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?
This is something rare – a mid-sized, two-plus-two, diesel coupe, the TT’s only direct opposition the seriously handsome and seriously flawed Alfa Romeo Brera, and the more able but less handsome BMW 123d.
The diesel engine in question is Audi’s new and excellent 168bhp common rail 2.0 litre TDI, which runs to 140mph, zipping through 62mph in 7.5seconds on the way. Not bad at all, but what’s really compelling is that this performance comes with a combined fuel consumption figure of 53.3mpg, promising the real world possibility of consumption in the high 40s, and CO2 emissions of just 139g/km.
Just as pleasing, the diesel pushes out 258lb ft of torque – the same as the TTS musters – promising effortless cruising and easy overtaking. That there’s so much torque is why the TDI comes with a Quattro drivetrain as standard, the front wheels unable to cope with this kind of thrust on their own.
Otherwise, this oil-burning TT is largely as for the stock 2.0 turbo that we already know, and it can only be had with a six-speed manual transmission despite the availability of a twin clutch S Tronic gearbox on the TTS.
What’s it like?
Civilised, effortless and a very satisfying way to beat the system, few other cars this fast and this sexy managing around 50mpg.
You sometimes hear a low, dull drone from this diesel if you listen hard, but what you won’t hear is the harsh cackle and thrum that you get from so many oil-burners, making the TDI’s presence beneath the TT’s shapely bonnet seem entirely appropriate.
It will seem even more so when you get this car on a fast, open road, the generous torque reserve providing useful acceleration even at 80mph in sixth when you’re cruising, and much stouter urge if you drop a couple of ratios.
And pick-up from low engine speeds is prompter than you’ll find with many turbodiesels, the variable vane turbocharger helping here.
This TT can optionally be had with magnetic dampers - they do little for its ride in sport – but in standard form it is comfortably firm, if a little jostling over smaller, sharper bumps. Otherwise this is a very refined car, no small part of its sophistication down to its high standard of finish, the high-grade furnishings of its cabin, a good driving position and comfortable, supportive seats.
Handling is tidy and confident, but tight, slippery bends taken hard betray its basic urge to understeer, a condition the Haldex all-wheel drive system is too slow to counter.
Should I buy one?
Yes, if a super-economical, sexy coupe is your desire, and as mentioned, there are precious few of these.
Apart from its looks, the diesel TT plays another strong hand with its exceptional combination of performance and economy, which should appeal to both company and private buyers. The TDI model successfully adds another dimension to this desirable coupe.