Audi TT 2.0T FSI manual
14 June 2006
Category: Sports Prices: £24,437-£29,285
Per month: £488 Key rival: Mazda RX8
Replacing an iconic car such as the Audi TT is straightforward, but replacing it with a car that's as appealing and successful as the original in a market that's moved on in the 11 years we've know the TT is exceedingly difficult.
So Audi has its work cut out convincing buyers to pick the all new model. Corporate sales are predicted to be small in percentage terms, but nonetheless it will still enter the top 100 fleet sellers - after all the old car remained a strong seller until the end of 2005 when it finally dropped to 106 in the fleet chart.
The old TT's looks are what sold the car. Although it drove well, driving appeal was not the old car's strongest point. People bought the car because there was nothing like it and it was amazing.
New TT unfortunately misses out on those revolutionary looks, with Audi instead preferring evolutionary styling with the deep corporate grille added at the front. The result is a fussy design that certainly won't turn as many heads as the original, but Audi designers were keen to assure the car fared well when viewed by existing TT owners.
This time around, Audi is less concerned about portraying the image of a sportscar. Old TT was initially brought into the UK only with quattro all-wheel-drive to compete with traditional rear-wheel drive sportscars. As before the new car is being launched with a choice of two engines, but crucially only the higher powered 3.2 V6 version is fitted with quattro. The lower powered 2.0T (from the Golf GTI) car is only available in front-wheel drive, although Audi engineers hint a quattro option may be developed at a later date.
Unfortunately the 200PS front drive TT suffers from scrabbling front tyres when accelerating through tighter corners or over uneven surfaces which blunts the fun element to the car. The 3.2, however is much more fun with no loss of traction, but for this you'll have to pay an extra £4600 over the standard 2.0T's price of £24,437.
The items that Audi are trumpeting with the new car are the optional clever DSG gearbox seen in a host of Audis already and a clever switchable suspension - giving a 'normal' and 'sport' setting.
The DSG automatic is claimed to be more fuel efficient and faster than the regular manual car. To the driver the manual feels faster and £1400 for the DSG option will pay for a lot of fuel - even at today's prices.
The clever suspension too is an option that's pricey at £1150. In the 2.0T car it doesn't make that much difference, although it does make a marked improvement to driver enjoyment in the 3.2 V6.
One other option to avoid is the 19" alloy wheels. These make the ride jittery and crashy over the 18" equipped cars we also drove. Unfortunately there were no 2.0T cars available with the standard 17" wheels, but we suspect this may be the best way to go to further improving the car's comfort.
Audi may have missed the mark in making the new TT as appealing as the old in terms of buying with your heart, but the firm hasn't put a foot wrong in terms of buying with your head, despite just losing against rivals on cost per mile. The equipment levels are good with standard climate control, great front sports seats, folding rear seats (with proper room for small kids) and a good CD player. Plus the cabin has a first rate finish to it.
Costs are attractive on the 2.0T too for the driver with the best fuel figure and a tax winning CO2 output. The exception is a high lease rate, but a car at this price is best purchased outright for tax reasons anyway. And it's for these reasons we've put it as our choice against its rivals despite not quite winning on overall costs.