Fleet News

Audi TT Quattro Sport

Audi

Review

ORIGINALLY, Audi intended to import just 1,000 right-hand drive versions of its stripped-out TT quattro Sport.

This exclusivity goes some way to explaining its uncompromising appearance, especially inside where there are no rear seats and up front a pair of the most heavily bolstered race seats you can get in a road car.

But due to the interest in the limited edition, this model is now a mainstay, topping the four-cylinder engine line-up in the recently revised range. Its 1.8-litre turbo engine offers 237bhp – 15bhp more than the regular TTs but 10bhp down on the cheaper V6 version.

So what do you get in the quattro Sport to warrant the £650 premium over the 3.2 V6? Well, the question really should be what less do you get, as Audi has adopted a weight reduction plan on this most focused of TTs.

As well as losing the rear seats and parcel shelf, the spare wheel has been replaced with a foam system to reinflate a damaged tyre. These measures combined shave 49kg off the TT’s kerb weight.

More power and less weight are always a good recipe for making a faster car, but Audi hasn’t stopped there – the suspension has been firmed up, there’s a torsion bar fitted in place of the rear seats to improve chassis stiffness, the brakes have been upgraded and there are slightly wider 18-inch alloy wheels for increased grip and traction.

It all adds up to make the quattro Sport the most driver-focused TT ever. Wedging yourself into the race-style driver’s seat (tricky if you’re wider than a 38-inch waist and a fairly difficult process thanks to the high side bolsters) and gripping the Alcantara-covered steering wheel tells you this is something different from a regular TT.

And when you put your foot down on the accelerator for the first time, the extra performance is obvious.

This TT accelerates much harder than other models, and indeed it is the quickest TT there is to 62mph (5.9 seconds compared with 6.5 for the V6).

But that benchmark acceleration sprint is only part of the TT’s repertoire. In-gear progress is incredibly rapid, helped by a gearbox which makes snap shifts between the gears easy.

As you would expect from a sporty Audi, the ride is very firm and with the revised suspension settings it could be too much for drivers using the car daily.

Every pothole and defect in the road is transmitted straight through the spine, leaving you feeling as if you’ve had a workout when you arrive at your destination.

But this is what the quattro Sport is for. It’s a serious bit of driving kit and it advertises this with its two-tone exterior (black roof and a limited choice of body colours).

Shrinking violets should go for a regular TT, but for those who are prepared to make the compromise, the TT quattro Sport is a great drive.

Fact file

Audi TT quattro Sport 1.8T 240

Delivered price, standard car (P11D value): £29,157
CO2 emissions (g/km): 226
BIK % of P11D in 2005: 32%
Graduated VED rate: £165
Insurance group: 19
Combined mpg: 30.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £12,400/43%
Depreciation (27.92 pence per mile x 60,000): £16,752
Maintenance (4.95 pence per mile x 60,000): £2,970
Fuel (13.81 pence per mile x 60,000): £8,286
Wholelife cost (46.68 pence per mile x 60,000): £28,008
Typical contract hire rate: N/A

  • All figures based on 3yrs/60,000 miles.
    Rental quote from HSBC Vehicle Finance

    At a glance

    We like

  • Race-car looks
  • Performance
  • Cheapest BIK tax bill

    We don’t like

  • Seats a tight fit
  • Getting in isn’t easy
  • Jarring ride

    Three rivals to consider

  • Alfa Romeo GT Coupe V6
  • Honda S2000 GT
  • Nissan 350Z GT

    P11D price

    WE have picked four sports cars which any user-chooser would love to have on their choice list. Alfa Romeo’s gorgeous GT Coupe with its sonorous 3.2-litre V6 engine is the cheapest. The Honda S2000, with its screaming engine and with a hard top as standard in GT trim, costs £500 more. Another £200 further back is the equally vocal and thrilling Nissan 350Z in GT spec, while the Audi is easily the dearest.

    Alfa Romeo £27,097
    Honda £27,597
    Nissan £27,797
    Audi £29,157

    SMR costs

    THE two Japanese cars are closely matched in terms of SMR costs. Over three years and 60,000 miles the 350Z will cost £2,550 – £300 less than S2000, despite the Honda coming with a 90,000-mile warranty while the Nissan offers the industry norm 60,000. The Audi is not too far back, with projected costs of £2,870. The TT isn’t helped by its unusual 8.5-inch wide tyres, which will cost more than the 8-inch items used on the others. The Alfa will cost just under £3,050.

    Nissan 4.25ppm
    Honda 4.75ppm
    Audi 4.95ppm
    Alfa Romeo 5.08ppm

    Fuel costs

    AS fleet manager, you need to treat these figures with caution. In an ideal world your drivers will try to eke out the maximum mpg but these are sports cars and as a result they will be driven keenly. But for the record, the Audi is the most fuel-efficient, returning a claimed 30.1mpg, resulting in a fuel bill of around £8,300 over three years/60,000 miles. Honda’s S2000 will return 28.5mpg for a bill of £8,754, while the Nissan’s 24.8mpg translates into a cost of just over £10,000. The Alfa is the least frugal, returning 22.8mpg.

    Audi 13.81ppm
    Honda 14.59ppm
    Nissan 16.77ppm
    Alfa Romeo 18.24ppm

    Depreciation costs

    A COMBINATION of a relatively low front-end price and the best residual value forecast sees the Nissan win this sector. CAP predicts the 350Z GT will retain a healthy 44% of its cost new after three years/60,000 miles, leaving a cash-lost figure of around £15,500. The Honda is marginally cheaper than the Nissan, but its RV figure of 42% results in a cash-lost figure of just over £16,000. The Audi will lose £16,757 and the Alfa Romeo £20,122, thanks to its lowly 26% RV.

    Nissan 25.91ppm
    Honda 26.82ppm
    Audi 27.92ppm
    Alfa Romeo 33.53ppm

    Wholelife costs

    THE Honda doesn’t excel in any of our running costs areas, but it secures the runner-up spot in each sector. This consistent performance sees it secure victory here, undercutting the Audi by half-a-penny per mile over three years/60,000 miles. The Nissan runs the top two close and will cost just £462 more than the Honda over the same period. The Alfa Romeo is a distant fourth, thanks mainly to a poor residual value.

    Honda 46.16ppm
    Audi 46.68ppm
    Nissan 46.93ppm
    Alfa Romeo 56.85ppm

    Emissions and BIK tax rates

    OBVIOUSLY, none of these cars are going to be easy on the pocket for drivers in terms of company car tax and, to be honest, staff selecting these cars aren’t going to be too concerned.

    Despite having the highest P11d value, the Audi is the cheapest, falling into the 32% benefit-in-kind tax band. This will result in a bill of £311 per month for a 40% taxpayer. By contrast, the Honda will cost just £1 more a month, with the Alfa costing £316, thanks to its low front-end price, and the Nissan £324.

    Audi 226g/km/32%
    Honda 237g/km/34%
    Nissan 273g/km/35%
    Alfa Romeo 295g/km/35%

    Verdict

    CHOOSING a winner here is difficult, as driver tax bills are not such an issue. However, style and performance are, which is how we’ve selected the winner. The Audi scores well in both, but as an all-rounder it is too compromised. We would choose the Nissan – it’s slightly more practical, on a par with the others on wholelife costs yet has bags of character and is great to drive.

  • WINNER: Nissan 350Z GT
  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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