Audi’s coupé could be Great Britain’s secret weapon in training the next generation of gymnasts
It was brilliant to see Peterborough gymnast Louis Smith win a bronze medal in the Olympics, but I reckon that some of the moves I’ve had to perform to get in and out of the Audi TT recently would have seen me challenge for a podium position.
When there’s enough room to open the long driver’s door fully, the low seating position gives me no trouble at all.
In fact, snuggling down into the driver’s seat adds to the car’s appeal.
But the fun begins in a cramped car park when you can only partially open the door.
My gymnastics routine then goes something like this: I put a foot in, start to lower myself down, then twist before finally dropping into the seat – all the time trying to stop the door from swinging into a neighbouring car.
Once in, it’s a case of breathing a sigh of relief, checking that I haven’t strained any muscles, and telling myself to find a bigger parking space next time.
Although I’d probably score highly on artistic merit, it’s never elegant and would be even more awkward for someone with a more substantial frame than me.
The access and egress problem highlights the major and obvious failing of this car – its lack of practicality. If you need to carry rear seat passengers or bulky loads, then the TT really isn’t for you.
However, if that isn’t the case, then the stunning coupé makes a very strong case as a fleet car.
Once you’ve accepted that the rear seats are of little use due to their lack of legroom and headroom, they can be folded down to create a more than acceptable loadspace – as long as the cargo isn’t particularly tall – and the long, sloping bootlid, which incorporates the raked rear windscreen, makes it easy to load and unload.
With the seats folded down, three golf bags fit into the boot with ease, so drivers who need to transport only shallow loads are well catered for.
While practicality isn’t its forte, the TT performs much more strongly from a financial point of view.
CAP predicts that it will be worth £12,350 after three years/ 60,000 miles, which is 49% of the new price.
Even more impressive is its fuel economy.
On my daily commute, the trip computer usually tells me that I’ve averaged just over 40mpg each journey.
I can’t remember the last time it dipped below 38mpg – and even then it is still higher than the official combined figure of 36.7mpg.
Admittedly, the fuel consumption is aided by long periods of sitting in traffic at a steady 40-50mph, but it does show how efficient the car can be if you can resist the temptation to open the throttle and hear the TT’s appealing exhaust note.
While my restraint with the accelerator means I’m not making the most of the TT’s performance – and despite the practicality issues – it’s clear that for a user-chooser, Audi’s coupé is an excellent all-round package.