Long-term tests

Audi TT TDI: 1,816 miles

Second report: How attention-grabbing diesel coupé guarantees celebrity status

  • Where do I start? The TT TDI is proving to be a great all-rounder. Its diesel engine is refined, punchy and very economical. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a sporty coupé to suit an oil-burning unit, but the torquey power delivery means the car provides effortless pace. I also love our long-termer’s colour and wheel combination – even if they both add to the overall cost.
  • The absence of a separate tailgate release at the back of the car is annoying. Yes, you can use the key and, yes, there is a button inside the Audi to open the tailgate – but a conventional release somewhere on the bootlid would be a major plus if you ask me.

Now I know how Brad and Tom must feel. That’s Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, by the way.

And before you all fall around on the floor guffawing loudly, I’m not talking about being a modern male icon for the opposite sex (although I try my best). No, it’s just that I’m feeling as if everyone is following my every action!

Putting an Audi TT on your driveway is akin to living in some kind of motorised goldfish bowl or being the target of the automotive paparazzi. I mentioned briefly in our Fleet Watch column recently how I had been stopped by two very keen Audi followers.

Both occasions were outside my home – and the first person was the proud owner of a brand new black TT. He reversed 100 yards down my road to tell me how happy he was with his set of wheels after reading my reports on the car in Auto Express.

The second ‘fan’ engaged me in a long conversation about the dubious merits of putting a diesel engine into a sexy coupé. I assured him that the TDI is superb – but it was clear he wasn’t convinced. Believe me, though, it’s true. If you’re a real-life celeb who’s going to get ‘papped’, you could do a lot worse than be snapped climbing into the diesel TT.

For starters, it looks identical to the petrol models, except for the twin exhausts and discreet bootlid badging. And if you are forced to fire up the engine to flee a massed mob of snappers, the Audi sounds meaty and powerful rather than clattery and rattly. It also has more than enough power for you to make a clean getaway.

The TT has now been on our fleet for just over two months, during which time it has racked up nearly 2,000 miles. And so far it has been completely trouble-free and a pure joy to drive. Fuel economy is proving to be reasonable at 36.9mpg, too.

It still looks the part, with its superb 19-inch alloy wheels and striking Petrol Blue paint. In fact, the car is so photogenic, it appeared in last week’s New Car Awards issue as the Audi claimed the Best Coupé prize, seeing off the two-door BMW 3-Series.

But I believe perfection can always be improved upon, and there are one or two things I would like to see Audi change.

Although I love the solid feel and cornering ability of the TT out on the open road, those ultra-wide and low-profile tyres make for a boneshaking ride across the UK’s rutted byways.

Outside, it infuriates me that there is no manual release for the boot hatch; you have to fumble for the key fob, or open it from a switch on the driver’s door. And while the TT’s plush interior is pure quality, the adaptor kit Audi supplies to make sure your Apple iPod or MP3 player is securely fitted in the glovebox socket is like some kind of devilish plastic puzzle.

Nevertheless, these are all small complaints – so my biggest bugbear has to be the level of attention I get while driving the TT. This is fine if you’re a Hollywood hunk called Brad or Tom, but not so good for magazine editors called David!

Extra Info

The fast TT diesel really does deliver impressive punch. Its 168bhp engine performs brilliantly in the mid-range, where the car’s 350Nm torque output provides masses of urge.

Better still, the Audi’s grippy four-wheel-drive system means you can use all of the pace even in slippery conditions. Good fuel returns and stunning looks are the icing on this tasty cake.

James Disdale Road tester

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