10 April 2006

Hot on the heels of last week’s symbolism-heavy launch, Audi has announced that orders can now be placed for the new TT, with the first deliveries said to be in October.

The 200bhp front-wheel drive 2.0-litre TFSI costs from £24,625 on the road; the 250bhp four-wheel drive 3.2-litre V6 from £29,285. That compares with £28,960 for the outgoing V6 and £21,290 for the outgoing 187bhp 1.8T. 0-60mph times for the two new models are 6.4 and 5.7 seconds respectively.

The car features a chassis made from 69 per cent aluminium and 31 per cent steel. This is the first time an Audi Space Frame chassis has been made from a blend of materials. The steel is there to balance out the loads on front and rear axles.

Both engine variants come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, though the re-christened DSG (now called S tronic) dual-clutch gearbox is available as an option, likely to cost the same as in the previous model (£1400).

Audi is setting high store by the widened track and multi-link rear suspension. To further sharpen the TT’s dynamics there is a magnetic ride damper system. Magnetised particles in the dampers’ oil respond within milliseconds when an electric current is applied to them.

Going for the V6 version gets you 18-inch alloys rather than 17-inchers, four-wheel drive, heated front seats and Nappa leather (the 2.0-litre gets a leather/Alcantara mix), bigger brakes, darkened rear lights and chrome headlight surrounds.

The competition is rather fiercer than in 1999, when the previous car was launched in the UK. Mazda’s RX-8 offers 228bhp for £22,300; Nissan’s 350Z offers 300bhp for £25,500. But European pedigree doesn’t come so cheap: Alfa wants £24,500 for a 182bhp Brera (which is compared with the RX-8 in this week’s mag) and BMW will relieve you of £25,305 for a 168bhp 3-series coupé.

Our Verdict

Ford S-Max 2006-2014

The Ford S-Max a highly accomplished car, but it needs to be cheaper when demand for MPVs is being eradicated by the high-riding SUV competition

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