TO put it bluntly, the Audi TT has always been a poseur’s car. It’s got style by the bucketload, but the driving experience has never matched its sports car billing.
Until now that is. The all-new TT finally has the driving talent to match its striking looks.
The new model retains many of the styling cues of its predecessor, albeit in a larger size. Those prominent wheelarch blisters and angular lights are still there, but the new TT is longer, wider and taller than the original model, and also has a slightly stretched wheelbase for improved ride and handling.
But as most cars get bigger they also get fatter. Not so with the TT as Audi has brought its expertise in aluminium to its sports car, using a mixture of aluminium and steel for the body and chassis. This makes it 48% lighter than if it were built entirely from steel, and also lighter than the model it replaces.
This makes the TT sharper and faster than before – and also makes it an even more attractive proposition to perk car drivers with a fairly generous allowance.
The original TT secured a strong following among user-chooser drivers, and fleet sales have accounted for around 30% of total volume during the car’s life.
According to Iain Carmichael, head of fleet sales at Audi, this performance is likely to continue and the firm already has 2,500 orders. But if you haven’t already ordered a TT, you won’t be able to get one until next year as supply will remain limited.
Carmichael said: ‘We could push the factory for more cars but then we would be satisfying demand, and keeping supply lower than demand helps us to manage residual values, which is crucial in the fleet sector.’
This approach seems to be working, with CAP estimating the TT will retain between 52% and 55% of cost new after three years and 60,000 miles – a useful uplift over the old model which hovered between 43% and 45%. With RVs like this, the TT makes a compelling case for itself.
He added: ‘We are delighted that the car has sold so well with so little information available.
‘TT is not a core fleet product but it’s a great car as it gives us cache. The new model’s strengths are that it is larger and has a very competitive entry price point.’
The 2.0’s sub-£25,000 pricetag makes most sense for user-choosers, while the near-£30,000 V6 is a much costlier option.
A 40% taxpayer faces a benefit-in-kind tax bill of £187 a month to drive the 2.0 TFSI, compared with £339 a month for the V6. And specifying the S-tronic semi-automatic gearbox on the V6 – a £1,400 optional extra – actually lowers the V6’s bill to £315 a month thanks to its lower CO2 emissions.
Both models are on sale now, and will be joined next year by the open-topped Roadster version, likely to arrive in the second quarter, and possibly a more hardcore version similar to the old version’s quattro Sport.
There are also rumours of a diesel version, unsurprising seeing the amount of money Audi ploughed into winning the Le Mans 24-hour race with its R10 TDI. Carmichael added: ‘A diesel TT makes sense for our brand, although nothing is decided yet.’
Behind the wheel
I’VE been racking my brain but I can’t remember sitting in a better car cabin than the new TT’s.
It is typical Audi – well-built, stylish, simple – but this time with some added flair thanks to a flat-bottomed, race car-like steering wheel, neatly-packaged MMI system and some incredibly hugging front sports seats.
Two engines were available to try on the launch – the entry-level turbocharged 2.0-litre with 200bhp and front-wheel drive, and the 3.2-litre V6 with 250bhp and quattro four-wheel drive.
The latter has a splendidly metallic engine note, rasping and pinging its way up to the red line, but the performance it offers is slightly disappointing. It’s still a quick car, but it never feels 250bhp-strong.
If the V6 is something of a disappointment, then the 2.0 turbo is a revelation.
It’s lighter than its V6 stablemate and feels much livelier as a result. The engine is keen to rev, offering a turbo kick in the back from 2,500rpm and not subsiding until the red line is reached.
It also doesn’t suffer from not having quattro either, as both models veer towards understeer when pushed hard.
But both feel much more like a sports car than their predecessors – cornering hard and flat, offering plenty of feedback through the steering wheel and having much improved gearboxes which have a far more positive shift action.
IN entry-level 2.0 TFSI trim the new TT is a winner. It blends style, performance and driving enjoyment in a package which costs significantly less than the top-of-the-range V6. For user-choosers everywhere, this is good news and secures the Audi’s place as a perk car par excellence.
|Model:||2.0 TFSI||3.2 V6 quattro|
|Max power (bhp/rpm):||200/5,100||250/6,300|
|Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):||207/1,800||236/2,500|
|Max speed (mph):||149||155 (limited)|
|0-62mph (secs):||6.6 (auto – 6.4)||5.9 (5.7)|
|Fuel consumption (mpg):||36.7||27.4 (30.1)|
|CO2 emissions (g/km):||183||247 (224)|