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Audi’s TT – a virtual experience


The year was 1999 yet I remember it as if it was yesterday, walking into my local Audi dealership waiting for a surprise that my dad had arranged. We went around the back, through the workshop and there it was - a silver Audi TT Coupé, glistening in the sun. We drove off and I will never forget that first feeling of a turbocharger kicking in. Now, 16 years later I find myself behind the wheel of the third-generation Audi TT and let’s get one thing clear right-away… this is certainly no ordinary car!

Tell me more about those iconic looks

The look is unmistakably TT yet does differ from the previous generation in some regards. Power and drive might be important to some buyers but let’s face it the looks are going to sell more of these than anything else. It looks like a TT, albeit a more grown up.

The previous generation was a decent evolution of the original’s curvy design but this one really does look like a car that belongs in this decade. It’s more pointy and angry looking, as if someone in the Audi design team heard someone say that the TT is a hairdresser’s car. They decided to rectify that problem and in doing so have made this new TT more stylized, more purposeful and it really works - well for me at least. 

The biggest changes are inside

The interior is super slick as well. The climate control is built into the air vents, which is a smart addition and creates a clean look that suits the car. This feels like an interior that moves ergonomics on a bit.

However, the vents are not the real party piece, that belongs to the speedometer and rev-counter setup. It’s something special, you see, all the information that you could possibly want is within the driver’s instrument binnacle. Audi calls it the virtual cockpit, so if you want a traditional speedometer setup you can have it, if you want a giant SatNav map instead, you can have that, too.

What's really important to know though is the fact that not only is the virtual cockpit standard across the range, Audi has finally given us, not one, but two USB ports as standard! 

It's a sports car, so what’s it like to drive?

The first generation TT came under fire due to its lack of a sporty and engaging drive. The second generation improved on that issue and I was reassured of this after I spent some time in the TT-RS. However, this new one goes as well as - if not better than - it looks. Well, it does. This new car is based on the MQB platform like many other models from the stable. This platform is brilliant, to say the least and proof of that, is that the cars based on it, keep winning awards. The steering is decently weighted and doesn’t seem to suffer from that old Audi foible of being a bit dead.

Models and pricing

Audi will be offering two derivatives of the TT, a quattro model (R642 000) and a front-wheel-drive model (R558 000). Both cars are fitted with the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which delivers 169kW/370Nm. The quattro will get you to 100km/h in around 5.3 seconds, whereas the FWD version will take slightly longer at 5.9 seconds.

Audi plans to introduce the more powerful TTS version towards the middle of this year. They might also introduce a 1.8-litre turbo model and a TDI variant at a later stage. Unfortunately, no roadster versions will come our way. 

So has it lived up to its name? 

Yes! This new TT feels every bit the sports car that Audi says it is. I think it looks good and it sure does drive well. The quattro all-wheel-drive system gives that extra grip and a level of security to the driver.  The front-wheel-drive version is probably the biggest surprise as you really have to drive it right into the danger zone to get it unsettled. 

Audi South Africa has managed to price this TT just right. Pricing is very competitive compared to rival models such as the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK. These Audis are also jam-packed with features.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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