Currently reading: New Audi TT meets its ancestors - picture special
How does the new Audi TT stack up against its older siblings? We put all three generations of the sports car together to find out

It won’t take much more than a glance, if you’re familiar with the look of the first two generations of Audi TT, to see that this third iteration has pretty strong visual links with the first.

That 1998 TT caused a small storm of desire and did much to reinvigorate interest in coupés. It was, says Audi exterior project designer Dany Garand, “a sports car with uncompromising form language. The 2006 car was more integrated into the Audi form language”.

“The original 1998 model,” he explains, “had a strong geometric form, and was quite symmetrical front to back”. For this version “we wanted to keep the geometric form, but lose the front-to-rear symmetry because it’s a sports car and it needs to look dynamic”.

What you’ll recognise from the 1998 car in the 2014 model are “the plant-on cabin, the add-on arches and the sills that are parallel to the ground - the second generation car had a rising sill,’ says Garand.

The plant-on cabin was very much a feature of the first TT, which almost appeared to have a separate hardtop. This look faded somewhat with the 2006 version, whose rear pillars and more gently raked rear screen blended more fluently into its wings. For the 2014 TT there’s more of a kick in the line at the base of the glasshouse, to create a stronger hint of that plant-on look.

“Sperical lines are also very present in the first car,” says Garand. For this TT we’ve made more positive use of geometry than for the previous model, and it has faster lines too. It has fast shoulders, and lots of tension.’ Other very recognisable sculptings from the first car include the flat doors - the 2006’s doors were concave - the curved cut in the bonnet’s shut-line as it crests the wheelarches, and the closer-set pair of exhaust pipes.

The result is a TT that looks closer to the original without going retro, and without completely abandoning the look of the second-generation car. And it’s now even more carefully crafted, Garand pointing to the crisp outer edges of the wheelarch creases, and the final twist of the tornado lines that charge along the Audi’s flanks as they faintly dip towards the ground.

“Isn’t it hard to manufacture a body with that precision?”, I ask him. “Actually, they like the challenge,” he says of his engineering colleagues. Who we can be sure will be challenged again with the fourth-generation TT in eight years' time. 

Read more about the new Audi TT.


Read our review

Car review

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

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voyager12 12 April 2014

The latest...

I consider the best-looking, contrary to what most TT afficionado's are saying. If the base version is going to have a single exhaust, then it should be positioned in the middle, not to disturb the symmetry of the design. A shooting brake version would be nice, and I would not be surprised if it would sell better.
bowsersheepdog 10 April 2014

plus ça change plus c'est la déparée chose

i have to agree with all the other posters so far. the first tt was far better looking than either of the cars that have followed it. it had a smooth flowing shape and was simply prettier. from it's more attractive elegant headlight lenses back the whole thing was a classier and more glamorous car. when you read words in the article like lines, cuts, sculptings, creases, you just know that the designers have sat at their desks thinking up unnecessary things to do to a form which had already been perfected, for the sake of difference and newness. even the bootlip spoiler on some models of the mark I detracted from it's sexy curves which should have been left entirely unmolested.even the interior was better. (incidentally i wonder how many drivers of mark II versions have ever mocked the austin allegro's quartic steering wheel? not that flat-bottoms are exclusive to tts of course). simpler again, and more elegant and classy as on the outside. had audi left the car looking just as it did in 1998 and put all the money into the things you can't see i'm sure they would have sold more and made more money back.
The Special One 7 April 2014

It was always going to be

It was always going to be tricky to update the iconic shape of the original, and I think they've done a pretty good job of it with both newer generations.