This all-new Audi TT will have to really go some to maintain the success of its predecessor, which won the What Car? Coupe of the Year Award for all but the last year of its production run. Mind you, this all-new car is lighter, stiffer, and it also has a longer wheelbase, despite retaining virtually the same-sized body, so it promises great things.
Here we’re testing the entry-level model, which uses a 2.0 turbo petrol engine, front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. Other options include the same, 227bhp engine with four-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic gearbox, while a 307bhp TTS model also joins the range later this year. A 2.0 TDI Ultra model promises to satisfy those with economy concerns.
What’s the 2014 Audi TT like to drive?
Unflappable. Turn into a corner and the steering builds weight to give you a good sense of what the front end is doing, and it’s easy to judge whether you need to back off a bit or not. Even in this front-wheel drive car, which brakes the inside front wheel during hard cornering to help prevent the nose from washing wide, grip levels are monstrous, and even if you do manage to test the car’s limits, the TT is never remotely intimidating.
The engine enhances the accessible driving style. It revs keenly, without any unpredictable surges, and while it’s happy to sit at low revs, most drivers will prefer to keep it bubbling along in the broad mid-range.
Ride comfort on our car, which came with 18-inch alloys and standard suspension (10mm lowered suspension is a no-cost option on S Line trim) is generally settled. Scruffy, low-speed town roads don’t cause much shuddering, and even mid-corner bumps don’t knock the TT’s composure. Only the virtually corrugated rural roads around our Spanish test route, make it feel choppy.
Other than some wind whistle over the windscreen at motorway speeds, there’s no problem with refinement, either.
It’s just a shame that, even with the standard Audi Drive Select (which adjusts throttle response and steering weight) in maximum attack, the TT 2.0 TFSI is less than thrilling. Surefooted, yes, and effortlessly easy to drive rapidly, but it falls short of the invigorating fun that some rivals offer, not least the BMW 2 Series.
What’s the 2014 Audi TT like inside?
Everything is built around the driver. The 12.3-inch readout tucked into the instrument binnacle is the window to all the car’s systems, and it’s a thing of wonder. Add the sat-nav (part of a £1795 Technology Pack), and the map fills the screen, leaving the 3D-effect digital speedo and rev counter floating in the foreground, depending on which screen layout you choose. The system does take some getting used to, but most functions are easy to find and adjust via the steering wheel or central rotary dial.
Elsewhere in the cabin there’s an outstanding sense of quality and solidity, with various clever design touches – such as the air-con temperature readouts and dials mounted centrally on the vents – catching the eye.
Drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable thanks to a broadly adjustable wheel and super-supportive seats finished in Alcantara and leather – even on base Sport trim cars.
In fact, equipment levels are good enough on Sport that the step up to S Line – which costs £2550 more – is hard to justify. A DAB radio, USB port, air-conditioning, and keyless start are all included, so the main benefits of stepping up to the higher trim are LED headlights (instead of xenons) an upgrade from 18-inch to 19-inch alloy wheels, S Line exterior styling and automatic lights and wipers. Unfortunately, rear parking sensors, cruise control and dual-zone climate control cost extra on both trims.
The rear seats remain as useless in this TT as they were in the previous two generations. Even children will feel cramped, and adults won’t fit without extreme contortion. It is, however, useful for luggage space, and the seats fold flat so that you can extend the shallow boot’s floor, making it easier to load a set of golf clubs or other bulky items.
Should I buy one?
If you want a faultlessly composed, rapid coupe, with the best interior in its class, that will be easy to live with and offer very competitive running costs, then yes. If you want something that’s going to deliver driving nirvana, then probably not.
What Car? says...
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI
2.0-litre turbo petrol