Audi TT 2006 review

Not a revolutionary advance but the formula was already good, and handling's a huge improvement over old model

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4.0 out of 5

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While the looks may not be revolutionary, the TT’s handling is a huge step forward. The V6 engine is not particularly inspiring, and the firm ride affects comfort, but the new car is a big improvement over its predecessor.* Engine: 3.2-litre V6, 247bhp* Price: £29,285

Despite being one of the world’s most distinctive cars, the original Audi TT struggled to build a reputation as a driver’s mach­ine. But with an all-new model now on sale, the firm hopes to change that.

Designers have stuck to a winning formula, opting for a gentle evolution of the TT shape, rather than anything groundbreaking. It certainly has a more muscular stance than its predecessor, and the styling is aggressive enough to help it match the Porsche Cayman – a rival which Audi has firmly in its sights.

This is reflected in the cabin, which is more driver focused than before, and includes a flat-bottomed steering wheel and an easy-to-reach gearlever. It has a quality feel, but the interior design is fairly predictable, and similar to much of the existing Audi range.

The 3.2-litre V6 is carried over from the previous-generation model, but it has been reworked to improve throttle response. Sadly, despite all the promise from the gruff exhaust note, the engine feels lacklustre at times, and not particularly responsive. That said, the unit is happy at the top end of the rev range – the 247bhp peaks at 6,000rpm, and the motor never feels strained.

As seems to be the current trend for new cars, the TT is longer and wider than its predecessor, but thanks to the increased use of aluminium in its construction, it’s actually 90kg lighter and has better weight distribution. This is instantly noticeable in the handling. The Audi turns in sharply and corners with minimum fuss, while quattro four-wheel drive means grip is excellent. However, our biggest gripe is with the coupé’s ride. The 3.2 quattro has firm suspension, but the car suffers as a result, and on uneven roads it becomes crashy.

The TT is still a stylish choice, but keener drivers should opt for the 2.0-litre turbo version, as its powerplant suits the coupé better, and ultimately offers a more rewarding drive.

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