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The Top Gear car review: Audi TT Coupe
For:Styling, wonderful interior, better to drive than before, sensible running costs
Against:You'll have to explain to enthusiasts that you're not a hairdresser
2.0T FSI Quattro TTS 2dr
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The defining look of the late Nineties, now refined in the new car. More importantly, the new Audi TT drives even better. Will be cool until estate agents and WAGs buy them
The Audi TT is an old car now. Even people who know nothing about cars, the sort of people who still thought a TT was the height of motoring chic...
What we say:
A very sensible coupe buy that gets ever-closer to being a sports car
What is it?
The third-gen version of the car know-it-alls will sneer is nothing more than a Golf in a posh frock. Well, game over, glass-half-empty sorts – the new TT is pretty darned good. It does all the stylish, refined coupe things better than the old car, but thanks to an aluminium-intensive construction (yes, it is based around the VW Group’s do-it-all MQB platform) it’s also much lighter, and a genuinely engaging drive at last.
Not that the car shouts it on the outside, unfortunately. Besides moving the badge from the huge grille to the bonnet, R8-style, and turning some of the curves into angular creases, the TT looks more like a mild facelift of the old car than a traffic-stopping newcomer.
Basic TTs weigh in under 1,250kg, and you can feel that healthy litheness in the car’s agility and sharp, accurate steering. The entry-level 2.0 TFSI petrol is very quick for a regular model, borrowing the Golf GTI’s 227bhp output and sending it to the road via a brilliant S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive if you’re prepared to shell out the extra. You don’t need forty grand to enjoy a TT though – the basic TDI ultra diesel is a honey, and it’ll also hit 67mpg with care. Curiously, it’s only available with front-drive and a manual gearbox, but the extra engagement is welcome. As a play-it-safe everyday coupe with a hint of naughty intent, the TT hits the spot.
On the inside
Here’s where Audi put in the hard yards on the new TT. Its interior is sensational – not just the Virtual Cockpit screen that replaces conventional dials with a widescreen configurable set-up, nor the climate control toggles snuggled within the intricate air vents. No, also note the quality of all the materials, the comfort of the seats and the endlessly adjustable driving position.
Okay, the back seats are still ornamental and visibility’s a pain through the thick pillars, but that’s been a constant on every TT since 1999. The new one’s cabin design blows everything in this class clean out of the water.
The TDI ultra is surely a company car man’s dream wheels: 110g/km from something this stylish is not to be sniffed at. Most of the other mechanicals are used in everything from Golfs and Octavias to Leons and A3s, so the more prosaic hatch brigade will have hopefully ironed out any teething troubles. Just beware of S line trim – what you gain with smarter LED lights and a horny bodykit, you lose with stiffer suspension and bigger 20-inch wheels that make the ride too crashy in the UK. Not ideal for posing. Sport trim looks less try-hard and is better for it.