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New Audi TT hits SA

2007-01-25 08:17

The new Audi TT's design is an evolution from its predecessor

Wilmer Muller

The new TT coupe has arrived in South Africa and Audi is hiTTing its rivals where it hurts: PRICE.

A "mere" R352 000 will buy you a glitzy new TT.

And it is not as if you purchasing a mediocre sports car... The entry-level model gets the VW/Audi group's highly-acclaimed 2-litre turbocharged FSI engine with 147kW of muscle. It has more than enough zest while clever engineering means that this TT model is quite a performer too.

One can imagine that the marketing and sales people at BMW and Mercedes are all having crisis meetings right now, brainstorming on how they are going to respond to Audi's onslaught.

If you do have an extra R90 000 in your back pocket you can opt for the 3.2-litre V6 derivative.

At R440 000 for the manual V6 model, it is definitely competitively priced. A BMW Z4 3.0Si coupe will cost you about the same while you have to fork out about R530 000 for the SLK 350.

Both TT derivatives are also available with a either a six-speed manual gearbox or S-tronic (DSG) transmission.

The TT with the four-cylinder turbo engine is a front-wheel-drive model, whereas the V6 features permanent four-wheel drive.

The roadster version of the TT will become available in SA from June 2007 with the same engine and transmission line-up as the coupe.

Design evolution

Audi played it safe with the second generation TT's design. It might be a complete new car but you will be excused if you mistake it for a facelift. It appears as if this sexy babe only had a nip and tuck firming her up. And voila!

One has to give the TT's design team credit for preserving the previous model's iconic design. The car is still unmistakably a TT, while appearing fresh.

With the new TT, Audi retained the original's genetic code but the design has become more masculine and slightly more aggressive.

For example Audi gave the TT a neat bum tuck with a spoiler that rises at speeds above 120km/h but is otherwise tucked away.

Naturally the TT is slightly bigger than before resulting in a more spacious cabin. The interior design is familiar as it also seems like an evolution from the old car. The roadster version of the TT will become available in SA from June 2007 with the same engine and transmission line-up as the coupe.

The fit and finish of the cabin and the overall appearance are just about as good as it gets.

Under the skin

The new Audi TT is also the result of clever engineering and the latest technology.

Its body is stiffer than before and also features ASF (Audi Space Frame) technology, which basically helps to reduce weight. Aluminium accounts for 69 percent of the weight of the overall body.

The unladen weight of the TT 2.0 T FSI is only 1 260kg while the 3.2 quattro tips the scale at 1 410kg.

Another highlight includes the optional 'magnetic ride' which promises a better ride and handling.

Engines are tried and tested units too.

The power output of the 2-litre turbo engine of 147 kW is delivered between 5 100 and 6 000 r/min and allows the entry-level TT to accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds (in the version featuring the S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox). Top speed is rated at 240 km/h.

The V6 unit achieves a peak torque of 320 Nm at engine speeds as low as 2 500 to 3 000 r/min, and an output of 184 kW at 6 300 r/min.

Although carried over from the previous TT 3.2, many aspects of this engine have been revised. The reconfigured mapped characteristic ensures that the engine responds to the throttle even more spontaneously and with more "bite" in all engine speed ranges.

The V6 sprints from a standing start to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds (with S-tronic). Its top speed is 250 km/h.

For the first time on an Audi model, all 17-inch and 18-inch wheels come with run-flat tyres as standard. These tyres are able to continue for 50 km after suffering a total loss of pressure at a vehicle speed of 80 km/h, without the driver noticing any significant deterioration.

An enhanced tyre pressure monitoring system is supplied. It still calls upon information supplied by the ABS sensors, but identifies precisely which wheel may have suffered a puncture by monitoring the specific characteristic oscillation of the tyres.

Behind the wheel

Audi says the drag coefficient of the new TT coupe is 0.30, which is a remarkable advance on that of its predecessor, which had a drag coefficient of 0.34.

Thanks to the body structure improvements, a slightly lower centre of gravity as well as wider front and rear tracks the TT is definitely a better drive than before.

If the car is specced with the 'magnetic ride' suspension the stiffness of the dampers respond to the driving style and the road conditions.

For example if you tackle corners or go through some tight bends the suspension stiffens up. Naturally when the road is less challenging and you are cruising on the open road it will lighten up resulting in a more relaxed ride.

The TT, no matter which engine is under the bonnet, loves speed. It is a car that shows a lot of confidence if you put your foot down while the steering feedback is good too.

The 2.0-litre TFS suits the TT well and it is actually hard to justify to fork out an extra R90k for the V6. This 147 kW engine, has proven itself over and over again, and in the TT it again shows its muscle. It offers more than enough power to have decent fun, and it is quick.

Okay, if you do opt for the V6 model, you will get quattro all-wheel-drive too resulting in slightly better handling and grip. But it isn't necessarily worth the money.

The 2-litre's ride and dynamics will impress you too and it really is an entertaining car to drive.

In short, the new TT gives its driver a confident ride, no matter what your speed, and its agility is better than before too.

Standard equipment

Both models feature leather sport seats as standard and a multi-function steering wheel.

Items such electrically operated windows and side mirrors, climate control air-conditioning, trip computer, remote central locking and a CD-based sound system are all naturally standard.

Safety features include ABS-assisted brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, ESP traction and stability control and six airbags.

In addition, the 3.2 V6 offers bi-Xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and electrically operated front seats.

A full complement of optional extras are available allowing customers to customise there vehicles to the highest level.

The TT coupe range

  • TT 2.0T FSI manual: R352 000
  • TT 2.0T FSI S-tronic: R365 000
  • TT 3.2 V6 quattro manual: R440 000
  • TT 3.2 V6 quattro S-tronic: R453 000

    Price includes a five-year/100 000km Freeway full maintenance plan.


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