Most Improved Car of the Year: Audi TT
The TT seems to have been around forever, and we thought there’s nothing more you could improve on it. Audi disagreed
The TT has never been an alternative to a Porsche Cayman or a Nissan 370Z. The latter two are proper, purpose-built sportscars. The TT is a VW Golf. Yet, it had something in it that made you want one. Looks? Maybe. Ride and handling? Not quite. Engine? Oh yes. The old TT had a 3.2 V6 that was so fast and sounded so good, I still have it as my ringtone. This after driving lots of V8s and V12s; mostly Italian.
As an improvement, Audi went and replaced that V6 with a feeble 2.0-litre four-cylinder. How dare they? Or so we thought, till we realised the improved TT is so good, Audi could have called it an all-new-generation car. The diabolical engine note is gone, but the new 2.0-litre 211bhp engine was just as fast and just as tenacious as the motor on the earlier TT. Minus the histrionics.
Besides, the ride, handling, steering, pedal feel, all convince you the TT may have nothing to do with the Golf or any other VW group car it may share anything with. With these improvements, the TT has carved out an entirely new niche for itself.
Like Lower Parel in Mumbai. It was once the heart of Mumbai’s textile mills, but is now transformed to a suave business district. This transformation has resulted in some social and cultural pitfalls. Some have lost their livelihood and a way of life. But many others have gained new avenues and new direction in their lives. And it’s here to stay.
Something similar to an old school V6 giving way to a modern small cylinder turbo. This TT isn’t for purists who like to carve a line as they come out of a corner. But such people are few in India. And the improvements make the TT a simple, competent and fun car that can be yours for just over half a crore.
Okay, we still miss that V6 baritone. And we wish there was some way Audi would get those vocal notes into this newer, more economical engine. But as far as improvements go, the Audi TT has its tin so full, we can’t put a lid on it.