A new Audi TT is on the way, but there’s still life in the old dog yet. This new 158bhp 1.8 TFSI model is the cheapest in the current range, costing £3,070 less than the 2.0 TFSI at £24,070.
It certainly doesn’t look like an entry-level coupe. This is the basic Sport model, but it still has all the style of far more expensive versions. The only giveaways are the smaller 17-inch alloy wheels, plus the fact there are no LED daytime running lights.
But the alloys also hint at the basic TT’s second secret – it drives incredibly well. Those high-profile tyres mean the ride is more supple than pricier models with larger wheels, yet the handling is just as good.
With a smaller and lighter engine up front, this TT model feels well balanced through corners. It’s less reluctant to understeer and, the moment it does, a slight lift of the throttle tightens the line. As with all TTs, the well weighted steering helps inspire confidence, even though it’s not the last word in driver involvement.
Buyers hoping to get this engine with quattro four-wheel drive are out of luck, as the car is only available in front-wheel-drive form. But under normal driving conditions, you won’t miss the traction of a quattro TT. Accelerate off the line as fast as you can, and there’s the slightest hint of torque steer. But otherwise, this model is completely free of drama.
The other downside is the fact that buyers aren’t able to specify Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch box. But the six-speed manual is a pleasure to use. The engine, which was previously available in the Roadster, is smooth and likes to be worked hard. Although it doesn’t have the pace of the 2.0-litre TFSI, there’s plenty of punch, and the car sprints from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds. Peak torque of 250Nm is available between 1,500rpm and 4,500rpm, so it’s easy to drive around town, too.
Running costs are kept low, with a quoted fuel economy figure of 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km. Yet the 2.0-litre turbo won’t cost too much more to own; it returns 42.8mpg and emits 154g/km.
The TT’s cabin is as solid and well kitted out as ever, with standard equipment including automatic climate control, leather/Alcantara upholstery and Audi’s Concert audio system. Buyers can choose to upgrade to the £26,060 S line model, which comes with xenon headlamps, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. No TT is perfect, though.
The back seats, for instance, are so cramped that even kids will struggle to fit in. It’s best to view them as extra load space; fold the rear bench flat and you get up to 700 litres of capacity.
So, if you’re looking to buy a brand new TT, don’t ignore this entry-level model: it’s one of the best all-rounders in the line-up. The 1.8 TFSI is much cheaper than a 2.0 TFSI, but the difference in ability is nowhere near as big as the price gap suggests.