This car accelerates with real urgency; enough to run with a Porsche Cayman
Despite the changes, the TT remains an odd, remote and unengaging kind of sports car
The Quattro drivetrain remains a bit of a disappointment
Despite its excellent new engine, this TT represents the same old prospect
The TT's interior is best in class
The V6 engine is ditched in favour of a turbo four-cylinder unit
The Audi TT remains a design icon, and is now a car that’s genuinely fun to drive no matter what engine or trim you choose
First DriveIn most powerful S form the third-generation Audi TT possesses real dynamic capability – and plenty of appeal as a classy premium coupé
First DriveEntry-level engine option means Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport adds value to the hard-top TT range
What is it?
The replacement for the latest victim of Audi’s engine downsizing program. You may recently have read that the petrol-powered Q7 V8 is no more, replaced by a supercharged V6 model. Now, we’re driving the ‘downsized’ replacement for the Audi TT V6: it’s the new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder TFSI.
Using the VW Group’s ‘EA888’ turbocharged petrol engine as a basis, Audi has added an intelligent alternator, some low-friction internals, a new water jacket and a varible valvelift system on the exhaust camshaft. Resulting is 208bhp, but a rather more spectacular 258lb ft of torque available all the way from 1600- to 4200rpm.
There are some other revisions to the car too – new interior trim options, chrome-ringed fog lamps, updated head- and taillights – the usual facelift fayre.
What’s it like?
That extra torque has a more pronounced effect on the TT’s performance than you may think. According to the official figures, it makes a new 2.0-litre TT with a manual gearbox half a second quicker to 62mph than the last one.
But when you dive into this car’s performance reserves on real roads, you’ll swear the difference is bigger. This car accelerates with real urgency; enough to run with a Porsche Cayman or Nissan 370Z in a straight line, no question.
Despite a few other tweaks, however – a stiffer ‘Sport’ setting for the magnetorhelogical dampers, less power assistance for the steering and a rortier exhaust note – the TT remains an odd, remote and unengaging kind of sports car.
It’s agile enough up to a point, but as the driver, you seem a long way from both the front-mounted engine and the front wheels, and powerless to interact with the car on any deeper or more entertaining level. The Quattro drivetrain remains a bit of a disappointment too, taking too long to shuffle power rearwards, and clashing with the car’s ESP and ASR systems when it should be working in tandem with them.
Still, as an ownership proposition, few of its rivals can measure up to the TT. Cabin ambience, material quality and levels of fit and finish are excellent, the driving position likewise.
In ‘Normal’ mode, those adjustable dampers provide a handling and ride compromise that’s a little more compliant than before, and perfect for covering distance. 40mpg is possible on long runs, according to the official economy claim.
There’s lots of room in the boot, particularly if you fold the rear seatbacks down. And because it’s a TT, you can bank on better-than-class-average residuals.
Should I buy one?
If you’re a true enthusiast driver, probably not. Despite that excellent new engine, this TT represents the same old prospect: the same triumph of style over substance, of surface shimmer over sporting integrity.
It’s a car that has many merits, and will doubtless appeal to those who recognise the TT’s status as design icon and status symbol. But if you want real entertainment for your £30k, shop elsewhere.