Audi TT Review
Car Tested: 2015 Audi TT Coupe 45 TFSI
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 78.28 lakhs
The 2015 Audi TT is the best TT till date & very fun-to-drive with its stellar dynamics
Many people knew about the TT first and then Audi as a brand when it was not present in India, such is the popularity of the coupe. The first generation TT was one of the first Audi’s to be seen on Indian roads as many people used to import the style icon back then. Now with its latest iteration, the Audi TT has evolved in terms of design and technology. The poster boy comes from a very desirable compact sports car segment. Let’s see how exciting is the third generation TT and at the same time how practical is it to drive in our country.
Motor Quest: The first generation Audi TT was launched in 1998 and was on sale until 2006, when the second generation TT was launched. The TT Mk2 was officially launched in India. Now the third generation TT was showcased as the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept car at Detroit Motor Show in 2014 and was later revealed in its production form at the Geneva Motor Show.
Exteriors – The first generation TT had curves and rounded edges with simple body lines and then the second generation became a bit sharper. The latest version of the TT looks masculine compared to its predecessors. Audi has put some muscle to the exterior that makes it look confident with some sharp styling cues as well. The new Matrix LED headlights with DRLs looks striking and draw attention instantly. The single frame grille along with those massive air intakes add to the aggressive nature of this beast up front. Just notice the way the bonnet adds depth to the headlights.
The side profile looks delicious too having a strong shoulder line that emerges from the bonnet and goes up to the tail lights. The prominent wheel arches highlight the 5-spoke alloy wheels that look as sharp as a knife. The coupe roofline melts seamlessly into the rear and how can we forget the inherent silver finished fuel cap of the TT. The tail lights get similar detailing as the headlights that look gorgeous at night and it seems as if they are made from crystal. Both headlights and tail lights have dynamic blinkers. There’s an integrated spoiler in the tailgate that can be operated electrically and opens up automatically at high speeds. The diffuser integrates twin exhaust pipes. The TT’s compact size is very practical while parking and manoeuvring in traffic.
Interiors – Getting inside the cabin of the Audi TT is a bit of a dip, which is there with all low slung sports cars. There are no belt feeders in the TT and to buckle up you have to stretch your hands way back to get hold of the seatbelt. Once you get settled you would be awestruck by looking at the dashboard and the way everything has been designed. It doesn’t look like your regular Audi, it is so different! The dashboard is driver focused and the futuristic styling theme inside the cabin makes you smile. Some of the interesting bits are the turbine shaped air-con vents that have digital controls in them for the climate control system, masterpiece and easy to use.
The three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel feels great to hold and comes with paddle shifters as well as integrated controls for the MMI and other settings. Now you would notice that there is no flappy screen in the middle, that’s because Audi has replaced the analogue instrument cluster with the all-digital 12.3-inch screen that doubles up as the MMI monitor. It can be controlled with the MMI smart touch wheel, which is a breeze to use and also has touchpad on the top to scribble letters, zoom and navigate through the settings. If you open the navigation system, the map moves to the forefront and the speedometer along with tachometer split down to the edges for larger display of navigation, a super smart feature.
It is easy to connect your Smartphone and the system stores your address book along with streaming music. The 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system churns out lovely acoustics and sounds epic. Our test car didn’t have a rear camera but front and rear parking sensors with digital display, which was quite accurate but you can also get the parking camera according to your customisation. The innovative Matrix LED headlights has switchable light-emitting individual diodes that provide optimum illumination at dark spots and also dims the light when it detects oncoming traffic or a vehicle up front. It also turns according to steering inputs.
As expected with Audi, the quality feels rich while fit and finish is superb with good attention to detail. The dashboard is all-black with silver textured accents used all around. The dark orange upholstery gets diamond stitching. The electrically adjustable seats are very comfortable and hug you tight, they even have extended thigh support for added comfort on long drives. Front arm rest is sorely missed on the TT. The footwell is spacious and has a dead pedal too. The rear seats are only meant for small kids over short journeys because they lack body support, headroom and of course knee room. Despite being a sports car, you don’t feel as if you are sitting too low, the driving position is normal, sedan like and visibility all around is surprisingly good, which adds to the practicality. There are enough stowage places for knick knacks but the boot is humongous for a car like this, offering 305 litres of space and the rear seats also fold down flat for more room. Underneath you will find a space saver and tool kit.
Performance – The new Audi TT comes with the same 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged petrol engine but it has been retuned to produce 230 BHP of power between 4500-6200 RPM and 370 Nm of torque at 1600-4300 RPM. Push the tempting engine start/stop button placed on the centre console and the 4-cylinder engine comes alive with a throaty note. The turbo lag is not apparent and the car accelerates off the line with immense thrust that comes in a linear yet strong manner. The power delivery is butter smooth and gets better as you climb up the revs. So does the roar of the engine and exhaust get louder and exciting as you rev harder. Once you hit the 6900 RPM redline, you will hear a sensational ‘braap’ from the exhaust before upshifting. This engine has very usable power and it’s not as violent and intimidating as its elder RS siblings. The entire rev range feels powerful and there is no flat spot.
The 2.0 TFSI is quick and makes very satisfying sound from the exhaust
The 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox is very well mated to this engine that extracts optimum juice from the motor and shifts gears in a slick manner. It transfers power to all the wheels via the Quattro system, which is front biased that transfers the power to the rear wheels if you go harder. You would always find yourself in the right gear. While upshifts are quick, downshifts are super quick. The paddle shifts are great fun to use, offering reassuring click to the driver. The Audi drive select comes with auto, comfort, dynamic, efficiency and individual settings as usual. The clutch management is connected with the drive select so gearshifts pattern depends on the driving mode. In comfort and efficiency modes it shifts early to offer better mileage and in the latter it also coasts with minimal engine braking. The dynamic mode revs up to the limiter and offers good engine braking to control the car in corners. It can cruise calmly as well, doing 100 km/hr at a mere 1900 RPM in top gear. They claim 14.33 km/l of fuel efficiency and you can expect around 8 km/l in real world conditions, which is impressive for a performance vehicle.
Driving Dynamics – Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the new Audi TT is light at 1230 kgs, which is 50 kgs less than its predecessor. The chassis is very well balanced and the sports coupe has brilliant handling characteristics. The TT is eager to corner hard and turns its face on your command without hesitating a bit. The legendary Quattro system further adds to the agility and superb grip of the coupe. In normal driving conditions, it is front biased but when you give it the beans, the rear axle gets alive sending power to the wheels instantaneously and here is where the fun begins. The steering is of course an electric unit that doesn’t provide that grainy hydraulic feedback but it is direct and lively by Audi standards. Light at low speeds and weighs up well when you gather pace giving you great confidence. The drive select system only makes the steering more agile in Dynamic mode and doesn’t alter the suspension as the TT doesn’t get magnetic dampers while the TTS gets them.
The TT digs into corners and comes out in a crisp line, which puts a smile on your face. There is a wee bit of body roll though. What makes you feel content is it’s a very controllable car. Turn off the ESP, hit the throttle hard in mid-corner and the tail moves out at low friction surfaces and to get it back into line, the Quattro system sends power to the front wheels and you can steer it back easily. The TT has the best ride quality in its segment, hands down. Low speeds ride feels a bit stiff due to the low profile tyres but undulations and broken tarmac are handled very well by this performance oriented car. It is not at all a back breaker and won’t disappoint you on long drives either. The ground clearance too is impressive and we never managed to scrape its underbody on any speed breaker in Delhi. The small turning radius is a boon while parking and taking u-turns. It has got sizeable disc brakes that are quite effective in shedding speeds quickly without any drama.
Safety and After Sales Service – The third generation Audi TT has been crash tested by Euro NCAP and the results are quite disappointing as it only gets 4 stars in this day and age. The first generation Audi TT also got 4 starts but that was then and this is now. The German automaker could have improved the safety of this coupe but none of the rivals have been tested and even their previous generations got 4 stars. Audi is one of the biggest luxury carmakers in India and has an extensive dealership network of more than 30 centres.
Verdict – Turning style into substance when it comes to cars is an onerous task and specially in the case of sports cars. However, Audi has mastered it with the TT, a performance car that exhibits a great blend of form and functionality. The styling is menacing, the interiors are chic and the best feeling is when you get behind the wheel. All that in a compact yet practical package, which you can use on a daily basis and flaunt when the need be. The cherry on the top is the pricing, which pays a crucial role. The new TT is at least Rs. 20 lakhs cheaper than its convertible rivals, which makes it feel even more appealing. So if you are looking for a hassle-free sports car to drive on road conditions like ours, this is a sensible buy for your glittering garage.
The new Audi TT is a total surprise package that offers serious performance, wonderful dynamics and practicality which is peerless in this segment. We had a hard time finding shortcomings in this machine. It is a user friendly car for Indian roads and a big attention magnet too. With an attractive pricing, Audi actually has a feather in its cap.
* Dramatic styling following the new Audi design language looks great
* The interiors are clutter-free and driver focused with lots of tech on offer
* The powerful TFSI engine sounds sweet and offers good drivability in both the city and highway
* Brisk and entertaining handling with a blend of comfortable ride quality
* Quite a practical sports car having big boot, small turning radius, ample ground clearance and a frugal engine
What’s Not So Cool
* No belt feeders and front arm rest
* 4 star Euro NCAP safety rating
Alternatives: BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK
Audi TT Specifications
* Engine: 1984cc, in-line 4-cylinder, DOHC
* Power: 230 HP @ 4500-6200 RPM
* Torque: 370 Nm @ 1600-4300 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed automatic
* 0-100 km/hr: 5.3 seconds
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr (limited)
* Fuel Consumption: 7-9 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Four-Link (Rear)
* Tyres: 225/50/17
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Disc (Rear)
* Safety: 6 Airbags, ABS, ESC, Torque Vectoring, Hydraulic Brake Assist
Audi TT Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4177 mm X 1832 mm X 1353 mm
* Wheelbase: 2505 mm
* Boot Volume: 305 litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1230 kgs
* Ground Clearance: 135 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.1 meters (est.)
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta