That’s because their five-door layouts offer greater everyday practicality than that of the three-door TT Shooting Brake, even though the Shooting Brake’s commonality with the coupé and roadster would make it considerably cheaper to build, according to those in the know.
As the two Audi concept cars in question sit nose to nose on a windswept promenade in Cannes, waiting for me to sample them on the move for the very first time, the complexity of Stadler’s decision is brought into clear focus.
Concept cars are often nothing more than a flight of fancy with little in the way of production relevance. However, there is real substance to the appearance and mechanical package of each of the potential TT models.
They are both sufficiently convincing in the looks department and possess the sort of sound engineering required to become one of the 10 new models that Audi plans to add to its line-up by 2020.
Styled under the leadership of new design boss Marc Lichte, both the TT Offroad and TT Sportback show the heavy influences of the Bauhaus lineage that has influenced the look of the TT coupé and roadster since their introduction in 1996. So although they’re aimed at differing markets, they continue to remain true in appearance to the cars that inspired their creation.
Each features its own interpretation of Audi’s latest six-corner single-framed grille, trapezoidal-shaped headlamps, clamshell bonnet, prominent wheel arch elements, defined shoulder, shallow glasshouse and plunging C-pillar treatment.
But in a clear departure from the traditional three-door TT models currently on sale, both of the potential new TTs feature a more versatile five-door layout aimed at making them appeal to a whole new group of buyers. The TT Offroad boasts an angled tailgate whereas the TT Sportback receives a large fastback-style opening.
Underpinning the potential new TT models are variations of the MQB platform of parent company Volkswagen. To accommodate its rear doors and provide adequate rear seat space for two adults, the TT Offroad’s wheelbase runs to 2630mm and the TT Sportback’s is slightly longer, at 2637mm. This is a respective 132mm and 125mm longer than that of the latest TT coupé or roadster.
One potential problem standing in the way of a possible production green light for both concept cars, though, is their apparent similarity in dimensions to existing Audi models. With a length of 4390mm, width of 1850mm and height of 1530mm, the TT Offroad is just 15mm longer, 20mm wider and, because of its relatively modest ground clearance, 60mm lower than the recently facelifted Q3.
Meanwhile, at 4470mm long, 1890mm wide and 1380mm tall, the TT Sportback is 14mm longer, 94mm wider and 36mm lower than the A3 saloon.
The relatively short driver’s door of the TT Offroad motors out at a touch of its recessed handle. Slipping inside, you discover that its interior, as that of the TT Sportback, is based closely on the new TT coupé’s. The two cars share the same high-quality dashboard, centre console, switchgear, multi-function steering wheel and heavily bolstered front seats.
Among the highlights is Audi’s new virtual cockpit display. It uses a 2.3-inch TFT monitor set within the instrument binnacle and is operated by a rotary control placed on the centre console.