Ever since its inception at the fag end of the previous millennium, Audi TT has been the sportscar alter ego of VW Golf’s platform and that hasn’t changed with the third gen model which entered India this April. However, considering that the latest MQB modular platform is much more flexible than the two previous underpinnings, Audi had a better opportunity this time around to distinguish its compact sportscar from the premium hatchback relative in terms of inherent character.
At a price of INR 60.32 lakhs (ex-showroom), TT is the most affordable sportscar in the country. Is it just a glorified hatchback in a chic looking package or is it a sportscar in truest sense of the word? We headed to the mountains on a glorious Sunday morning to find out.
What has changed?
The new platform combined with extensive use of aluminium and high strength steel in construction has resulted in significant weight saving and that alone should enhance 2015 Audi TT‘s athleticism to a noticeable extent. Save for the increased wheelbase of 37 mm, other dimensional differences are negligible in real world conditions.
Aesthetically, the sportscar has retained its distinct compact coupe silhouette which has been a common factor in all of the nameplate’s three generations. In fact, it is this timeless shape that defines TT. The previous iteration itself was a looker and hence the new car doesn’t have to try hard to captivate its beholders.
Front fascia is where most changes are concentrated. The round-edged elements of older TT have made way for sharp angular appointments, resulting in a definitive change in disposition from easy going to fierce. The beautifully detailed LED headamps with daytime running elements, hexagonal Singleframe grille, flared air intake pods, aggressive chin and a keen logo carrying hood clearly deliver the car’s sporty intentions.
Changes to profile come in the form of a new alloy wheel design and a sharper side skirt with protrudes towards the rear wheel arch. Rear fascia has been refined with a tweaked license place niche, reprofiled bumper and edgier LED taillights. The LED brake light strip on the bootlid now bridges the taillights, creating an interesting light signature at night. The black diffuser continues to house twin circular exhaust tips but they are closer to each other than before.
2015 Audi TT’s evolutionary design places it as a snazzy sportscar that is filled with intent.
How are things inside?
Audi TT has traditionally been known for its award winning interior design and the latest iteration improves things by several notches. For starters, the all-black dashboard sports a less cluttered layout, thanks to the elimination of centre-console mounted infotainment screen whose functions are now integrated into a do-it-all Audi Virtual Cockpit (configurable color instrument console display).
Exceptional attention to detail has heightened the overall feel-good factor by a significant measure. The chunky four-spoke multifunction steering wheel feels great to hold and the beautiful jet turbine inspired chrome rimmed AC vents with integrated controls are classy. The console on the transmission tunnel features brushed aluminium inlay with brilliant texture and houses gear selector lever, start-stop button, knurled touch-sensitive dial for the MMI, electronic parking brake switch and so on. Other noteworthy elements include leather trims on the door pads that match the seat color, aluminium finished interior grab handles and machined pedals.
The quilted Milano leather front seats look the part and are supremely comfortable. Both seats are equipped with electrically adjustable settings, replete with lumbar and thigh support adjustments. Side bolstering is spot on and the ergonomics is just right irrespective of your height (of course, the steering wheel can be adjusted too).
There is nothing to talk about the rear seats. Honestly, we think that the sportscar could have done away with the extremely cramped rear bench in favor of an increased luggage space.
To answer the question in a single sentence: quality of materials used is simply topnotch, build quality is excellent and the overall design-cum-functionality is sure to make you feel special.
So it’s got the show. What about the go?
Sitting transversely under the sharpe-edged hood is a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection petrol engine which is dubbed as 45 TFSI. The energetic motor produces 230 PS at 4,500 rpm and an impressive torque of 370 Nm at 1,600 rpm. A 6-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters disburses the drive to all four wheels by means of the popular quattro all-wheel drive system.
The motor puts its wicked hat on once past 4,000 rpm to unleash a sudden surge of performance, providing a gratifyingly strong tug all the way up to its near-7,000 rpm red line.
The engine and gearbox combo works smoothly without any drama as long as the revs are kept below 4,000 rpm mark and it’s deceivingly tractable. However, the motor puts its wicked hat on once past the said rpm to unleash a sudden surge of performance, providing a gratifyingly strong tug all the way up to its near-7,000 rpm red line. If you get carried away – trust us, it’s pretty easy to do so – you would end up going outrageously fast before you know it! 0-100 kmph comes in a scant 5.3 seconds and the car has an electronically limited top speed of 250 kmph.
While the engine note itself is sporty and gets louder in Dynamic mode, the gargling sound during quick upshifts is highly addictive. Higher the engine rpm, more vocal is the gargle.
Speaking of the gearshifts, the 6-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission easily adapts to your driving style in fully automatic D mode and has sharper response in S mode – the upshifts are smooth and downshifts are reasonably quick. The paddle shifters offer a positive feel too.
2015 Audi TT’s 45 TFSI power plant has two distinct characters and feels right at home irrespective of whether you are taking it easy or having a happy right foot. It’s brilliance is not just limited to its exceptional flexibility but extends to fuel efficiency as well, for it’s easy to extract a double digit mileage figure without being a miser on throttle!
Does it handle like a sportscar ought to?
The quick answer is yes. Audi Drive Select system lets the driver configure the car’s behavior according to his/her mood. The system offers five modes – Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual – which accordingly adjust the engine, gearbox, steering, quattro system and suspension responses. It’s not just a gimmick, the system actually works, thereby preparing the car just the way you want it to be at that particular moment.
In comfort mode, ride quality is surprisingly cushy for a sportscar and it simply glides over most potholes and speed bumps without scraping its underbody! In Dynamic mode, Audi TT transforms itself into an angry corner-devouring brat. With its commendable agility, the car encourages you to push harder and harder around bends but our test car’s abused Pirelli rubbers were well past their peak health and hence limited us from fully exploring the well sorted chassis’ potential even after getting up to optimum temperature.
The steering gets progressively heavier from Comfort to Dynamic mode but falls a bit short on the overall feel and feedback fronts. Not that it’s a dull unit but TT, being a two-door sportscar with nimble handling characteristics, could do with a more communicative steering system.
How safe is it?
New TT is comes with front, side and chest airbags (six in total), ABS with EBD, ESC, and seat belt pre-tensioner with load limiter. The car received 4 stars in Euro-NCAP tests with adult and child occupant safety rating of 81% and 68% respectively.
Is it worth breaking my bank balance?
2015 Audi TT comes out as a sprightly little sportscar with everyday usability. It looks amazing, has marvelous interiors, handles brilliantly, packs enough power to make you grin like a child and is surprisingly high on comfort as long as you forget about the rear seats.
Yes, it’s no match for a certain rear-mounted boxer engined distant cousin when it comes to sheer driving pleasure but that’s precisely why it can be hailed as an everyday sportscar. So, if you are a young, dynamic and highly successful man or a woman who likes to drive and has no immediate plans to start a family, forget about that mid-size luxury sedan you always wanted to buy and get yourself a TT instead, because, for that price point, no other car would transport you with such flair.