TRAWLING through the internet, I’ve seen the original Audi TT compared on trendy, black-spectacled design websites to the BiC lighter, the Heinz Baked Beans tin and even the light bulb as an example of a design legend that came fully formed, as perfect as can be, and even ‘trans-historical’. This means they don’t grow old, apparently.
There’s no other car in the last couple of decades that has defined the resurgence of a brand as much as the TT has for Audi. It signalled that the firm was finally bold and confident enough to take on anything those in Stuttgart and Munich could manage, and it provided the springboard for successes in many other key sectors.
But you don’t need a pair of Birkenstock sandals and a roll-neck jumper to know that the TT has been a phenomenally successful car. No pressure for the team that had to pen the replacement, then.
And faced with such pressure, not surprisingly, Audi has stuck to a winning formula of snub nose, deep metallic sides and arcing roofline. It looks great, being meaner, sharper and more on its toes than the original’s more moon-faced look and evenly-balanced stance.
The original may be regarded as the classic, but the replacement sits well with Audi’s more aggressive approach, both in terms of design and strategy.
In fleet, design generally comes below practicality and economy, but for the TT design is everything. Take away its design and it is nothing – essentially a modified Golf GTI.
Audi has worked hard to make the new car a more inviting drive, though. The TT is made from a combination of two-thirds aluminium and one-third steel that allows its to be much lighter – it is 75kg lighter than the equivalent old car.
At more than 100kg lighter than the Golf GTI, it makes the most of the 200bhp 2.0-litre turbo FSI engine. 0-62mph is dispatched in just over six seconds and it feels very agile.
Although in the wet its front-wheel drive set-up makes for a messy experience, and it needs the subtle traction control system to stop it floundering about hopelessly, in the dry it’s a hoot – direct, grippy and with lots of lovely, fierce power.
It sounds glorious – especially at the top end where it bellows, and the manual gearbox is much snappier than before.
And when you’re done slavering over its curvy body, you can always immerse yourself in the cabin, which is beautifully appointed. In here, there’s the feeling of development over the last model with many of the styling cues, such as the round air vents, held over.
If beauty is in the detail, then I came over all gooey for the internal door pulls: leather stitched with a fine sliver of aluminium down one side.
Classy, elegant and trans-historical, I reckon. Just like everything about this car really.
P11D value: £24,437
CO2 emissions (g/km): 183
BIK % of P11D in 2007: 23%
Graduated VED rate: £150
Insurance group: 17
Combined mpg: 36.7
CAP RV (3yr/60k): £12,275/50%
Monthly lease (3yr/60k): £411
We don’t like:
THREE RIVALS TO CONSIDER
FINDING cars to compete here is tough as BMW doesn’t have an entry-level 3-series Coupe yet. The RX-8 is the cheapest and the best specced, while the Brera is pretty but underpowered. The Crossfire’s looks are challenging, but it does have a 3.2-litre V6 engine.
EMISSIONS AND TAX RATES
PORTENTS of things to come: the combination of turbo FSI engine and light weight means the TT hammers the others. And at £187 a month for a 40% taxpayer, it’s £64 less than the Brera, £77 less than the RX-8 and a whopping £101 a month less than the Crossfire! Oh dear.
REPLACING tyres on the TT, Brera and RX-8 will cost about £1,100. The Crossfire, according to experts Maintbook, is off the scale. Its huge bill is due to 18-inch front and 19-inch rear tyres costing £1,600. Servicing is high too, at £1,900 – the TT costs £1,000.
Brera: 4.08 (ppm) £2,448 (60,000 miles total)
TT: 4.60 £2,760
RX-8: 4.94 £2,964
Crossfire: 7.35 £4,410
SEEING how it hammered the rest on emissions, it’s no surprise the TT wins by a mile on fuel. Its 12.22ppm figure equates to average economy of 36.7mpg. Of the others, the RX-8 is thirstiest at 24.8, worse even than the V6-engined Crossfire at 27.2, while the Brera manages 30.1mpg.
TT: 12.22 (ppm) £7,332 (60,000 miles total)
Brera: 14.90 £8,940
Crossfire: 16.50 £9,699
RX-8: 18.09 £10,854
CAP expects the TT to hold on to half of its value over three years/ 60,000 miles, which is similar to the old model. Of the others, the Crossfire will be worth 32%, while used buyers may be put off by Alfa Romeo’s reliability record and Mazda’s thirsty rotary engine.
TT: 19.43 (ppm) £11,658 (60,000 miles total)
Brera: 22.57 £13,542
RX-8: 22.58 £13,548
Crossfire: 27.48 £16,488
THE Audi is the complete package in wholelife costs, putting in good performances in all areas. No wonder so many drivers like them as company cars and fleets trust running them. The TT ends up being more than £3,000 cheaper to run than any of the others.
TT: 36.25 (ppm) £21,750 (60,000 miles total)
Brera: 41.55 £24,930
RX-8: 45.61 £27,366
Crossfire: 51.33 £30,798
IF this was a boxing match, the referee would have stepped in rounds ago to end the misery. The Audi batters the competition to such a degree that this is the biggest margin of victory any car has ever enjoyed in a Fleet News road test. The TT is good on fuel, retains its value exceptionally well, looks great and goes like stink. Perhaps only a BMW 320i Coupe will give it a fight when it arrives some time next year, but for now the Audi TT is the undisputed king of the coupes.