Published on September 17th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi TT 2015 Model Test Drive Review
So, what makes the all new Audi TT so good that we want one for ourselves right after test driving it? It all starts when you sit behind the wheel. The seating position is close to perfect. Helped, of course, by the bucket seats wearing a well tailored Alcantara suit. The pedal placement is near perfect with good reach to all controls.
There are some faults inside the cabin. Namely the stalks feel more like they belong in an Asian car and the lower roofline will have older owners (like myself) needing to lose a little weight to get easier access and exit from the driver’s seat. However I am sure these little gripes would be overcome with long term driving enjoyment. Viewed in profile, the sharpened front fenders, chiseled side sills, singleframe grille and the more streamlined rear hatch points to a sports car that now looks even more like its R8 sibling.
Measuring 4,177 meters in length, the third-generation TT coupe is shorter by 10 mm than the previous model, but comes with a longer wheelbase, making for shorter overhangs and an overall more aggressive stance. Horizontal lines dominate the front of the new TT and its Singleframe grille is much broader and flatter than that of previous models, with a powerful line dividing it into two zones. True to its roots, the latest TT retains a number of trademark design features including a retractable rear spoiler which extends from the trunk lid to improve air resistance and downforce at speeds above 120 km/h, a nostalgically stylish lidless aluminium fuel flap surrounded by socket screws as well as signature round twin exhaust tailpipes. This sporty coupe’s lean and muscular personality is also suitably reinforced with its distinctive xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and all-weather lights which look good any time of day. The boot has a capacity of 305 litres, which is actually 13 litres more than before and can be extended by folding the rear seat backrests forward for a total luggage space of 712 litres.
The driver information system is now a LCD panel that houses all the necessary information, navigation (when loaded and running) and infotainment. The infotainment and driver assistance systems is all new. This new Audi sports coupe’s technological renaissance is the Audi virtual cockpit. Focused entirely around the driver, the virtual cockpit is a revolutionary new approach for driver orientation, being the first time that this fully digital instrument cluster is being made available in a production car.
Encompassing a 12.3” high-resolution LCD display located just behind the new flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel, the Audi virtual cockpit is a fully customizable interface that sets new standards in driver engagement with its dynamic animations and precise graphics.
Drivers can choose between two display modes; Classic and Progressive. In the classic view, the speedometer and rev counter are in the foreground; in “Progressive” mode the virtual instruments are smaller, with the space that becomes free as a result providing ample room for other MMI radio functions, such as the infotainment and telephone features.
One of the key benefits of the Audi virtual cockpit is the fact that drivers will now be able to activate almost all functions of the MMI system via the multifunction steering wheel without taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel. Refining the focus of the driver on the road even further is the next generation of Audi’s advanced voice recognition function, the Audi speech dialogue system. Featuring ground-breaking technology and algorithms, drivers don’t have to stick to rigid voice commands anymore, but are able to use natural and intuitive language to interact with their car’s functions, such as “I want to talk to Cindy” to make a phone call or “Take me to the nearest petrol station” when fitted with the optional MMI navigation plus system. One exciting and very unique feature is the minimalist integration of all controls for the air conditioning system directly into the centre knob of its 3 centre air-vents. Yes, the controls are incorporated right smack in the center of the air vents.
Ignite the 2-liter TFSI engine and there is little drama. It is quiet, serene and uninvolving to the ears. In dry conditions, on a back village road, I can’t think of any situation that would unsettle this Audi TT (unless you go crazy behind the wheel and wish to test its safety features and watch the airbags deploy). It is one of the most neutral and pure handling front-wheel drive cars that we have driven in recent months…may be years. It has a level of composure, balance and inherent grip that inspires confidence whatever the road ahead throws up. Find a tight corner? Just commit this TT into the corner, as hard as you think you can handle the steering feedback, and be impressed at how a car with 370Nm of torque ripping at its front wheels can do exactly what you ask of it…well within reason of course.
Even better if you have a series of fast flowing corners like the roads we executed this TT on the old road to Kuala Selangor. Its response is immediate, thanks in part to its near perfect steering, and all the while that balance and composure is present.
I was pleasantly surprised at how stable and sure-footed this new TT was through fast highway off-ramp sweepers as well. Within reason, of course, the harder you push the greater the rewards. Again, with its balance, you can easily build speed through a flowing corner in a way that almost defies logic for a car costing less than RM300k.
Much of the TT’s delights are down to the suspension wizards at Audi Sport who have gifted this car with a sublime suspension tune whilst providing tight predictable handling. The ride of quality is very, very good when you are driving around Petaling Jaya’s badly maintained roads. No matter the road surface; there is no skipping if it gets unsettled in mid-corner movement. The combination of steering and suspension means you’re getting all the feedback you could ask for. You won’t be surprised to learn that feedback is delivered with immediate effect, too.
Being a turbo four-cylinder you can’t expect to be granted with an induction sound or exhaust note that you would want to hear with more rumble. Yet, the exhaust system has been tuned to provide a purposeful note with just the right amount of snarling and crackle on overrun. Yes, just floor the throttle from rest and hear each gearchange return a ‘pop’ and ‘snarl’ as this TT builds up speed fast.
Despite its very respectable performance statistics, this TT doesn’t feel super quick. Which means, thanks to its linear power delivery, there’s never a huge burst of power that makes you think, wow, that was fast. Where it matters is when you find a Porsche Boxster driver who thinks he has a faster car and you follow him at every gearchange leaving him to wonder what aftermarket tuning you have done to a humble TT, when actually, the TT is just doing its job perfectly.
Few sport cars could be described as perfect, and while this TT makes you think pretty hard about bestowing the ultimate accolade, it still has some issues that need attention, like a little more exhaust rumble, some added zest from 0-100km/h and a little more visual excitement. Wait…..I have probably just described the soon to be launched Audi TT S.
So, back to the relatively mundane duty of reporting what this TT would be like as a daily driver. At sensible speeds the car is easy to drive and the vision from the small rear window is surprisingly good. In city traffic driving the ride quality provides no cause for complaint. It is an Audi and there will always be comfort included in the suspension design details which seems to be missing in its competitors that come from Munich, Germany.
I can see why a car like the Porsche Cayman might win in direct comparison, if the terms of reference remains broad. The Cayman is more prestigious and has a higher quality interior with slightly better power delivery. But the Cayman pricing starts from RM550,000 which buys you almost 2 new Audi TT’s.
If this means buying one for yourself, congratulations, you’ve just landed yourself one of the most rewarding sports cars money can buy. If not, then take one for a test drive and then decide for yourself if you wasted a good 10 minutes reading my review.
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Specifications:
Engine: 4-cylinder Direct Injection Turbo
Transmission: 6-Speed S-Tronic
Max power: 230bhp @ 4500-6200rpm
Max torque: 370Nm @ 1600-4300rpm
Top Speed: 250km/h