The next Audi TT will be much lighter, more efficient and better to drive than ever. And our exclusive image gives you a glimpse of its new design, which maintains the current car's basic shape, but with a dramatic new front end. (Click to Tweet)
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Engineers working on the third-generation TT want to close the handling gap to the Boxster – produced by Audi’s fellow VW Group brand, Porsche. But they aim to do so without affecting the Audi’s reputation for style, luxury and everyday usability.
This will be achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, Audi plans to cut the TT’s kerbweight, which has knock-on benefits for the dynamics, fuel consumption and performance. Under the skin will be the VW Group’s new MQB platform. It uses high-strength hot-formed steel and allows thinner-section members to be employed, giving a stiffer and lighter basic chassis.
Add in a bodyshell made predominantly from aluminium and the new model should be over 60kg lighter than the current car. That brings it down to around 1,200kg – just 35kg more than an A1 1.6 TDI.
Audi recently revealed the TT ultra quattro concept at the Worthersee show in Austria. Based on the current-generation TT it slashes an incredible 300kg from the kerbweight through extensive use of lightweight materials such as carbon-fibre, magnesium, aluminium and titanium. Audi has already hinted that it could point towards a extremely low volume production car, but its unclear whether that will be a run out model for the current car, or use the new 2014 TT as a basis.
Another benefit of the new MQB platform is that the front wheels are moved forward, while the engine stays in the same place. This creates a longer wheelbase, which should improve the ride, plus a shorter front overhang. And it means the engine will be mounted further back between the wheels. The result is better weight distribution and more predictable handling.
Although the overall teardrop silhouette will be retained, the styling will be sharper and more aggressive than the MkI and MkII TTs. Inspiration comes from the e-tron and e-tron Spyder concepts seen at 2010’s Detroit and Paris Motor Shows, as well as more recent show cars such as the Crosslane Coupe 'Q2' concept shown in Paris at the end of last year.
Slimmer headlights and a three-dimensional grille sharpen up the front end, while full-width LED tail-lamps will emphasise the wide, muscular haunches. Although the car in our images is the 2+2 coupe, the TT will also be offered as a Roadster – and this will stick with a lightweight fabric roof.
Inside, Audi is expected to push the boundaries of quality yet again. There will be tactile leather and chunky aluminium trim, while the dashboard will be dominated by an eight-inch touchscreen. Although it’s a bit smaller than an iPad (which has a 9.7-inch display), owners will be able to swipe through the various menus in the same way.
Four-cylinder engines will again form the bulk of the line-up, with most TTs sold featuring 1.8 and 2.0-litre TFSI engines ranging from 180bhp to 220bhp. There will also be a cleaner and more powerful version of the existing 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel, capable of over 60mpg.
It’s unclear whether Audi will offer the cylinder deactivation technology seen on the 138bhp A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI on the larger 1.8 and 2.0 engines, but an engineer told us it was a definite possibility.
At the top of the range, the TT-S will get an all-new 2.0-litre turbo, producing 275bhp and 380Nm of torque. But the TT-RS will stick with a reworked version of its five-cylinder 2.5-litre TFSI, boosted to around 375bhp.
The new TT is expected to go on sale in early 2014, although we’ll get our first glimpse of the car some time in late 2013.