First drive: Audi TT 2.0 TDi and TTS
* We test new diesel TT * Great company car appeal * 270bhp TTS tested, too...
Never mind the credit crunch, now you can easily justify a touch of extravagance, because there's a diesel Audi TT.
In fact, to hell with belt-tightening - there's also a scorching 270bhp TTS petrol version.
Diesel appeals to the head...
First, though, the sensible bit - the diesel.
This 168bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel uses the latest high-pressure fuel injection to deliver an average of 53.3 mpg.
More importantly, its CO2 output of 139g/km puts the diesel coupe into lowest 18% taxation band for company car buyers.
...and to the heart
That's great news for the style- and budget-conscious, but what about the keen driver?
Well, how does 0-60 mph in 7.5sec, a top speed of 140mph, magnetically adjustable suspension and four-wheel drive sound?
Thanks to long gearing and the sweet-revving nature of the diesel engine (it'll run beyond 5000rpm before the rev limiter kicks in), the TT TDi flies away from a standing start, then surges through the gears quicker than many a hot hatch.
What's more, even when you're thrashing it mercilessly, the engine is so refined that your passengers will never guess you fill up from the same pump as truckers.
If you're feeling relaxed, there's plenty of low- and mid-range shove, which means you can be as lazy as you like with the sweet-changing six-speed gearbox and the car will still pull strongly.
The latest tricks, inside and out
Inside, like all TTs, the driving position is low and snug, and the cabin is immaculately trimmed. If you prefer your thrills al fresco, you can lose the tiny rear seats in exchange for an electrically folding soft-top. That adds another £2000 to the invoice, though.
Back on the move, the TT's chassis contains the latest version of Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system and two-way adjustable suspension. With the latter, the sports and comfort modes delivers the kind of sweet handling we love.
Sharp steering, a compliant ride, minimal body roll and bags of grip make the TT a real-world sportscar, ideally suited to the patchwork roads in the UK.
TTS - Totally Terrific Speed
Up the ante to the TTS and you'll enjoy all the same qualities, but with a scintillating boost in performance.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is not totally convincing when dawdling, because its big-bore turbocharger likes plenty of revs.
Thrash it for all it's worth, though, and you'll break through the 60mph barrier in just 5.4sec. Then it'll pull like an express train all the way to 155mph.
The TT 2.0 TDi costs £26,350 for the Coupe and £28,350 for the Roadster, while the fast TTS will set you back £33,390 for the Coupe and £35,390 for the open-top.
The TT TDi and TTS are available now.