By now it should be clear: the second-generation Audi TT coupé is a very fine car. The range-topping 3.2 quattro has an appealing combination of looks, technology, performance, handling and quality; its talents are enough to place it above key rivals such as the BMW Z4 Coupé and Nissan 350Z.
But what of the base model, the front-wheel-drive 2.0T, a car Audi officials expect to take up to 60 per cent of UK TT sales?
Provided your priority is not Porsche Cayman S-slaying performance, the answer is a resounding yes. Undercutting the 3.2 quattro by a cool £6060, the 2.0T appears well poised to continue the success of the old 1.8T, which has sold in bigger numbers here than in any other country, making the UK the TT’s largest market.
On looks alone, there’s every reason to recommend the cheapest of the new TT line-up. This is one good-looking car, brimming with tension and endowed with brilliant detailing, although the standard 16-inch wheels look somewhat undersized beneath those heavily flared arches.
Purists will insist it is an inferior imitation of the original, but the altered dimensions give it a nicely balanced appearance while at the same time adding to its overall versatility. The new Audi looks better on the road than in photographs, and it’s beautifully made – inside and out.
What's it like?
The 2.0T’s turbocharged 197bhp 2.0-litre direct injection four-cylinder TFSI engine may lack the cachet and refinement of the larger, naturally aspirated 3.2-litre V6 in the 3.2 quattro, but it gives the TT an impressive turn of speed if you’re prepared to keep it percolating in the mid to upper reaches. It’s an outstandingly flexible engine, with a lovely, linear delivery that’s devoid of any perceptible lag. The only real criticism is a momentary pause on a lifted throttle before the revs begin to descend.
Tipping the scales at a trim 1260kg with Audi’s optional S-tronic twin-clutch gearbox, as fitted to our test car, the 2.0T undercuts the range-topping 3.2 quattro by a substantial 150kg, helping it achieve a power-to-weight ratio of 156bhp per tonne, against 173bhp for its considerably more expensive sibling. At 6.4sec, the 2.0T’s claimed 0-62sec time can’t match that of the 3.2 V6, but it’s just 0.7sec behind – almost all of it lost in the initial burst off the line, where its front-wheel-drive layout is no match for more advanced four-wheel-drive hardware.