The new Audi TT will aim to emulate the success story of its forebears
The first generation of the Audi TT went on sale in 1998
The second generation of the best-selling sports car came in 2006
The all-new third-generation model will go on sale in the UK next year
By today's standards the cabin of the first-generation TT is somewhat spartan
The second-generation model included new luxuries like integrated satellite-navigation
The new TT features a digital instrument cluster, which can be configured to display a range of information
One of the main areas of evolution between the original TT and the new models is in its headlight designs
The second-generation model featured LED daytime running lights
The new TT includes slimmer headlight clusters, adding to its more muscular overall look
The Mk1 TT came with Audi's quattro four-wheel drive system as standard
The original TT's circular air vents also feature on the new model
The original TT came with a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine
The TT clubsport quattro concept car came with more than 300bhp
The interior of the clubsport came with racing bucket seats and four-point racing harnesses
Production of the first-generation Audi TT ended in summer 2006
The second Audi TT was offered in both front and quattro four-wheel drive
Some say the interior of the Mk2 TT lacks the individualism of the original
The Mk2's 3.2-litre V6 engine made it a viable rival to the Porsche Cayman
The Mk2 TTS's four-wheel drive system can transfer 100 per cent of torque to either the front or the rear wheels
The TTS is capable of sprinting to 62mph in 5.4 seconds
TTS's 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is good for 268bhp
TTS Roadster gained 269bhp from its 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine
The TTS roadster can reach 62mph in 5.7 seconds, dropping to 5.5 seconds with the S tronic transmission
In its fastest form, the TT RS coupé can reach 62mph in 4.1 seconds
Plenty of past and present TT models have competed in motorsport
The Audi TT-R was a championship-winner in DTM racing in the early 2000s
DTM driver Laurent Aiello won the title in a TT-R in 2002
The new TT quattro sport concept gets 414bhp, and can reach 62mph in 3.7 seconds
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.