.

The nose adopts an R8-style rectangular headlight with a longer and a lower and wider grille. The Audi circles migrate up to the leading edge of the bonnet.

Increased tension lines, a kink in the C-pillar, more prominent lower side sills and twin rear tailpipes that are closer together than before are the main visual changes.

The aim, Audi says, is to bring more of the 1998 original back into the 2+2-seater sports coupe. Aerodynamics – a problem area with early TTs after stability issues and serious accidents on the German Autobahns led to the standardisation of a lip spoiler in mid-1999 – have been improved, managing a 0.30Cd drag co-efficiency rating.

This is quite a feat considering the newcomer is 3mm shorter at 4177mm, yet sits on a 37mm longer (at 2505mm) wheelbase with wider tracks front (at 1572mm in the 2.0 TFSI FWD) and rear (1552mm).

From 1230kg for the base vehicle, TT 3’s lost around 50kg, and again employs the previous Aluminium Space Frame tech. Basically the front half of the car including the doors and sills are extruded aluminium skinned, as is the tailgate while a blend of aluminium, steel and composites are employed elsewhere where necessary for optimum effect. The result is a 23 per cent rise in torsional stiffness.

Underneath, the Audi also adopts the Volkswagen Group’s latest MQB modular architecture (with elements shared with the Golf 7 and related A3), but boasts unique chassis and passenger cell components featuring high to ultra-high strength steel for maximum rigidity. Aluminium is used for the MacPherson strut front and four-link independent rear suspension components.

The variable-ratio electric rack and pinion steering system is new, offering ‘progressive steering’ responses ranging from 14.0:1 ratio to less than 10.1:1.

Electronic drive control systems such as ESC have been overhauled and retuned to be partially or totally extinguishable, and include a new torque-vectoring program for optimum fast-cornering precision and traction.

Though dubbed ‘quattro’, the AWD system is in fact a fifth-generation Haldex hydraulic multi-plate clutch set-up with the ability to better distribute torque instantly as required thanks to predictive software. Predominantly FWD, from zero to almost 100 per cent of drive can be shuffled to the rear axle.

Speaking of drive, as Audi revealed earlier in the year, only one powerplant choice is available at launch, with no diesel in the pipeline for the foreseeable future.

The unit in question is an EU6-rated 1984cc, 2.0-litre, direct-injection twin-camshaft 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 169kW of power between 4500 and 6500rpm, as well as 370Nm of torque from 1600 to 3400rpm.

In the 2.0 TFSI with the six-speed manual it hits 100km/h from standstill in six seconds, is limited to 250km/h, averages 5.9 litres per 100km and emits 137 grams/km of carbon dioxide pollution.

Adding the six-speed S-tronic transmission cuts 0.1s from the 0-100km/h result but adds 0.5L/100km and 11g/km of CO2, while the the quattro S-tronic combo chops a further 0.6s (due to superior traction) while upping consumption by 0.1L/100km and 3g/km. Aiding the latter is an efficiency mode that cuts the air-con and prioritises the fuel-saving idle-stop system accordingly.

Note that the diesel variant will no longer be imported to Australia due to that variant’s low demand.

The new TT’s virtual cockpit is not just limited to the arcade-game instrumentation, thanks to an aeronautical inspired dashboard with airplane wing motifs taking in the turbine-style air vents (with world-first climate settings within their adjustment knobs).

Other changes include more cabin space due to the wheelbase stretch, lighter yet more supportive front seats, an electronically controlled park brake, a new multi-function steering wheel with a 40 per cent smaller airbag, ‘3D’ toggle switches that simplify the phalanx of buttons found in other sports cars, a next-generation MMI rotary pushbutton controller and specially styled audio speaks that pay lip service to the TT’s fanatical detailing reputation.

Finally, luggage capacity grows 13 litres to 305L, with the kids-only rear backrest foldable to increase that even further.

Plenty more TT action is in store for Australian buyers, with the convertible landing about May and the TT S arriving from the third quarter of this year.

Audi TT Coupe pricing*
Sport 2.0 TFSI$71,950
Sport 2.0 TFSI S-tronic (a)$74,950
Sport 2.0 TFSI S-tronic quattro (a)$77,950
*Excludes on-road costs.

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