Audi TT

Launch Pad: Audi TT

Audi TTThe Audi TT was, according to researchers, THE most talked about car at the recent Geneva Motor Show. More people were chatting about it than any other headline-grabber at the show.

Which some will find surprising. After all, isn’t it just another Audi TT, one that’s a stylistic evolution of the old one: the same, but a bit better?

Well, maybe. And why not. Because car buyers love the TT. It genuinely is a brand-defining model for the firm that has done more than any other Audi to define the firm as the leading edge car company it is today. Not for nothing do hugely respected car designers such as Jaguar’s Ian Callum list it as one of the rival cars they’d loved to have designed.

And so we get the thorny old question of evolution: Audi would be mad to stray too far away from this, but how do you launch it to the hard-nosed motoring press and industry without our first impressions being of, um, the same but better?

Well, straight after the show, you fly us out to Munich for a one-day in-depth tech briefing of all things Audi TT technology, design and innovation. And that’s how I find myself sat in Heathrow T5 reading through a 35-page Audi TT model summary.

If Dr. Hackenberg says it’s a step on…

Audi’s hugely respected technical development director Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg opens the briefing by, in his typically grounded way, tacitly admitting the design is synonymous with TT. But the added extras he alludes to are focused on technology – the sort of stuff customers “would expect from a real sports car”.

This is interesting. Is Audi turning the new TT into a mini R8, instead of the slightly hairdressery machine the current car has, for all the snarly TT RS versions, become?

It’s certainly carrying some supercaresque chassis engineering. TTS and S line Sports Package cars have Audi Magnetic Ride suspension; there’s a high mix of aluminium in the suspension; the body is an Audi Space Frame mixed steel and aluminium mix; the lightest 2.0 TFSI weighs just 1,230kg (for a modern car of this sophistication, that’s light).

That TTS also sounds like a proper job, even down to a bespoke set of lightweight aluminium fixed caliper front brakes – should help slow down its 310hp 2.0-litre TFSI quite nicely (and the 0-62mph time, in cars with S tronic dual-clutch auto, of 4.7 seconds sounds like it’s approaching supercar levels too).

All very promising, then. Far more than an Audi A3 in a 2+2 bodyshell. As for the design, well, I’ll report back through the day. Certainly, it’ll be nice to spend time with it, getting to understand it, rather than try to catch a clean gaze on a motor show stand before being elbowed out the way by people with tape measures taking pictures of the bonnet interaction point on the front wing (admittedly, it is clever).

Oh, how those industry ‘analysts’ from rival brands would love to be doing what I’m attending today…

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