Car review Audi TT is a stylish and sporty drive

The updated TT is a good everyday car, but will still turn heads, writes Dr Tony Rimmer.

GPs love the VW Golf. But we are pragmatic, so we would be attracted to a car that has most of the good bits of the Golf, but looks a lot better and delivers a feel-good factor. Enter the Golf’s cousin, the Audi TT. 

In 1998, when the TT was launched, its modern, sleek design hid a VW Golf chassis and engine. The design appeal was obvious and car buyers went mad for it.

It has remained in this position ever since. However, carmakers cannot stand still, so the TT entered a second generation in 2006, lost 95kg in weight and had a bit of a facelift.

Audi TT 2.0 TFSi Quattro S-line S-tronic

Body    Two plus two coupé hatchback
Engine    Two-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo
Power    227bhp
Torque    350Nm
Top speed    150mph
Acceleration    0-60mph in 6.6sec
Claimed economy    Up to 47.9mpg
On the road price    £35,335

Third generation

Now we have the third generation. Another 50kg lost, a new adaptive chassis and engines that have more power. Styling has been evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

There are three engines available and various drive-train and gearbox options. There are two main trim levels, Sport and S-line. The entry model has a 182bhp two-litre turbodiesel engine married to a manual six-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive.

Next is the 227bhp 2.0 petrol TFSi four-cylinder turbo engine, as used in the Golf GTI, and this is available as two-wheel drive or Quattro. Also available is the seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox, Audi’s version of VW’s DSG box. At the top of the range is the 307bhp TTS, using a tuned version of the two-litre petrol engine and Quattro drive.

The TT has always appealed for its style, not its driving prowess, but the new car now sits on VW’s latest MQB platform. This has transformed the Golf Mk 7 and the latest Audi A3; does it improve the TT? I have been driving a 2.0 TFSi Quattro S-line S-tronic to find out.

First impressions are positive, because many of my colleagues asked about the test car, when they have previously ignored more sporty and expensive vehicles in the surgery carpark.The TT has had a successful update, with much sharper lines.

The S-line includes LED headlights and a neat touch is the sweeping indicators that flow from the centre outwards. The 19-inch wheels look great but do nothing for the ride.

We spend most of our time on the inside of our cars looking out, so the interior environment is probably more important than exterior styling. This is where Audi always does well. The TT has some special new and advanced features.

Cockpit display

Standard on all models is the high resolution LCD 12.3-inch ‘virtual cockpit’ display, situated directly in front of the driver.

The LCD replaces the usual dials with electronic versions, which change size depending on what  information you want to see. Just like the latest medical scanning equipment, it makes everything else seem old-fashioned.

Although the TT is a two-door coupé, it has hatchback practicality. The boot is large, becoming a lot bigger if you fold the rear seats. The rear seats themselves are only big enough for children or small adults.

But all in all, this Audi is not only a supremely stylish coupé, but also a very practical car for everyday use.

So how does it drive? It was a revelation. Gone is the feeling of driving a saloon car wearing a stylish suit – the TT now drives like a sports car.

The Golf GTI engine has plenty of power and with Quattro grip, can be applied effectively in all weathers. The gearbox works smoothly and is less clunky at low speeds than earlier versions of DSG.

The new TT will appeal to many GP motorists. Choose your model carefully and you will enjoy an
advanced and stylish sports coupé that is easy to live with and turns quite a few heads.

  • Dr Rimmer is a GP in Surrey and tweets @frankaboutcars

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