Audi TT Coupe review
Audi can rest easy - we can happily declare the TT as the best coupe in its price bracket
Driving The TT is available with either a front-driven 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder or a four-wheel drive 3.2-litre V6. We tested the best-selling 2.0-litre, which boasts 197bhp and, more significantly, 280Nm of torque at just 1,800rpm. With the whole car weighing just 1,280kg thanks to its lightweight construction, the TT performed well at the test track, hitting 60mph in 6.4 seconds. But it's on the road where it's most impressive; the flexible engine is responsive low-down, and it's great at overtaking and punching out of bends. You rarely miss the extra traction of the flagship's quattro 4WD. The manual gearbox is OK but the S Tronic is so accomplished, it removes a layer of driver involvement. Plus, the Audi is a little nose-heavy and not quite as well-balanced as the class-best. It understeers easily and is not as involving or as exciting to drive as it ought to be. But either engine sounds good, while torsional rigidity is 50 per cent better than before, which boosts comfort and refinement. Also, the £1,150 magnetic dampers aren't cheap, but they're worth it for the improved ride quality.
Marketplace If the mark of a well designed car is that it still looks fresh even when approaching retirement age, then the TT has to be an all-time great. In fact, so successful was the shape, that car's replacement is fundamentally unchanged. It may be longer and wider, but the basic proportions and profile (high window line, rounded ends and exaggerated wheelarches) are familiar. Only two versions are available at the moment: how to tell them apart? Well, the 2.0T gets a grey front grille and twin pipes on the left, while the V6 has a black grille and exhaust pipes either side. The BMW Z4 battles it closely, as indeed does the Bavarian maker's 3-Series coupe, while the Mazda RX-8 and Alfa Romeo Brera are also rivals.
Owning The TT is built from top-notch materials, with an elegant layout. But it's not a massive leap forward from the car it replaced in 2006. The detailing isn't as neat or clever (the hidden electric window switches have been done away with, for example, and the heater controls are tucked away in front of the gearlever, where they're rather inaccessible). It seems to have been designed by committee; it's less individual. Nor is the driving position perfect. The pedals are too far up the footwell, resulting in bent legs and less underthigh support. But the seats are comfortable and visibility is much-improved. The hatchback boot and folding rear seats ensure versatility, but only very small passengers will fit in the back. As for economy, we've sung the praises of the 2.0T countless times, and once again, it proved as economical as it is punchy here. CO2 emissions are low too, and retained values of either model are exceptional. Only premium-level insurance ratings and servicing costs will hit drivers' pockets.