Fine de­sign but the TT fails to hit the spot

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES - Fred­eric Manby

I HAVE to de­clare a dis­in­ter­est in the Audi TT. It is not my sort of car; never has been any­way, but I may be soft­en­ing – only a bit.

The shape has al­ways ap­pealed and has changed lit­tle since the first TT last cen­tury – in 1999. By def­i­ni­tion, then, it is nearly a clas­sic, and I can’t dis­pute the pu­rity of the de­sign.

There have been many mod­els, some with fron­twheel-drive, mostly four­cylin­der tur­bos, a six-cylin­der, a diesel, with qu­at­tro all­wheel-drive for more pow­er­ful en­gines.

It was, I think, the first sports car to be of­fered with a diesel en­gine. Body styles are twoseater, soft-top road­ster and 2+2 fixed-head coupé.

To­day, the range starts at well un­der £30,000, and my test car, with the 208bhp (211ps) 2-litre “en­try” level petrol TFSI en­gine, was £29,240 with Audi’s twin-clutch, six-speed, STronic gear­box and qu­at­tro trans­mis­sion.

Ba­sic fig­ures are 152mph, 0-62mph in six sec­onds, with 169g/km as tested on the ex­tra-cost 18in al­loys. These added £1,280 and are not nec­es­sary.

It looked smart in mid-blue paint (shade: scuba) but that was an­other £510.

Help­ing take my test car to £37,055 were cruise con­trol (£220), pow­ered heated seats (£995) and “mag­netic” ride ad­just­ment, at £1,175. I would give this item a miss: the ride on my lo­cal coun­try roads was hard and noth­ing spe­cial.

I would pay £35 (hardly worth charg­ing?) for the Isofix child-seat clips, to make the car more use­ful for a fu­ture owner.

The rear seats are, by the way, suit­able only for ba­bies and dogs and small chil­dren and for fold­ing down to ex­tend the boot, reached through the tail­gate.

This is a quick car by most mea­sure­ments and I fail to see why I would want more power – though Audi does of­fer as much as 335bhp (340ps) with a 2480cc, five-cylin­der en­gine. It ex­ists only be­cause some­one will buy it to prove some­thing to some­body they will never know – the passer-by ob­sessed by the RS badge.

For an ad­di­tional £18,000 over my test car, the RS gives an ex­tra 3mph top speed and to 62mph in 4.5 sec­onds. I can wait.

The pace of the TFSI was ad­mirable. This en­gine has di­rect fuel in­jec­tion and a tur­bocharger, and is a gem.

The char­ac­ter is will­ing and smooth, and in a car weigh­ing 1360kg, the re­sponse is rapid, ac­com­pa­nied by a quaint war­bling note from the ex­haust sys­tem.

Af­ter weeks of mo­tor­ing in var­i­ous “nor­mal” cars, though, the gen­eral noise of the TT was loud. It is not a rest­ful car but then nei­ther is a Porsche Cay­man, which I adore.

We, or rather, some of us, buy such cars for their looks. Some will en­joy the abil­ity to get round corners quickly and reach higher av­er­age speeds, but these gains are more emo­tional than ra­tio­nal.

Mostly, I suspect, the TT is bought as style state­ment. It cer­tainly has rak­ish lines and the coupé is prac­ti­cal for two peo­ple and their lug­gage.

Ver­dict: Posh girl’s shopper, but an A3 makes more sense. Sorry, chaps, not a bloke’s mo­tor.

More: 0800 699 888.

STYLE STATE­MENT: Audi’s lat­est TT.

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