To be considered a serious luxury carmaker, just making superlative sedans and saloons wont do. The portfolio must include thoroughbred sportscars, roadsters, convertibles and coupes. These do not tick all the boxes on practicality but provide the halo and sex appeal that help sell the other mundane cars. The Audi TT is the Inglostadt based car maker's one such luminescent car that looks delicious and screams performance. Especially when its red.
Unmistakably a coupe, TT is just 4.2 metres long, has just 2 doors and a 2+2 seating configuration. It has always been a head turner but in its new guise it is a stunner. The four ringed logo has been pushed up to the bonnet presenting a new face to Audi that will be carried onto its other performance cars like the R8. The facia is now dominated by horizontal lines, the single frame grille is broad and flat and the head lights are sharper. Audi has always been good at playing around with LEDs and the TT gets structured strut design in LEDs that makes it stand out.
The side profile is similar to the previous generation TTs to highlight the evolution at the front and rear. The roof slopes in beautifully to join the tail lamps that carry the strut design from the front. The brakelight a thin strip stretches the whole width of the boot to join the tail lamps. If I have to make my neighbour feel jealous, this is the car I would take home.
You are not really prepared for the spartan simplistic design of the cabin. The lack of overbearing buttons or LED screen on the central console is refreshing at a time when everybody else seems to be over doing it. The cabin has been designed with the driver in mind so it is tilted ever so slightly towards him. The 12.3 inch digital instrument console does away with the need for a screen at the centre and frees up the space on the dashboard. There are many nice touches like the air con vents that remind you of a jet engine or the controls for setting the temperature or blower speed embedded at the axis of the vents. All the other information is available to the driver at the touch of a button or the turn of a rotary wheel and while that may make others in the car feel a tad isolated, it is obvious that it is the owner and not a chauffeur that is behind the wheel.
Speaking of which, the rear seat is well nigh unusable here even for children. A wheelbase of just 2.5 metres makes you wonder why Audi even bothered with the 2 extra seats. Unless ofcourse they always wanted you to keep them folded to enjoy the generous 712 litre of boot space. Keep them upright and neither can you fit in human beings nor what they carry.
The TT comes in India with a single engine option--2.0 litre turbocharged direct injected petrol-- that makes 230 PS power and 370 NM of torque. The numbers do not seem that impressive on paper when compared to rivals but thanks to TT's lower weight at under 1.4 tonnes, it punches much above on the road. Mated to a 6 speed dual clutch transmission, TT is an eager performer and happy when revved hard. Given that it is essentially a front wheel driven vehicle it should not be as much fun as the mid engine rear wheel drama of the Porsches but thanks to the all wheel drive quattro technology that senses when each of the rear tyres need power, the car handles every corner without any fuss. The added zing here that eludes most other Audis, is the roar of the engine especially in the dynamic mode. If it were possible that heads do not turn at the mere sight of the car, its bark alone would have done the needful. Having said that, do not go by the company claims on fuel economy. Any coupe will necessarily be a guzzler.
Audi has sold over half a million TTs all over the world in the last 17 years and in its third generation the car is inching close to attaining the stature of a modern classic. Yet a question that has always been asked, why not a Porsche if you actually want a coupe? For one, the price. The Cayman is not available in India right now (specs given in table for reference only) but if it were here, you could have bought 2 TTs for that price. There are other coupes like the Mercedes CLS and BMW 6 series Gran Coupe but they are closer to sedans than coupes. The TT is way more fun. You may want to pay that much extra for the Porsche brand but in isolation, TT is as good a coupe as you can get.