The new 2015 Audi TT – Thoughts and first drive

I wrote this a while back (well over a year) but never got round to posting it. Here are my thoughts on the latest iteration of the Audi TT.

I was lucky enough to get to drive both the 2.0TFSI Quattro S tronic Coupe and a 2.0TFSI Convertible FWD, and I must admit I was extremely impressed with both.

Audi TT

Where to begin… well the new chassis is absolutely fantastic. The new TT is based on the latest MQB platform, which is a largely aluminium-intensive construction. This has resulted in a decrease in weight, which means there is now a starting weight in the line up of about 1250kg. The result is a very agile car, where the steering is direct and sharp (which was one of my main complaints in the mk2 TT). In all honesty this new chassis is one of the best standard car chassis I have driven to date, particularly in the 2.0TFSI Quattro. I now need to get my hands on a mk3 TTS…

Now I wasn’t blown away when the TT was first announced, I don’t think the pictures did it justice. Then the time came where I was able to view it in the flesh, the exterior looks have certainly grown on me.

I have to say though that I think Audi really played it safe with the exterior styling, the biggest change was moving the 4 rings from the grill on to the bonnet, following the R8. Aside from that some of the curves have been turned in to more angular creases, making the new TT look more aggressive.

The new LED headlights look stunning and the front grill is following the new Audi ‘family’ look, with its more angular lines.

Everyone knows Audi make some of the best interiors in the world, from the quality of materials, the comfort the seats and the full adjustability of the driving position.

So the new TT interior… this is where Audi have really put in the hard work on this new TT.

audi-tt-road-test-2015-006

The interior is truly sensational – the most noticeable difference is the addition of the Virtual Cockpit screen that replaces conventional dials with a widescreen configurable set-up. The climate control toggles are now hidden within the intricate air vents. The leather is soft and luxurious.

Only downside is the rear seats, realistically you will get a small child in the back but that is about it. However if you don’t need them and put them flat, there is a sizeable boot that does increase the practicality of the car.

All in all the mk3 TT has a beautifully designed and finished interior.

Now to the best bit, where I got to drive two variations of the new TT, the 2.0TFSI Quattro S tronic Coupe and a 2.0TFSI Convertible FWD S tronic. I have constrained myself here by forcing myself to remember the market this sits in, so to remind myself the Audi TT is a coupe that is aimed to blend a sports car driver enjoyment with everyday usability and ease of driving. So with that said, lets start with the convertible.

Convertible

So upon jumping in the car and having a play with various bit of interior, it’s time to start the car. Foot on the break and push the nice silver start button; this is a very nice touch having keyless start. The engine starts up and gives a little roar, a subtle indication that you are sitting in a 2.0TFSI and a small signs of what is to come.

As I pull away and have to navigate a couple of corner and a roundabout, you can instantly feel the weight difference versus the mk2. This comes from a combination of the new MQB platform and the new 2.0TFSI, which had 50kg shaved from the previous generation 2.0TFSI engine.

As I continue on the road, the car is comfortable, smooth and effortless in building speed. When I did get the opportunity to really flex the cars legs, that wonderful Audi trait, the tendency to understeer presents it’s self, but being honest for every day driving you wouldn’t be anywhere near reaching the limit.

The day I drove the car was damp and there was a light bit of rain coming down, so as you can imagine there were challenges faced to get the power down hard, but if you regulated the throttle it was possible. The new S tronic box is brilliant, gear changes are split second, you can notice this difference vs. the previous generation s tronic box but this is most down to mapping on the box. One of the most enjoyable things about driving this car is the noise it makes on upshifts at full throttle. Wow, they are loud and sound fantastic. One thing I did find myself doing in both cars was changing up and down the gears unnecessarily most of the time just to hear the pops and crackles.

As I drove back to return the car I had a play with the different drive select settings and played more with the stunning virtual cockpit display. There was a noticeable difference between the different drive select settings. My thoughts as I pull up to hand the keys over, the new TT is 2.0TFSI FWD convertible guise is a very good car to drive, it offers masses of comfort and smoothness for everyday driving but can get a move on when pushed.

Coupe

Now let’s move on to the TT Coupe. This was the car I really wanted to drive; this would be the choice if I were to purchase a new mk3 TT.

As I set off and navigate the first couple of corners and roundabout, the car feels slightly lights a more direct on turn in. To begin with I am questioning if this is a placebo effect or genuine. The ride with the car in Auto on comfort letting it do it’s thing is great for day to day driving in traffic where you don’t really need any of the 230ps (227bhp – which this car shares with the MK7 Golf GTI).

Now on to the part I was most looking forward to and getting to press on with the car. First thing I notice is the significant increase in grip due to the new Haldex Quattro system. On the limit the car has the tendency to understeer and you can really feel the haldex shuffling round the power to find you that grip. It is quite a nice sensation.

I didn’t have the opportunity to play with the TC and ABS settings, but with these on the car was still extremely fun to drive. Turn is was sharp and direct, the grip levels were phenomenal. Even in the wet, you would have to really be pushing on to be reaching the limit.

The S tronic box again is lightening quick on shifting up and down the gears, the noise the car produced on full throttle upshifts, again was music to my ears and made me up and downshift unnecessarily.

Having only had the opportunity to test the 2.0TFSI and S tronic options, I would like to try and manual 2.0TDI as I believe that the chassis set up and a bit more of driver involvement could be the peach of the line up.

For me personally though the Quattro would be the only option and the sacrifice of a manual gearbox for the S tronic, is worth it, which I never thought I would say. 

Verdict:

The new Audi TT is brilliant to drive, both fun and sensible. The exterior looks aren’t going to break the car world but it is certainly progressive from the previous generation. It is the interior where the biggest step has been made. Closely behind the interior is the way the car drives, it is now smooth, direct and extremely fun. Overall the mk3 TT Coupe is one of the best coupes available to buy. Now time to get behind the wheel of the new TTRS – now that looks like a monster and will be an interesting comparison to the 718 Boxster S I had last year.

 

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