20 years of TT

This is how Audi celebrated the TT’s 20th birthday

20 years of TT

“Has it really been 20 years?” is what we’re all asking – even the men behind the car, we suspect. Yes, the Audi TT,  the car that spearheaded Audi’s post-millennium slingshot to superstardom, is now 20 years old.

To mark the occasion, Audi has released a TT 20 Years special edition, and given the whole third-generation TT range a freshen-up.

Audi TT 20 Years

20 years of TT

First, that special edition. The TT 20 Years does what it says on the tin. A total of 999 examples will be built to commemorate two decades of the model being in production.

It features fine Nappa leather in moccasin brown with specific Panuka contrast stitching – a curious callback to interior colour combinations seen on very early cars.

Stainless pipes, and badges on the steering wheel, gear lever and bodywork tell everyone it’s a 20 Years model. Arrow and Nano grey paint finishes are available for either coupe or roadster versions.

The best of the rest

20 years of TT

The rest of the range gets significant upgrades too, with relatively major power increases featuring on what is a minor facelift. The 1.8-litre 180hp TFSI is being replaced with a 197hp 2.0-litre unit, while the existing 230hp 2.0-litre gets boosted to 245hp.

Both models are now categorised under the new Audi model structure – ’40 TFSI’ and ’45 TFSI’ respectively.

TTS models lose 4hp, going from 310 to 306, thanks to the addition of new Petrol Particulate Filters (OPF). The performance of facelift models does improve in spite of the power loss, however, with 0-62mph times reducing by 0.1 of a second for both the coupe and roadster – 4.5 and 4.8 seconds respectively.

Sport display for Virtual Cockpit

20 years of TT

Inside, the Audi Virtual Cockpit gets a minor update, with a Sport display giving information on power, torque and G forces.

S Line models and above receive more supportive Super Sports seats, with Black Edition cars getting piano black inlays and a new slate-grey chrome finish for parts of the interior trim.

It’s still a looker

S Line models get a new, more defined, splitter and the OLED rear lights are no longer the preserve of the TT RS. Oddly, for Audi, the lights at the front haven’t changed, although the bumpers have got a bit of a nip-and-tuck, with exaggerated vent elements and a new three-dimensional grille design.

All models benefit from new wheel options because nothing is fresher than new footwear. As with big brother TT RS and R8 V10 Plus, the TTS now comes with a fixed rear wing, courtesy of the TT RS (in place of the active retractable item previously standard).

All in, it’s a pleasing if incremental update for the TT range, with the 20 Years special edition being an appealing nod to the model’s heritage.

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Audi TT Quattro Sport

Driving four modern classics that made Audi great

Audi TT Quattro Sport

Audi made some of Europe’s most glamorous cars in the 1930s, but faltered in the post-war years and merged with Volkswagen in 1964. The models that followed were, in some cases, little more than rebadged VWs, and Audi had a middle-of-the road image, lacking the sporting pedigree of BMW or upmarket kudos of Mercedes-Benz.

What a difference a few decades makes. Today, Audi is one of motoring’s most-wanted brands, its cars both exceedingly popular and emphatically premium. So, what’s changed? There’s been some clever brand-building, for sure, but the roots of Audi’s renaissance lie in its products.

We cherry-picked four modern classic Audis from the company’s fantastic heritage fleet: the TT Quattro Sport, R8 LMX, Cabriolet and A1 Quattro. Each one is a significant part of the recent Audi story, yet all are decidedly different. Here’s why they matter.

Audi TT Quattro Sport

Audi TT Quattro Sport

“Fire up the… oh, hang on.” This isn’t that red Quattro, but it’s very nearly as cool. The limited-edition Quattro Sport was the last hurrah for the Mk1 TT. Now a sought-after cult classic, just 800 were sold in the UK.

This first TT is still a fabulous piece of design: a rare example of a production car looking better than the concept. Launched in 2005, the Quattro Sport has an S Line bodykit, contrasting black roof, black tailpipes, bespoke 18-inch alloys and red brake calipers. Inside, Alcantara swathes the steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake, hard-shell Recaros were optional and the – virtually useless – rear seats were binned, replaced by a strut brace and luggage net. Total weight saving is 49kg.

There’s more power, too: the familiar 1.8-litre turbocharged engine gains 15hp for a 240hp total. Driving all four wheels via a six-speed manual ’box, it hits 62mph in a swift 5.9 seconds – 0.3sec quicker than the flagship TT 3.2 V6. Stiffer S line supension and a relocated battery (now in the boot) sharpen up the chassis.

On the road, the Quattro Sport is agile and engaging, with lively steering, a snappy gearshift and confidence-inspiring brakes. It feels more akin to one of today’s 4WD hot hatches than a traditional rear-drive sports car, offering formidable point-and-squirt pace.

Ultimately, a Porsche Cayman delivers a purer driving experience, but the Audi is rarer and feels more exotic. Be quick, though: the Quattro Sport is the most desirable Mk1 TT and values are on the up. Expect to pay £5,500 for a high-miler, rising to around £13,000 for the best of the breed.

Audi R8 LMX

The 2006 R8 was Audi’s answer to the Porsche 911 and, in 550hp V10 guise, arguably Ingolstadt’s first supercar. This R8 is one of the crown jewels of Audi UK’s heritage fleet: a 570hp R8 LMX – number 23 of 99 made.

Like the TT Quattro Sport, the 2015 LMX is a run-out special edition. Costing a hefty £160,025 when new, it came with every virtually option available, including carbon-ceramic brakes, Bang and Olufsen audio and quilted Alcantara headlining. Most were painted Ara Blue, with a front splitter and fixed rear wing in bare carbon fibre.

The LMX also boasted ground-breaking new laser headlights – the first production car to offer this technology as standard. They deliver searing white light and a 600-metre range on high beam: around twice that of LED lamps. A camera system dips the lights automatically when it detects oncoming cars.

Our test-drive was conducted in glorious sunshine, so the LMX’s lasers were somewhat redundant. Fortunately, I made full use of its snarling, naturally-aspirated V10. Revving to 8,500rpm, this remains one of the great modern engines: fantastically responsive and brutally rapid (0-62mph in 3.4sec and 198mph). My only wish was for an open-gate manual gearbox, instead of the paddleshift auto fitted here.

The R8 has already joined the super-sports establishment, and the achingly desirable LMX is the original car at its zenith. Finding one will be a challenge, but the good news is that V8-engined R8s now start from £35,000. That’s a seriously special car for the price of an optioned-up Golf R. Tempted?

Audi Cabriolet

Discussing the Audi Cabriolet without mentioning Princess Diana is like talking about the Reliant Scimitar without mentioning Princess Anne. It simply can’t be done.

Diana’s decision to drive a German car was controversial at the time (what was wrong with a Rover 800?), but it gave the Cabriolet a huge boost. In 1994, sales nearly doubled after Diana was repeatedly photographed by the paparazzi, sometimes with the roof down and the young princes in the back. Inadvertently, she thrust Audi into public consciousness, and helped build the aspirational, upmarket brand we know today.

Many of the cars on Audi’s 50-strong heritage fleet are scarcely run-in, but this 1995 Cabriolet has 152,000 miles under its wheels. Thankfully, it still feels utterly rock-solid: clichéd ‘Teutonic build quality’ present and correct – even if Milton Keynes’ many roundabouts reveal some chassis-flex when cornering.

Indeed, despite its 150hp 2.6-litre V6, the Audi doesn’t like to be rushed. Throttle response is wooly, the steering feels vague and 0-62mph takes a leisurely 10.2 seconds. Better to retract the electric hood, recline the supportive seat and bask in the admiration of onlookers. Two decades on, this is still a great-looking car.

More than simply a footnote in Audi history, the Cabriolet hasn’t yet graduated to classic status – and that means they’re still very affordable. A good one will cost £2,500, while even the best examples are less than £5,000.

Audi A1 Quattro

Audi A1 Quattro

Coolest alloy wheels ever? The rally-style turbines on the 2012 A1 Quattro are certainly in with a shout. This one-of-333 supermini also packs a 256hp punch, with a manual gearbox and, naturally, Quattro four-wheel drive. Even the 231hp S1, launched in 2015, can’t top that.

The A1 Quattro has its steering wheel on the wrong side and cost a wallet-wilting £41,020 when new. No wonder Audi only sold 19 in the UK. Today, however, such rarity is key to the car’s appeal; only the cognoscenti realise what it is. It’s also the reason that A1 Quattros simply haven’t depreciated. Assuming you can find one, expect to pay near-as-dammit list price.

In terms of oily bits, the uber-A1 is essentially an S3, with a 2.0-litre TFSI engine that delivers 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and 152mph flat-out. Audi ditched the A1’s torsion beam rear suspension for the S3’s four-link axle, making substantial modifications to the floorpan and fitting a new, saddle-style fuel tank. Standard equipment was comprehensive, including leather trim, sat nav and a Bose audio system.

Unsurprisingly, the A1 is fiercely quick across-country. A neutral and forgiving chassis, combined with limpet-like grip and Quattro traction, means you can take huge liberties with cornering speeds. The engine is obviously turbocharged (it doesn’t fully wake up until nigh-on 4,000rpm), but there’s much fun to be had in riding that wave of boost. Shame the suspension is too stiff for broken British B-roads.

For most, the S1 is a far better option: cheaper, more comfortable and almost as quick. But the A1 Quattro showed Audi could do limited-run, hardcore hot hatches just as well as parent-company Volkswagen. It’s not a rational purchase, but the most interesting cars rarely are.

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2017 Audi TT RS

2017 Audi TT RS review: flat-out in the junior R8

2017 Audi TT RSLet’s start with a stat: the new Audi TT RS hits 62mph from standstill in 3.7 seconds. That’s quicker than a Ferrari F40, Porsche 959 or Jaguar XJ220. Indeed, the RS can show a clean pair of Michelins to most supercars built before the millennium. It’s also just 0.2 seconds slower than Audi’s flagship R8.

A bona fide baby R8?2017 Audi TT RS

The formula for such savage speed is simple: more power, less weight and, of course, Quattro four-wheel drive. But faster doesn’t always equal more fun, especially when it comes to hot Audis. Is the TT RS a bona fide baby R8, or just a seriously hot hatch? We drove it on-track, then on challenging mountain roads, to find out.

Pricier than Porsche2017 Audi TT RS

You can order a TT RS from late September, with first deliveries due in November. List price for the Coupe is £51,800, while the Roadster is £53,350. That’s pricier than an equivalent Porsche Cayman S or Boxster S, but still less than half as much as big-brother R8. However, this being an Audi, you’ll probably want to set aside at least £5k for extra-cost options.

Power to the people2017 Audi TT RS

In terms of performance-per-pound, though, the TT looks solid value. Its 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine pumps out 400hp and 354lb ft of torque: more than even the hottest hatchbacks the 350hp Ford Focus RS, 381hp Mercedes-AMG A45 and Audi’s own 367hp RS3 included. It also outguns the aforementioned Boxster/Cayman (350hp) and the outgoing TT RS (360hp).

Rollercoaster racetrack2017 Audi TT RS

We start our test-drive at Jarama, a fabulous rollercoaster of a racetrack just outside Madrid. Used for Formula One until 1981, it offers a stomach-churning blend of blind apexes, off-camber corners and (gulp) short run-offs. It’s the perfect place to put the TT RS through its paces.

Ready for launch2017 Audi TT RS

First, though, we line up to try the Launch Control the easiest way to achieve that headline 3.7sec sprint to 62mph. And it really couldn’t be easier: floor the right pedal, left foot off the brake and wham! the RS rockets down the main straight. It clouts you in the back and strains your neck muscles; the sheer ferocity of its acceleration is startling. God only knows what these full-bore starts do to the clutch.

Straight-line speed2017 Audi TT RS

Still, there’s more to life than straight-line speed. And if the TT RS is truly the pint-size R8 we’re hoping for, it needs to be just as fleet-footed in the corners. Good thing we’re on a racetrack, then.

Keeping it wheel2017 Audi TT RS

One immediate similarity with the R8 is the new steering wheel. Compact, flat-bottomed and Alcantara-wrapped, it adds an authentic motorsport feel particularly with the new ‘satellite’ buttons for engine start/stop and switching drive modes. Shame you can’t have a manual gearbox as well; the RS comes with a seven-speed S tronic semi-automatic only.

Get a grip2017 Audi TT RS

Heading into turn one a hairpin right-hander the Audi’s steering feels light and responsive. There’s barely any body-roll as the front tyres bite and Quattro four-wheel traction catapults us towards the next corner. Scything effortlessly through a tightening corkscrew, then a flat-out, uphill left-hander, the RS feels utterly planted. It simply grips and goes.

Shift into neutral2017 Audi TT RS

As our confidence grows, we push harder, but the TT RS stubbornly refuses to be provoked. Even as grip turns to slip, it remains remarkably neutral. The juddering understeer of Audis past is just that: a thing of the past.

Scorched tyres, baked brakes2017 Audi TT RS

We return to the pitlane with the smell of scorched rubber seeping through the air vents and smoke pouring off the (optional) ceramic front brake discs. Clearly, the TT RS is an easy car to drive very fast. But it’s almost too capable on-track, lacking the poise and throttle-adjustability of a good rear-driver. Perhaps it will be more rewarding on the road.

Going topless2017 Audi TT RS

We swap into a Roadster for a drive into the Iberian countryside. The drop-top is 0.2sec slower to 62mph than the Coupe, but the chance to soak up some Spanish sun seems ample compensation. Besides, the TT RS looks even better with no roof. Hawkish headlights and a gaping grille with ‘Quattro’ lettering provide plenty of rear-view-mirror presence, while twin tailpipes and a fixed rear wing beef up the back end.

Cabin fever2017 Audi TT RS

The TT’s exterior is simply an amuse bouche before the main course of its cabin, however. Stylish, ergonomically excellent and beautifully built, it’s one of the finest interiors of any car on sale. The centrepiece is Audi’s digital ‘Virtual Cockpit’, which takes the place of traditional dials behind the steering wheel. Standard-fit on the TT, the RS has an additional screen with a central rev counter and readouts for torque, tyre pressures, G-forces and other such geekery.

Cramped in the back2017 Audi TT RS

You also get Audi’s excellent MMI Navigation system, subtle LED interior lighting and gorgeous quilted leather sports seats. Not that these offer much comfort if you’re seated in the rear. If you thought a Porsche 911 felt cramped, this is the next level of back-bending, neck-cricking claustrophobia. Our advice: consider the back seats a useful extension of the boot.

Playing the long game2017 Audi TT RS

Talking practicality, we should also mention fuel economy: a claimed 34.4 mpg for the Coupe, with CO2 emissions of 187g/km (Roadster: 34.0mpg and 189g/km). Hardly ground-breaking figures, but at least strong residual values – 43% of list price retained after three years/60,000 miles, according to CAP – keep overall running costs down.

Filth and the fury2017 Audi TT RS

We press the red start button and the TT’s five-cylinder engine – an Audi RS trademark dating back to the original 1994 RS2 – erupts into life. Its pulsating growl, which swells into a hard-edged snarl as the revs rise, is amplified by the lack of a roof. With the exhaust in sport mode, it sounds downright filthy.

Jolts and jitters2017 Audi TT RS

Leaving Jarama, the TS RS jolts over speed humps and jitters across broken Tarmac. The optional 20-inch wheels on our test car doubtless don’t help (19s are standard), but there’s no escaping that firm, borderline-uncomfortable ride.

Explosive performance2017 Audi TT RS

The pay-off comes as we head into the hills, switching Drive Select to Dynamic and changing gear manually using the paddles behind the wheel. On sinuous switchbacks that snake through rock-strewn valleys, the uber-TT feels in its element. Magnetic Ride adaptive dampers (another option, naturally) hunker it down deliciously, before another huge slug of turbocharged torque blasts us between the bends. It’s deft and controlled, yet utterly explosive.

Redeemed on the road2017 Audi TT RS

Phew. With exhausts ticking furiously in the heat, we park the TT RS back at Jarama and reluctantly return the keys. After a slightly underwhelming session on-track, the Audi has redeemed itself on the road. Where some RS-badged Audis – latest RS3 included – feel aloof, the TT RS comes alive. It’s a car you’ll genuinely enjoy driving, over and over again.

Porsche is our pick2017 Audi TT RS

However, there is a hulking Porsche-shaped elephant in the room, and its name is 718 Boxster/Cayman. We spent a week with a Cayman S shortly before the TT launch and there’s no question which German sports car we’d spend our (sadly, theoretical) £50k on. Despite reservations about its new, four-cylinder engine, the Porsche is a simpler, purer sports car – and all the better for that.

A kind of magic2017 Audi TT RS

Not convinced? We can agree to disagree. After all, the Audi is quicker, more powerful, better looking, nicer to sit in and will be more exclusive. It even has rear seats… sort of. But in those rare moments when the traffic clears, your focus sharpens and the road becomes a ribbon to be reeled-in, the Audi is merely memorable. The Porsche? It’s magic.


MPG Marathon 2015 in an Audi TT TDI: LIVE

Audi TT TDIThe timing couldn’t be better. Just over week after #dieselgate kicked off, here we are about to drive 370 miles on the MPG Marathon 2015 to see what sort of economy we can achieve in the real world.

And we’re doing it in an Audi TT TDI. Yes, an Audi TDI. But don’t worry. This one’s Euro 6-compliant. That means it’s unaffected by the diesel software scandal (so there’s no risk of our result being protested).

This year, things are centred around the rather wonderful Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire. Today, we’re doing a southwards loop, tomorrow it’s a westwards one. The tank is sealed and we have an in-car tracker, plus a strict set of waypoints to visit and timed checkpoints to hit.

The average must be 30mph; any slower and we’re penalised. So we can’t creep around at 19mph trying to eek out the miles. With a mix of roads from A to B to M, it is indeed pretty real-world.

The briefing’s just about to kick off and we’ll be liveblogging from the TT’s passenger seat when we’re not driving. Dieselgate has many people asking the question, so we’re here to provide an answer: just what mpg can you get from a VW Group 2.0-litre TDI..?

Day 1: overnighter

We *just* missed out on going to bed with a ‘7’ in our heads. As we pulled into the car park, 70.1 clicked back to 69.9. Which means tomorrow’s drive downhill to the main road is going to be the most eco drive ever seen on the MPG Marathon.

Otherwise, it’s continued to be easy. Grippy tyres and roll-free suspension mean brakes are entirely optional; more importantly, looking way ahead means they’re not even necessary when junctions, red lights and traffic appear.

But it’s getting competitive. Paul’s been staring at the MPG readout continually and I’ve been trying to do all I can to push up the economy.

Light weight helps, natch: and the car had two big bottles of water. So I downed ’em. That’s at least a kilo we don’t have to drag uphill, right?

Day 1: lunchtime

Audi TT eco day 1 01

First leg done, and the most eventful part was trying to work out how to use the sat nav, how to reset the trip computer, how to find the odo, how to tune in 6Music. The in-dials display looks lovely, but isn’t the most intuitive of things to use.

Eventually, we got underway, for an easygoing combination of 50mph cruising and trying to lose as little speed as possible at roundabouts. TTs grip well. TT TDIs build momentum willingly as well – too willingly, so the need to ease back on hills makes it painfully frustrating at times.

Now we’re underway again, and I’m blogging from the passenger seat. Paul is the lead sponsor and is currently experiencing all this. Never has a TT been driven with more restraint.

MPG Marathon 2015 on Twitter

MPG MARATHON 2015 entry_list

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015

Hot 600hp Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept for Worthersee 2015

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015Audi will showcase a radical 600hp TT Clubsport turbo concept at the Worthersee tuner festival this week – and says the 192mph supercar-fast TT packs electric biturbo tech is “close to production readiness”.

The super-fast TT, which can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds, has an electrically-driven turbo that responds far faster than normal turbos. It can also supply power for much longer, and can generate much higher turbo boost.

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015

It’s powered by a dedicated 48-volt electrical system, powered by a lithium ion battery in the boot.

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015

Audi says the result is 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine that “builds up its tremendous power without any perfectible delay”.

In a race against a TT with a similarly radical 600hp 2.5-litre engine but no electric biturbo, the TT Clubsport turbo “effortlessly pulls away”.

The effect is particularly pronounced off the line. Because turbo boost is there right away, Audi says the TT Clubsport turbo can cover 16 metres in 2.5 seconds – six metres (or one and a half car lengths) more than a regular car.

Such acceleration is achieved using a regular six-speed manual gearbox too (presumably Audi’s automatics and DSGs can’t handle the power of this mighty motor). How fast would it be with the fast-shifting DSG then..?

Prodigious torque of 479lb ft spread from between 3,000-7,000rpm also helps the car’s response. Audi is the first car maker in the world to pack an electric turbocharger into a direct-injection fuel injected petrol car – surely it’s not far off production?

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept: no missing it

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015

The TT Clubsport turbo concept is a full 140mm wider than a regular TT, thanks to radical front and rear wings that are open to improve airflow and brake cooling. There’s a massive manually-adjustable rear wing taken from Audi Sport TT Cup racers and, like various other aero parts, is made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer.

There are 20-inch alloys too, which, like the rest of the car, have been styled to reference Audi’s monster 90 IMSA GTO race cars of the 1980s. quattro all-wheel drive, adjustible coilover suspension and side-exit exhausts complete the race car credentials.

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015

Inside, the interior has been fully stripped out and encased within an ultra high strength titanium cage. Weight savings are achieved by extensive use of CFRP and even the door pulls have been minimised down to mere grips.

Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept Worthersee 2015

The Audi TT Clubsport turbo concept will be the star of the brand’s Wortherseee 2015 show stand: it’s an event held in Austria dedicated to Volkswagen Group enthusiasts – come back to Motoring Research later in the week for more from Worthersee 2015.

Audi TT Euro NCAP

Audi TT scores four stars in Euro NCAP crash test

Audi TT Euro NCAPThe 2015 Audi TT has scored a four-star rating in the first Euro NCAP crash tests of 2015 – one star less than buyers have become used to. Read more

Audi TT 2015 review

Audi TT Coupe review: 2015 First Drive

Audi TT 2015 review The new 2015 Audi TT Coupe doesn’t surprise but does satisfy – and the all-new interior sets a new standard for the class. Read more

Audi TT 2014

New Audi TT prices revealed: entry point up to almost £30,000  

Audi TT 2014Audi has revealed prices for the new TT Coupe range, which is now available to order in UK dealers – and they show the range now only just creeps under the £30,000 mark. Read more

Audi TT Geneva Motor Show 2014

Audi TT is most mentioned model of Geneva Motor Show 2014

Audi TT Geneva Motor Show 2014Audi has beaten supercar brands Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini to scoop the prize of most talked about car at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

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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.

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