Audi has gone all out to ensure that the second-generation TT can mount a credible attack on the prowess of the BMW Z4 Coupe, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Nissan 350Z and Porsche Cayman.
Audi’s primary target was reducing the TT’s weight, and at 1430kg, this new 3.2-litre V6-engined car is 60kg lighter than the car it replaces.
Under the clamshell bonnet of the initial range-topping version lurks Audi’s familiar 3.2-litre V6 engine, complete with direct injection and a high 11.3:1 compression ratio. Mounted transversely but slightly lower and further back in the engine bay than before – both in a bid to improve the overall centre of gravity and to ensure sufficient clearance from the bonnet, in line with the latest pedestrian safety regulations – the compact 24-valve unit kicks out 247bhp at 6300rpm, along with 235lb ft of torque between 2500 and 3000rpm.
The defining feature of the new TT’s driveline is Audi’s updated six-speed S-tronic gearbox (nee DSG). Available as a £1400 option above the standard six-speed manual, the double-clutch unit is perfectly suited to the 3.2-litre V6’s flexible nature. It even manages to improve on the previous DSG’s trick of providing that rare combination of smoothness and speed of gearchange.
What’s it like?
With less mass to haul and improved aerodynamic properties, the TT’s straight-line acceleration has improved. Ingolstadt claims 0-62mph in 5.7sec – a good half a second inside the old V6’s time. Top speed, as before, remains pegged at 155mph. The new TT’s pop-up rear spoiler deploys from the rear bodywork at 75mph. Which brings us neatly to probably the most important question about the car: has the new TT shaken off the dynamic foibles of the first TT? Is this new one as good to drive as they’ve promised?
The answer’s a profound yes. With tracks that are 44mm wider at the front and 53mm at the rear, stability has been improved out of sight. This car tracks much more faithfully at motorway speeds than the original TT, and when you come off the power there’s none of the old corkscrew antics.
On winding roads the new TT proves more fluid and willing to follow instruction than the Mk1 model, and it communicates much more insistently. A large part of this is down to the more sophisticated suspension and the fact that it’s been tuned with keen drivers in mind. Body control is excellent, with less pitch and roll over undulations and mid-corner irregularities.
The speed-sensitive power steering – an electro-hydraulic system based on that used in the A3 – is light at town speeds and offers accurate turn-in. That said, it could do with a touch more feedback when you’re pushing hard, when the TT’s natural tendency is to understeer. Still, if you’re prepared to keep your foot planted and rely on the ability of the four-wheel drive system to shift power from the front wheels towards the rear, it can be made to corner in a fantastically neutral manner. It’s a process that calls for delicate steering inputs, but it is hugely satisfying. And get this: it elevates the TT’s dynamic prowess to a level where it can genuinely be regarded as a rival to the Cayman S.
Should I buy one?
There’s no question about it: the new TT has taken a huge leap forward in the way it drives. Like the latest RS4, it proves that Ingolstadt’s attitude to dynamics has changed out of all recognition compared with the uninspiring Audis of the past decade or more. The company wants to sell 65,000 TTs a year; on this evidence, it may well shift a good deal more.