The time has come for a new Audi TT. If the original 1998 TT was all about design, and the second one concentrated on sorting out a driving experience that was halfway as distinctive, well the third one - based on the VW Group's ubiquitous MQB underpinnings - is all about the digital era. The dynamics and the cockpit are all super-configurable.
Paul Horrell03 March 2014
Meet the new Audi TT
The third generation of Audi’s coupe has landed in Geneva, and it’s gone digital. Paul Horrell is your guide
It's still very much a TT though. Sentimentalists for the lovable peculiarities of the Mk1 car will be glad to see the body once again looks like it was constructed from separate very geometrically pure blocks. See the tightly-drawn semi-circle arches, the chamfered sills and the straightforward underlying fuselage. There's even an encore for the circular aluminium fuel flap, ringed in (false) allen heads.
Even though the design is clearly evolution rather than revolution - some might say timid - the MkIII looks lower and wider than the outgoing TT, mainly thanks to more horizontal lines on the front and rear. In fact it's much the same size, the main change being a slightly longer wheelbase, cutting the front overhang. Which is never a bad thing.
The body itself uses high-strength steel for its core, but aluminium rails make up the sills and roof frame. Most of the skin is aluminium too, and some of the suspension. All-in, the petrol TT is 50kg lighter than before, at 1230kg. And it's got more power and a lot more torque. The TT has 230bhp, the TTS quattro 310bhp.
Inside, the dials are entirely virtual, forming part of a hi-def 1440-pixel screen beyond the steering wheel. That same screen shows the navigation info, so if you click for a big map, the speedo and rev-counter become space-saving digits. More cockpit real-estate is tidied up by the climate control, which puts all the actual knobs and displays into hubs of the three central round vents.
The centre-console MMI knob takes care of sounds, phone, navigation and connections to the outside world. Plus all the configurable options of this digital-age machine.
More fancy tech shows up outside. As usual for the Audi, no opportunity for exterior lighting bling has been passed up. The top versions get 'matrix' LED headlamps that can remain in high-beam while blocking out sections of the output so they don't dazzle other cars. They also point themselves left or right when the navigation system tells them a corner is coming up.
You'll recognise the mechanical formula - turbo engines, front or all-wheel-drive, manual or DSG. But even that is enhanced, for instance by full electronic control of the quattro system to give torque vectoring. When you click the dynamic mode. Audi's Magnetic Ride adjustable dampers also feature.
Leading the charge is the TTS. It gets a 2.0-litre 310bhp engine, and with the S-tronic transmission option, you're looking at 0-62 in 4.7 sec. The mainstream TT has a similar 2.0 engine but tuned at 230bhp. You can have quattro or FWD with that one. The diesel is a 184bhp effort in FWD, a setup that's good for 0-62 in 7.2sec and 110g/km CO2.
So that's the coupe body. A Roadster is a given. But you can also expect a sort of long-roofed hatch with a raised-up Allroad suspension. That mega-mashup was previewed by the Detroit Allroad Concept in January.
More from Top Gear
Best of TopGear
- Meet SVO's £149,000 Range Rover
- Thought picnicking on a Rangey's tailgate couldn’t get any posher? Enter JLR Special Ops
- Meet the 2015 Le Mans contenders
- Porsche, Audi, Toyota and Nissan reveal their very different LMP1 racers. Here’s your tech crib-sheet
- A message from TopGear.com
- The investigation's done. The BBC has delivered its Clarkson verdict. Here’s where we’re at
- McLaren 570S: it’s here at last
- The teasing is over. Official details of McLaren's new 562bhp, 204mph, £145,000 Sports Series are here
- Mercedes to build pickup truck
- Slinky concept sketch reveals upcoming Benz rival to the mighty Toyota Hilux. Truck yeah!