What we were looking for: Style is crucial here, but there has to be substance, too. We expect great performance and comfort combined with everyday usability.
Best buy under 20,000
Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI
List price 18,395
Target Price 17,581
Best web price 17,333 (www.uknewcars.com)
Best buy 20,000 30,000
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI
List price 25,460
Target Price 24,720
Best web price 22,522 (www.motorlogix.com)
Best buy over 30,000
List price 69,505
Target Price 62,303
Best web price 59,680 (www.motorlogix.com)
The TT remains our favourite coupe, thanks to its classy styling, great handling and tempting price.
Fashion is fleeting, but class is timeless. Nothing proves this more than the Audi TT.
Stunning looks obviously play a big part in its success, but the TT is far more than just a pretty face. Although the first-generation TT was basically the stodgy Mk IV Golf in a party frock, the current one is a proper thoroughbred sports car. Almost 70% of the body is made from lightweight aluminium, and the regular steel panels that make up the rest are located towards the rear to counterbalance the engine and gearbox.
A joy to drive
It works. Whether you're tackling a favourite B-road or just cruising to some tunes, the TT is a joy to drive. It's eager to turn in to bends, the steering feels light and precise, and body control is superb. The standard suspension strikes such a great balance between agility and comfort that we wouldn't bother spending extra on Audi's adjustable Magnetic Ride system.
Our favourite model, the 2.0-litre turbo petrol, misses out on the quattro four-wheel drive system that's fitted to more expensive TTs. However, the excellent chassis copes easily with putting this engine's 197bhp on to the road through the front wheels. In fact, the 2.0 TFSI actually feels sharper than its pricier four-wheel-drive siblings because it's considerably lighter.
There's no shortage of performance, either. You can be lazy with the gearbox, knowing that there's more than enough pulling power in reserve to keep up with traffic. Then, when some extra overtaking zip is needed, simply drop down a gear, stamp on the throttle pedal, and hurtle towards the next county. Rev the engine hard and you unleash a glorious, rasping exhaust note, but back off the throttle and it's a sedate, refined performer.
The TT's interior is equally special, with its top-class materials, neat design and high-quality construction. Climate control and part-leather/part-Alcantara upholstery is standard, and the chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel and heavily bolstered sports seats offer a huge range of adjustment.
The only real downside is the cramped rear. Adults struggle to get into the back, let alone find anywhere for their legs or head once they're in there.
Still, this isn't enough to stop the TT taking this award because practicality is rarely a high priority for coup buyers. Instead, they're after sporty looks and engaging driving manners. The TT delivers both, and at a surprisingly affordable price.