Long-term test review: Audi TT
Final report: It’s time to say farewell to our award-winning coupe
Life with the TT got off to a bad start, but despite this I’ve fallen for it and I’m very sad to see it go. I was also surprised at how good a sports car the Audi is – it’s quick, handles well and looks great. It more than deserved its title of Best Coupé in the Auto Express New Car Awards.
Mileage: 13,213Fuel economy: 32.1mpg
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust... it’s time to say goodbye to our Audi TT. Knowing the car’s probably going on to a better life with a more careful owner than me, I thought it was apt to crack open a bottle of champers and mark its departure.
While I’ve warmed to the car and admit to shedding the odd tear, it’s true to say that the past seven months living with Audi’s slinky coupé haven’t been the easiest.
My TT experience went well for the first few weeks, before a troublesome stop-start system, dodgy Virtual Cockpit and over-sensitive parking sensors caused not only the staff at an Audi dealer to scratch their heads in bewilderment, but also those at Audi’s Milton Keynes HQ.
The problems – and in particular, those with the stop-start – could never be fixed, so a replacement was drafted in by month two.
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Used car tests
There have been no complaints since – in fact, the Audi has seriously impressed me. Previous TTs had style by the bucketload, but didn’t convince keen drivers with dull handling. This third-generation one, though, rewrites the rulebook for how a TT drives – it’s a proper sports car.
From the way it steers, turns and makes you feel, it’s near the top of the class – and it still turns heads even if the evolutionary styling makes it look essentially the same car as the 1998 original. Couple this with an interior that, as far as I’m concerned, is the finest of any car this side of £100,000, and it moves the game on in such a dramatic way that it was named Best Coupé in our 2015 New Car Awards.
Fresh from that photoshoot, the day of reckoning was approaching. With only 24 hours to go before the man from Audi came to collect the keys, it was time to give the TT some TLC. A couple of weeks earlier, it’d been the victim of a brazen attack by someone’s trolley in supermarket car park, and there was only one company that I could trust to do a good job.
A call to Chips Away resulted in technician Roger Catchpole arriving at my house to fix the unsightly dent and crease from the runaway trolley. As the damage was so close to the door edge, PDR (paintless dent removal) was quickly ruled out, with Roger advising he’d have to rub down the paintwork, fill the crease, spray it and finish it off with lacquer.
Four hours later, the TT was showroom fresh – the repair was so highly professional, you wouldn’t have known of the Audi’s violent attack. It was ready to make the final 70-mile drive to the Auto Express office.
With the TT now gone, my attentions haven’t turned to a replacement on our fleet, but instead to the Internet to find a TT of my own. I’m hooked on the model!
Audi TT: second report
We’ve got a new TT, but can it match up to flagship TTS Coupe?
Mileage: 6,898Real world economy: 32.1mpg
In the world of Audi TT ownership, the badge means everything. Until now, I’ve been driving around in the fastest and most expensive version of the German coupé, and have felt pretty pleased with myself. But now there’s a new one that’s louder (in colour), faster and sounds better when you tell people what you’re driving these days. It’s the TTS of course.
So is this the TT to go for? More importantly, though, is it time to throw my toys out of the pram and sulk about not having the best model anymore?
Firstly, it’s simply a relief that I have a TT that allows me to enjoy all of the attention it gets from passers-by. You may have noticed my Audi has changed colour from my last report. £545 Scuba Blue has made way for the equally expensive Glacier White – and that’s because it’s a brand new car. Audi finally held its hands up in February and took the troublesome blue TT away to investigate the failing stop/start system, and replaced it with another. Apart from the colour, it’s identical, including £10,000 worth of kit.
It’s all desirable stuff, though – my personal highlights are the LED Matrix headlights, quilted grey leather seats, which are heated (great for my aching back) and the Comfort and Sound Package (which adds, among other bits, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and climate control with digital displays in the vents).
Better still, this new TT gets the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and, with 227bhp, it booms and barks its way to 62mph in just 5.3 seconds, helped by the six-speed S tronic automatic box that races through upshifts and blips the throttle on downchanges.
I haven’t yet found a situation where the TT doesn’t shine – in cities it’s agile, in the country it’s swift and on the motorway it’s hushed. Hit ‘Efficiency’ on the Audi Drive Select system and it even coasts on the motorway if you lift off, saving pounds at the pumps. We’ve also got Audi’s Winter tyre package, which for £1,568 replaces the car’s optional 20-inch alloys with classically styled 17-inch wheels and intricately patterned Dunlop winter tyres.
Sadly, this winter has been too mild to experience how good they are and has held the TT back a bit – those swift country roads have been a haven for sliding due to the tyres getting too warm. Summer rubber is on the way.
Despite this, I’d rather have our TT than the TTS. It costs roughly £5,000 more, yet the extra 79bhp only really makes itself known under hard acceleration, and while the TTS comes in a similar hue to my favourite pair of trousers, the quattro 230 has more than enough power at its disposal for most buyers. Yet some will just haveto have the latest TT regardless.
And you can’t really blame them, as it does have undeniable appeal. For the time being, though, our TT is more than good enough – especially now we have one that’s problem-free.
Audi TT: first report
Electrical gremlins ruin our time in racy Audi TT coupe.
Mileage: 4,119 miles Real world mpg: 33.1mpg
As I’m officially the best-dressed man at Auto Express (not hard), you can imagine how much my colleagues have been laughing at me dressed as a mechanic. But the stereotypical attire perfectly conveys my up-and-down relationship so far with our Audi TT.
I grabbed the keys in December, having been looking forward to using the swoopy two-door as my daily driver from my home on the south coast to our central London office. This £35,355 S line quattro TT is fitted with a 227bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine and a dual-clutch S tronic auto box.
There’s a wealth of extras, too – from Audi’s clever LED Matrix headlights and a winter tyre pack to a classy leather interior, our TT has all the sought-after kit. Tot up the lengthy options, though, and the price rises to a considerable £45,335. However, Audi knows such cars will sell – as the UK buys more TTs than any other country.
But even early on, the car was experiencing some crippling hiccups – so severe, in fact, that it had a dealer and Audi’s UK HQ scratching their heads. Like all other stop/start systems, the TT’s works once the car comes to a standstill. Yet unlike anything else I’ve ever tried, when the brake was released and the engine burst back into life, endless warning lights appeared on the Virtual Cockpit screen.
It was topped off with the parking sensors going berserk, before deciding to disappear 10 minutes later. On one occasion, the car failed to restart for a few heart-stopping seconds on London’s Oxford Street at the height of rush hour.
After a spate of these inconvenient occurrences, we enlisted the expert help of Epsom Audi, Surrey, which carried out a full investigation. Yet despite the brilliant customer service, its technicians couldn’t solve it, as the problems reappeared soon after.
Another trip to the dealer – which investigated, attributed the fault to a trapped wire to the stop/start system and put 200 miles on the clock through extensive test drives – still didn’t sort it.
Audi HQ called, took the car back in January, pulled it apart and after a few weeks, returned it saying all was well. Turns out the problem still hasn’t been fixed. A mere sniff of stop/start driving freaks the system out, leading me to drive around with it constantly (and uneconomically) switched off.
Get out of congested London, though, and the coupé really shines. Prod the Drive Select button on the beautifully designed and built dashboard and engage Efficiency mode on the motorway, and the Audi settles down quite incredibly. Lift off at speed, and the revs drop, allowing the car to coast along and thus boost its fuel consumption.
Plus, when you head for a country road and switch to Dynamic mode, the TT thrills – this model is more of a sports car than its two predecessors have been. But my time with the car so far really has been a tale of two TTs.
As we went to press, Audi gave up its head scratching and replaced the TT with another identical car, albeit painted in Glacier White. Let’s hope this one doesn’t lead me to don the overalls.