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Audi TT coupe Car Review | 8 June 2006

Driven June 2006

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All the visual clues were right. So were the hints we'd gathered from the technical description. The new Audi TT is indeed much more of a sports car then the old one.

For a start, it's pretty quick. There are two versions, one using Audi's 200bhp 2.0 Turbo FSi engine - the one that's most famous from the Golf GTI.

Compared with the old TT's peaky boost, this engine has a far more even spread of power delivery, kicking up big urge whenever you press the throttle. It's also smooth and keen to rev, and comes with a bonus big-bore exhaust burble (not too loud, you understand, but just a gentle emphasis).

With this much muscle behind the front driveshafts, you find a fair bit of wheelspin out of tight bends, and when it's wet. If your daily drive contains lots of wet roundabouts, go for the quattro version.

But it's not that simple. You can't get the quattro all-wheel-drive system with the 2.0 engine. You have to trade up to the 3.2-litre V6. Oddly, despite the extra power (250bhp plays 200), the 3.2 feels barely any quicker. That's because of the extra weight of the two extra cylinders and the rear half of the drive system.

So the quattro is notably quicker out of tight corners because of its extra traction, but otherwise the 2.0 will keep up, and the little bro' also feels more agile through S-bends. Of course, the V6 has a sweeter engine sound, but not a truly classic one.

So most of the time I'd find it hard justifying the extra price. The 3.2 is £29,285, the 2.0 £24,625.

The new car is wider, its weight is better distributed and it's got a more sophisticated suspension. And sure enough, the handling is far better than the old car. It corners flatter, there's much more urgency and accuracy in the steering, it copes with bumps better, and overall it's extremely trustworthy and capable.

Two things separate it from greatness: the steering hasn't quite enough feel, and mid-corner throttle adjustments don't have much effect, especially in the quattro. You get very slight understeer, or slight understeer, and that's yer lot.

Despite the better handling, the ride is also improved, especially with the optional magnetic-fluid adaptive damping system. You could easily do long journeys with this car: there's very little wind noise - although the optional 19s kick up a lot of tyre roar.

And the secure handling, stability and general feeling of taut, solid trustworthiness make it a great companion on a dark, wet night.

I drove it in snow, fog, driving rain and dry sunshine, all in an afternoon. Up some of Europe's highest mountain roads, down on a no-limit Autobahn, through cobbled towns. It never once felt out of its depth.

Paul Horrell
Consultant Editor, Top Gear magazine

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