The new Audi TT will have to really go some to match the success of its predecessor, which picked up our Coupe of the Year award in all but the final year of its production run.
Mind you, the signs are good, because this all-new model is lighter and stiffer than its car it replaces, and has a healthy dollop of extra power, too.
Here we’re testing the entry-level front-wheel-drive 2.0 TFSI, which uses a turbocharged petrol engine and a six-speed manual gearbox.
Other options include the same, 227bhp engine with four-wheel drive and a six-speed auto 'box, while a 307bhp TTS model joins the range later this year. Meanwhile, a 2.0 TDI Ultra model promises to satisfy those with economy concerns.
What’s the 2015 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI like to drive?
Unflappable. Turn into a corner and the steering builds weight to give you a good sense of what the front wheels are doing, so 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 if you do manage to reach 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 find it hard to resist pushing for the upper limits, at which point the TT becomes seriously rapid. In our own performance tests it managed to sprint from 30-70mph in just 4.9 seconds – quicker than a V8-powered Jaguar XK.
Ride comfort in our test car, which came with 19-inch alloys and standard suspension (10mm lowered suspension is a no-cost option on S Line trim) was generally settled. Scruffy, low-speed town roads don’t cause much shuddering, and even mid-corner bumps don’t knock the TT’s composure. Even the lower S Line suspension that we've tried on other TTs doesn't make for an uncomfortable ride.
Other than some wind flutter around the frameless doors and a bit of road noise, the TT is also a pretty hushed cruiser – certainly when compared to rivals such as the Peugeot RCZ R. If we're being picky, the six-speed manual gearbox has a slightly long and un-sports car-like shift action, but it's light and precise.
What’s the 2015 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI like inside?
It might be gentle evolution on the outside for the new TT, but it’s a complete revolution in here. The first thing that strikes you is how simple the dashboard is, with just a handful of clearly labelled buttons set neatly into the fascia.
This minimalist approach has been made possible by positioning the main screen – which displays everything from the stereo to the instrument dials – behind the steering wheel.
This is largely good news, because it means you don’t have to divert your eyes far from away road to see it, while the huge 12.3-inch display is bright and clear. However, it does mean your passenger can’t help out with tapping in a postcode or choosing a radio station.
Drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable thanks to a broadly adjustable wheel and supportive seats finished in Alcantara and leather – even on base Sport trim cars. S Line models have even more supportive 'super' sports seats, with thick, adjustable side bolsters.
The rear seats remain as useless in this TT as they were in the previous model. 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.
Elsewhere in the cabin, there’s an outstanding sense of quality and solidity, with various clever design touches – such as the air-con controls mounted on the vents themselves – catching the eye. The digital temperature readouts fitted to the car in our pictures are part of a £1590 Comfort and Sound pack, which you'd be wise to consider because it also gets you a high-performance Bang & Olufsen sound system, rear parking sensors and a front centre armrest.
A DAB radio, USB socket, keyless start and a lane-assist system are all included on all trims, so the main benefits of stepping up from Sport to S Line are LED headlights (instead of xenons), a more agressive bodykit and an upgrade from 18-inch to 19-inch alloy wheels. Disappointingly, sat-nav costs extra on both versions – and only as part of a £1795 Technology pack.
Should I buy one?
The previous TT was always going to be a tough act to follow, but this new model doesn’t disappoint. It’s grippy, fun and seriously agile, and the fact it’s so much lighter than its rivals – including the Peugeot RCZ R – makes up for its relative shortage of power.
It’s not just how good the Audi is to drive that makes it such a brilliant coupe, though; its interior has a high-tech and user-friendly layout, and sumptuous materials that wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end luxury car. It's even pretty practical, with an easy-to-access boot and rear seats that fold flat.
It’s not perfect – the gearshift has a longer throw than we’d like and you’ll almost certainly want to spend extra on options – but when you consider how relatively well priced the TT is, and the fact it's predicted to hold its value so well, it's actually something of a bargain.
The best sub-£35k coupe on the market? Without question.
What Car? says...
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI
Engine size 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Price from £29,860
Torque 273lb ft
0-62mph 6.0 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 47.9mpg