While the rest of Team MR were making their journeys back from the bright lights of the Geneva Motor Show last week, I headed to London for the official UK unveiling of the new Audi TT.
But don’t worry – I had by no means drawn the short straw. Indeed, it was a very swanky night. Picked up by my chauffeur in an Audi A8 L (L for long) I headed down to London’s Audi City – a fancy pants dealership opposite the Ritz that uses projectors to configure customers’ cars and show off options without actually having many cars in stock. Space is a little tight in central London, you see.
So what can I tell you about the new Audi TT? Well, it looks a lot like the outgoing model but with an R8-esque front end, but then you probably already knew that. Audi insists it’s a no compromise sports car – we think that means you don’t have to give up your luxury interior to drive a sports car, rather than a Caterham 7 kind of no compromise.
What I’d hoped the evening would provide would be a chance to have a good look over the car. Work out what they’d improved, and what I wasn’t particularly sure about. But, it was impossible to get near the car for celebrities that apparently I should’ve recognised.
The teenage girls gawping through the showroom’s windows told me a few members of X Factor contestants Union J were in attendance, while apparently the lady leaning provocatively on the TT was actress Tuppence (yes, really) Middleton.
Let’s get the rest of the clanging out of the way: also there was Sheridan Smith (her off of soon-to-be-axed BBC Three), Phil Glenister (fire up the Quattro), Darcey Bussell (professional prancer), Anna Friel (erm…), Luke Evans (nope, I don’t know either) and Rory Bremner (him who does the impressions).
At first I started to get a little bit irritated by these so-called celebs pawing the car and stopping me from working out if the 37mm longer wheelbase had provided extra rear legroom, but then I realised, the kind of people who buy the Audi TT are exactly the sort of people who will value the car’s image more than the practicalities.
And, going by its image alone, it could drive like an absolute dog but people will still aspire to own it. As I left the unveiling, a group of tourists walked past. “Oh wow, we’re at Audi!” they exclaimed, ignoring the Ritz across the road or the Bentley Mulsanne driving past. Image is everything, and a miniature, affordable Audi R8 is exactly what a lot of people want.
Rear legroom is still pretty poor, by the way.