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It has taken just 16 years for the TT to attain the design icon status that the likes of the Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz SL and Volkswagen Golf took two or three times longer to achieve.

This car’s visual idiom is now truly iconic and untouchable. That’s why this third-generation TT is almost exactly as long and as tall as the previous model, with styling that is predictably reverential. For its owners, this is a fashion statement as much as a sports car, so it’s vital that it looks fresh and compelling.

Ingolstadt took 90kg out of the TT between the Mk1 and Mk2. It has saved a further 50kg for this Mk3

Audi walks that tightrope well. The car’s surfaces have a little more tension in them and its details sport more modern technical intrigue, but its size and proportions are as they have always been and the silhouette is unmistakable. Students of design wouldn’t call the car classically elegant, but the geometrical symmetry of the overall aesthetic means it remains a paragon of visual strength if not conventional beauty.

The mixed steel and aluminium construction survives, as does all-independent suspension. As before, the TT offers a range of transverse, front-mounted engines and front or quattro four-wheel drive. If the dynamic purity of rear-wheel drive is what you’re after in a sports coupé, look elsewhere.

A choice of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines is available, and it’s the 227bhp, 273lb ft front-drive TFSI manual we’re testing, resident at the lower end of the model hierarchy but expected to account for a majority share of the sales mix. There is also an 181bhp diesel engine and the entry-level 178bhp 1.8 TFSI engine to choose from, while those aching for more power can opt for the 2.0 TFSI TTS which puts out 305bhp. Later this year a 394bhp 2.5-litre TFSI engine will be added to the range solely for the TT RS.

We’re also sampling S line specification, which brings more aggressive body styling than Sport trim as well as lowered, passive sports suspension. Adaptive magnetorheological damping is available as an option.