To make this TT look more like a sports car, exterior project designer Dany Garand explains that ‘there are more facets, and more tension in the surface, positioning the TT as a legitimate sports car.’ Theses facets, like the sheer surfaces of a cut diamond, are most evident in the Audi’s shoulders, which are broad, fairly flat and given heightened emphasis by the relative flatness of the bodywork beneath them. ‘It’s a fast shoulder, with lots of tension’ says Garand.
The TT’s dynamism is further emphasised by the way that the tornado line, as Audi calls the creases forming the lower edge of those shoulders, turns to form part of the car’s nose. ‘There’s more speed in the line descending towards the grille,’ says Garand. ‘It provides a first defining line for the headlight.’ Those headlamps provide a new light signature consisting of ‘ two vertical spars, wide apart’, says Garand.
Another fresh signature is the relocation of the Audi rings to the bonnet, a detail shared with the R8 and a detail that will identify all Audi sports cars in future. But there’s plenty that’s familiar about this third-generation TT, not least the ratio of glass to bodywork. ‘The one-third glasshouse, two-thirds body proportioning of all Audis is slightly different for the TT,’ says Garand, ‘the glazing being slightly less than a third,’ as it’s been for the previous generations of the car too.
What has changed are the TT’s wheelbase-to-length proportions, its axles stretched further apart within the same footprint, a change that also adds to its air of sporting dynamism.
There’s obscure dynamism to be found inside too, the upper surface of the dashboard modelled on the shape of ‘a lightweight aircraft’s wing,’ says Kandler. When he reveals a picture of the slightly cranked aircraft wing in question, the link is easy to see. It’s a detail you’d need to be told about to pick up, but there’s no denying the clean elegance of the dashboard’s structure, which is once again characterised by the prominent quintet of airvents, these apparently referencing jet engines.
But these are vents with a difference, the heating and ventilation controls ingeniously integrated into their design. ‘It was a challenge to lift the HVAC controls to the airvents,’ says Kandler, another challenge being to ‘integrate the infotainment system into the instruments.’ Which is undoubtedly the most radical feature of this TT’s interior, all the infotainment displays now presented within a configurable virtual instrument pack.
Drivers can choose between several layouts, ranging from a classic large dial presentation with a minimum of extra displays to a layout in which the navigation map flows around dials of much reduced scale. It sounds messy, but in a static car at least, it appears to work. There’s also a set-up highlighting the user’s MP3 choice complete with artwork, while another display majors on the rev counter for track and fast road driving.
Other in-cabin changes include a switch to an electronic park brake - not very sportscar like, but it frees up centre console space - and a new steering wheel whose compact airbag design allows it to provide a home for plenty of switches. These include infotainment controls, enabling you to control it without dropping a hand to the MMI controller on the centre console. This now includes a mouse function in its top surface so that you scrawl characters on it with a digit.
But the sporting ambitions of this new TT are also evident, not only in the slightly lower seating position, but also the more substantial seat bolsters. And there’s also a so-called super sport seat option, this chair very elegantly upholstered in leather.
So there’s plenty that’s new in this TT, and plenty that’s familiar, too. Next week, we’ll detail how Audi has taken plenty of inspiration and detail design from the original 1998 car - and a little from the 2006 model - to fashion this one.