2014 has found Audi showing off how its third-generation TT family could be extended. We drive two of the concepts which could make production
8 December 2014

Armed with a development budget to expand the new TT line-up beyond the current coupé and roadster, Audi chairman Rupert Stadler is faced with a difficult decision as 2014 draws to a close.

He can either side with his sales and marketing experts in plumping for a compact SUV in the mould of the Range Rover Evoque, or follow the instincts of senior designers and engineers in opting for a more sporting fastback to go up the against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

It is a predicament of riches for the 51-year-old German, who recently announced an ambitious 22 billion euro growth plan that aims to enable Audi to become the world’s leading producer of premium-badged cars by the end of the decade.

“At the beginning of the year, we opened up the discussion to see if the TT line-up could be elaborated. Now we are coming to the stage where we have to make a decision,” Stadler recently told Autocar.

There has been a series of lengthy meetings between high-level Audi officials since the spectacular TT Sportback was revealed at the Paris motor show in October to signal proper board room intent to expand the TT line-up. However, the dilemma as to which model to choose apparently remains without resolution.

The TT Sportback was the third in a line of critically acclaimed TT-themed concept cars to be unveiled in 2014, following on from the TT Shooting Brake that was shown as a precursor to the production coupé at the Detroit motor show back in January, and the high-riding TT Offroad that appeared in an arresting yellow paint scheme at the Beijing motor show in April.

All three are individually described as possessing a realistic chance of entering production, but it is no secret that the TT Offroad and TT Sportback are Stadler’s preferred options for production.

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.

Recalling the driving environment of the TT coupé, you sit quite low, with the waistline up around shoulder height. Resisting the temptation to turn the high-riding TT into a fully fledged five-seater, Audi has given the Offroad concept individual rear seats with integrated headrests, providing it with accommodation for up to four – a layout mirrored by the TT Sportback.

Hinting at plans to bring hybrid drive to the TT line-up for the first time, the TT Offroad showcases a powerful petrol-electric drivetrain in combination with a multi-plate-clutch four-wheel drive system.

Mounted transversely up front is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 288bhp and 280lb ft. It sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which houses an electric motor that provides an extra 54bhp and 162lb ft.

Within the rear axle is a second electric motor that produces 114bhp and 199lb ft – all of which is channelled to the rear wheels via a single-ratio gearbox. Energy for the electric motors is provided by a 12kWh lithium-ion battery.

Audi’s computer simulations point to a 0-62mph time of just 5.2sec and a top speed of 155mph. But when we piloted the stylish SUV up and down the promenade, the pace was a good deal more relaxed and achieved purely in electric mode, in which it operates solely in rear-wheel drive using power from the rear-mounted electric motor.

Officially, the electric range is put at 31 miles at speeds up to 81mph. In hybrid mode, during which all three power sources are called upon for propulsion, the TT Offroad is claimed to have combined average economy of 149mpg – a figure that corresponds to average CO2 emissions of just 45g/km and an overall range of 547 miles.

Previewing plans for its upcoming R8 e-tron, Audi has also provided the TT Offroad with wireless charging, which allows the car simply to be parked in a suitable position for its battery to be recharged in a similar timeframe to that offered by a conventional cable.  

Residing under the clamshell-style bonnet of the TT Sportback is a more conventional drivetrain in the form of a heavily tuned version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that is used by the latest TTS coupé and known internally as the EA888.

Mounted transversely, it is claimed to deliver an additional 85bhp and 52lb ft over the standard unit used by the TTS coupé, providing the TT Sportback with a stout 395bhp at 6400rpm along with 332lb ft of torque on an extraordinarily wide range of revs between 2400rpm and 6000rpm. 

Among the power-enhancing modifications used to achieve a specific output tantalisingly close to 200bhp per litre is a new turbocharger tuned to deliver a maximum 1.8 bar of boost pressure, a reworked cylinder head with increased gas flow rates, revisions to the variable camshaft adjustment and the two-stage variable valve-lift system and indirect fuel injection on part-throttle loads for improved combustion efficiency.

The heady reserves are channelled through a six-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox with remote steering-wheel-mounted paddles and a multi-plate-clutch four-wheel drive system mounted within the rear axle for improved front-to-rear weight distribution.

So configured, the car is capable of a claimed 0-62mph time of just 3.9sec, which is 0.7sec quicker than the TTS coupé, and a 155mph top speed.

As with its sister car, though, we were only able to drive the TT Sportback at a mild pace within the confines of a car park. With its front seats positioned at the same height as those in the TT coupé and the steering wheel near to vertical, it feels a good deal more sporting than its five-door layout suggests. But with relatively small door apertures, getting in to the rear is not easy at all. 

The TT Offroad and TT Sportback are superbly constructed by concept car standards and highly convincing as conveyers of how Audi intends to expand the TT line-up.

If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the TT Offroad reaching production first, despite its apparent similarities with the existing Q3. With the popularity of compact SUVs as strong that they are right now, it would undoubtedly provide stiff competition to the Range Rover Evoque.

For me, though, it is the TT Sportback that holds greater fascination. Bolder and more stylish than the A3 saloon, it would be the perfect foil to the Mercedes-Benz CLA. Over to you, Rupert… 

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Audi TT

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

Join the debate

Comments
10

8 December 2014
..... but I just don't see the point of making the TT into a range of models that Audi already make; it reminds me of the (bad) old British Leyland days of Wolseley, Riley, van den Plas, Austin and Morris versions of the same cars.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

8 December 2014
Whilst I'm bemused by Audi executives recently saying the TT will only be a sportscar, and then next minute releasing these three concepts, there's no doubt one or more of them will soon go into production, most likely the Offroad. It doesn't matter that its similar to the Q3 in size or market position: The success of the Evoque shows amply how people will queue up to buy something much more stylish than the oh-so-bland Q3, and Audi won't want to miss out on such customers.

8 December 2014
Sooner or later, like all things fashionable, SUVs will go out of fashion.....

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

9 December 2014
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Sooner or later, like all things fashionable, SUVs will go out of fashion.....

Stupidity never does though, Bob, which is why you'll always be a bigoted cretin. Did you know the first Range Rover arrived in 1970? That's 44 years ago. Long time being 'fashionable', isn't it?


9 December 2014
Winston Churchill wrote:
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Sooner or later, like all things fashionable, SUVs will go out of fashion.....

Stupidity never does though, Bob, which is why you'll always be a bigoted cretin. Did you know the first Range Rover arrived in 1970? That's 44 years ago. Long time being 'fashionable', isn't it?

SUVs are big and heavy, use a lot of fuel, and most owners don't even use them offroad. So, yes, in this sense they are a fashion statement.

I find calling a fellow contributor a 'bigoted cretin' without giving a reason (an example is not a reason) conterproductive. Surely this forum deserves a higher standard of contribution.

13 December 2014
abkq wrote:
Winston Churchill wrote:
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Sooner or later, like all things fashionable, SUVs will go out of fashion.....

Stupidity never does though, Bob, which is why you'll always be a bigoted cretin. Did you know the first Range Rover arrived in 1970? That's 44 years ago. Long time being 'fashionable', isn't it?

SUVs are big and heavy, use a lot of fuel, and most owners don't even use them offroad. So, yes, in this sense they are a fashion statement.

I find calling a fellow contributor a 'bigoted cretin' without giving a reason (an example is not a reason) conterproductive. Surely this forum deserves a higher standard of contribution.

A Porsche is too small for a family and owners never use them on the track. They must be a fashion statement too. Or is that statement just reserved for cars you don't like? Resentful cretin.


9 December 2014
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Sooner or later, like all things fashionable, SUVs will go out of fashion.....

Hopefully whining about them will go out of fashion (if it isn't terribly passé already), but I think it's unlikely that such a practical configuration will disappear.

9 December 2014
At the risk of not comparing like with like - for I am only talking about design here - I'd rather have a whole TT range than that hideous Mini range. These TT variants manage to retain and extend the TT DNA. Minis breed from ugly genes.

9 December 2014
I really enjoy the comments on Autocar - often feeling I'm learning more from them than the preceding article! So let's not spoil things and make this site like so many others on the public sewer system that is so much of the internet. A crisp well-reasoned argument or a witty riposte is much more effective (& entertaining) than crude abuse. C'mon chaps - put away your cudgels & sharpen your pens instead.

10 December 2014
The Audi TT Shooting Brake is already in production. At least the last generation version is. It is the VW Scirocco. As I recall the year before the Scirocco was introduced Autocar did an article on the Audi TT Shooting Brake concept which was clearly a "mule" for the Scirocco even down to the same tailgate and rear glass house. If this does not confirm that the last TT is a "Golf in running shorts" I do not know what will. Having said that the Audi TT Shooting Brake concept was much classier than the Scirocco and if it had been put into production no doubt the price would have reflected that.
Agree completely with AHA1 too - no trolling is required on Autocar.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK