UK drive: Audi TT TDI

  • Diesel coupe tested
  • 168bhp 2.0-litre unit
  • First driving impressions
Not so long ago, diesel coupes were about as common as Sahara penguins, but now it feels like there’s a big gap in any range where there isn’t a diesel option.

It was only a matter of time before Audi launched a TT TDI, then, and the good news is that the wait has been worth it.

Power comes from a 168bhp 2.0-litre unit that does over 50mpg and attracts a lowly 18% company car tax rating (the 2.0 petrol sits six bands higher and does 36.7mpg). However, it can still embarrass many a hot hatch, blasting you to 62mph in just 7.5 seconds.

Then there’s the way it delivers its power. The engine uses the latest common-rail direct-injection technology, so it revs quickly, and builds speed smoothly and swiftly as you accelerate up through the gearbox. Even when it’s being thrashed, it stays hushed and rattle-free.

If you’re in less of a hurry, you can be lazy with the slick-shifting six-speed ’box, because the engine’s considerable low-down muscle still pulls you along strongly. What’s more, it punches harder than Joe Calzaghe in the mid-range, so overtaking is a cinch.

The TT gets even better when the road becomes more challenging. It combines sharp steering, minimal body roll and bags of grip. On top of that, the quattro four-wheel drive that’s standard on the TDI gives it a sure-footed feel, whatever the weather.

Don’t think that Audi has sacrificed ride comfort, either. Admittedly, our car came with the £1150 Magnetic Ride suspension, which can be stiffened or softened at the touch of a button, and which makes fruit-and-nut surfaces feel milk-chocolate smooth when it’s in the comfort setting.

The TT also remains as appealing and well-crafted as ever on the inside. You sit low, the seats are trimmed in leather and Alcantara, and all-round vision is surprisingly good considering the windows are like letterbox slots.

Alternatively, there’s a TDI Roadster if you prefer your motoring to have a breezier feel. This swaps the coupe’s tiny rear seats for an electric folding soft-top, although it carries a £2000 premium and falls into a higher company car tax band.

Factfile
Price from £26,350
On sale now
Engine size 2.0 TD
Power 168bhp
0-62mph 7.5sec
Top speed 140mph
Economy 53.3mpg
Co2 g/km/tax 139/18%

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