27 November 2006
The first task of the designers of the second-generation Audi
TT was to make it look like an Audi TT. This may sound like a strange
statement to anyone who doesnít know their cars, but the lines of the
original Audi coupe are so radical that it was vital not to change them
Most TT enthusiasts will like the shape of the new
model, but there are some full-on purists who may feel the new model has
lost some of the extreme edge it once enjoyed. While the rounded shape
generally remains as before, the new-generation TT has gained a maturity
that wasnít there in the original.
Itís as though a strong minded teenager who was always
determined to do their one thing has suddenly lost their rebellious edge
and become more elegant upon entering their early 20s.
At the same time the teenager has become larger and more
self assured Ė because the new TT is pretty well half a size up on the
old. Length, width and wheelbase have all increased substantially,
firstly to give more interior and boot space, secondly to permit greater
crumple rates in a crash.
Audi's trademark single-frame grille has been
successfully carried across to the new TT, it now blends neatly into the
shape of the revised headlights. A sleeker bonnet line carries into the
carís shoulders and tapers out towards the distinctive rear lights.
Naturally, the domed roof, the most prominent feature of the first TT,
has been retained.
The stuck -on rear wing that was a somewhat ugly feature
of all-but the earliest of the original TT has thankfully gone. Its
place taken by one that raises once the speed exceeds 120 km/h in order
to improve downforce and stability. It can be also raised manually for
cleaning purposes (which is something to keep in mind if a policemen
queries the fact that the wing is up!).
All-in-all itís a lovely styling job and there are
even those who say it reminds them of a Porsche 911 at the rear. High
At its launch the second-generation TT is offered in
coupe form with either a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder FSI turbo engine (147
kW and 280 Nm) or a 3.2-litre naturally aspirated V6 (184 kW and 320
Australian imports of the 2.0-litre are offered with
either a six-speed full manual or six-speed automated manual gearbox.
The 3.2-litre is only being imported with the automated unit. Audi calls
its automated manual the ĎS tronicí, the new title given to the DSG
gearbox we have raved about in the past.
Much as we as revheads enjoy changing gears ourselves we
are being forced to admit that the S tronic does it better. Not only
providing faster changes and therefore better performance, but using
less fuel and creating fewer emissions at the same time.
Also standard on the 3.2-litre is Audi's famed quattro
all-wheel drive system. Channeling 320 Newton metres to the front wheels
only could have lead to traction problems. These would probably have
been dealt with by electronically limiting the engine in the lower
gears, and nobody wants that.
Inside the cabin the new Audi TT still retains the
circular sporting theme in the dash area that we loved in the old model.
It works beautifully and the sporting/luxury compromise is neatly
integrated by the use of quality materials throughout the interior.
The front seats are spacious, yet support nicely in hard
cornering. The rear seats are larger than before and suitable for
tolerant people of below average height.
Boot space is now enough to take two golf bags. Itís
very easy to load through a large rear hatch.
We had the good fortune to road and track test the new
Audi TT, the track work at the famed Phillip Island circuit. This is a
scary track with very fast bends interspersed with hard braking for
tight corners which follow long straights.
The second-generation Audi TT certainly showed its
maturity by displaying impressive stability no matter how hard it was
driven. Extra size, particularly in the wheelbase and track, can
certainly transform a car.
Audi's TT is now a true sports coupe, not simply a
good-looking hatchback. Yet it remains a fine cruiser that looks good on
the way to, as well as outside, your favourite cafe.
The Audi TT model range, with prices (excluding on-road
Coupe 2.0 TFSI: $68,900 (manual), $72,500 (S tronic)
Coupe 3.2 V6 quattro: $88,900 (S tronic)