The range kicks off with the TDI Ultra Sport, which is powered by a 182bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, hits 0-62mph in 7.1sec and has a top speed of 150mph. It's by no means a slouch.
Next up in the range is the 178bhp 1.8-litre TFSI engine which is punchy enough to reach 62mph from standstill in 6.9 seconds, while the 227bhp, 273lb ft front-wheel-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. The flagship 2.0-litre TTS packs 305bhp and cracks 0-62mph in 4.9sec (4.6sec with S tronic gearbox) and is limited to 155mph.
Not much more than a decade ago, a claimed 0-62mph time of 6.0sec precisely would be enough to earn a coupé the label of junior supercar. But such is progress that today the performance claim applies to this least powerful of petrol Audi TTs. What’s just as remarkable is that it is supposed to achieve it despite the drawbacks of a manual gearbox, front-wheel drive and 'only' 227bhp.
Yet the TT is no slouch. Rain hampered its acceleration tests, but still it managed to reach 60mph in 6.6sec. For a better reflection of its performance, though, you have to remove the traction-limited sections of its run and compare it over, say, a 30-70mph sprint, which the TT completes in 5.0sec.
A previous-generation Porsche Cayman wanted hardly less, at 4.9sec. Left in fourth gear, the TT will reach 70mph from 30mph in just 8.0sec. The Cayman? It took 10.6sec.
Ah, you’ll argue, efficient though it may be, a turbocharged four will never be as charming as a naturally aspirated flat six, and you’d be right. The TT’s four-pot, though, is pleasing enough.
In this modest state of tune, it’s sufficiently responsive at low revs that lag is minimal and it’s powerful right through the range. Peak torque is made from 1600rpm to 4300rpm. Just 200rpm after that, peak power arrives and stays until 6200rpm, close to the 6600rpm red line.
It seems like a long time since we last road tested a performance Audi with a manual gearbox, but the shift on the six-speed unit is slick, and although we’re utterly familiar with the control weights and shift quality – which means a TT’s controls feel precious little different from those of a cooking A3 – for most owners, who won’t have tried myriad others, this won’t be an issue.