The one we’re testing here is the TT quattro S-tronic Sport, a mid-range model that couples the lower-output 169kW/370Nm 2.0 litre turbo four (a 210kW/380Nm version of that engine is available in the more expensive Audi TT S) with a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic and Audi’s quattro AWD drivetrain.
Retailing for $79,355 the TT quattro Sport is at the more expensive end of the scale, but it promises plenty of style and a level of on-road performance that’s not to be sneezed at.
- Interior quality and design is first-rate. A full-colour LCD display replaces the traditional instrument cluster and looks like it was pinched from a spaceship, boasting plenty of cool factor and placing all of the information a driver might need right in front of them – whether it be their speed, phonebook, radio/media info or sat-nav display.
- The TT’s 169kW two-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol gives it plenty of pep, and thanks to extensive use of aluminium in its construction there’s not a lot of mass to move. Result: the TT will zip to 100km/h from standstill in just 5.3 seconds – a full second quicker than the auto-equipped (and significantly more powerful) Subaru WRX.
- Pretty good outside vision for a sports car, especially considering the TT’s high shoulder line. Well-sized mirrors help keep blind spots small, and front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera help fill in the blanks. Blind spot monitoring is a cost option for those who prefer a little more security when changing lanes.
- The TT Sport quattro’s clever AWD system can channel up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels, giving it outstanding traction in slippery conditions. It handles pretty well too – while previous generations of TT felt nose-heavy and a bit dull at the limit, the current model feels agile and light on its feet.
- The TT is technically a four-seater, but good luck convincing any adult to sit in its cramped, claustrophobic second row. The backrest is bolt upright and legroom is virtually non-existent unless the front seat passenger moves their seat well forward. Even kids will moan about being relegated back there.
- While you can get a six-speed manual in the front-wheel drive TT Sport, keen drivers may lament the unavailability of a manual transmission in the AWD quattro version. It’s a small niggle – especially considering the dual-clutch s tronic gearbox performs better anyhow – but some might miss the sense of connection and involvement that comes with a three-pedal manual trans.
- Pushing $80k for a 169kW coupe isn’t what we’d call a bargain, especially when the TT’s main coupe rival, the BMW M240i, retails for a more affordable $74,900 – and has a stonking 250kW motor and slightly roomier cabin to boot.
- There’s not a whole lot for your passenger to do. The TT’s driver-focused design and multi-function instrument means there’s no central infotainment display, though your passenger can interact with entertainment, phone and navigation functions via the MMI dial on the centre console – provided they can see the screen through the steering wheel, that is.
- While it’s grippy in corners, the TT’s steering doesn’t provide much in the way of feel or feedback. It’s well-weighted, but it doesn’t communicate much about the road surface and how much grip remains at the front wheels. Again, that’s really only something that might bother enthusiastic drivers.
- Even on the basic 18-inch wheel and tyre package and the Sport’s less aggressive suspension tune, the TT has a firm ride. It’s great for attacking winding roads, but not so agreeable if the area you live in is blighted by speedhumps.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
Its interior isn’t as impressive as the Audi, but as a sports coupe it’s the more exciting car to drive thanks to its 250kW turbo inline six and engaging rear-wheel drive chassis.