Tourist Trophy – that’s what TT stands for. Named after the Tourist Trophy race on the Isle of Man – the most notorious and dangerous motorcycle race in the world – the Audi TT evidently has its heritage aligned with the famous motorcycle race. But why? The answer is simple. DKV and NSU, predecessors to the company we now know as Audi, had a huge tradition racing the Isle of Man TT.
We were welcomed by Audi to see the new 2015 Audi TT, discover the changes and talk to the design and development team. Dr. Horst Glaser, Audi’s head of development for dynamics, told us that the new TT is “evolution and revolution”, is that true?
The evolutionary part of the TT is said to be the design, which is pretty self evident. Audi calls the first generation TT a design icon. Its a car you look at and instantly recognise as an Audi TT. A decision has therefore been taken by Audi to continue down an evolutionary route, allowing each consecutive generation of the TT to trace back to its roots.
The best example of that philosophy is of course, the Porsche 911. The new Audi TT looks more masculine, more aggressive and more sporty than its predecessors. The front now has a very wide and low six angle single-frame grill in combination with aggressive looking air intakes.
The headlights have a new character too. They are, in combination with the optional LED technology, one of the exterior highlights of the car. The LED headlights have two horizontal lines and a vertical crossing line, which form the daytime running lights.
The optional Matrix-LED headlights are also revolutionary within the segment. With twelve LED’s on each side, the car scans for oncoming traffic and in full beam mode the system turns off those LED that could glare the oncoming traffic. But the other LEDs stay in full beam mode to guarantee the driver a better view and therefore much higher levels of safety. We tested that feature and it performed pretty well.
The Audi logo is now mounted onto the hood, in a similar fashion to the range topping Audi R8. The lines towards the rear of the car haven’t changed a lot compared to the second generation. The rear lights now also have a daytime running function available in conjunction with the LED headlights. They are a bit smaller now and the whole rear looks more fitting than on the generations before.
For the standard version, the exhaust pipes are more central now. This harks back to the design features of the first generation. The TTS will retain the trademark quad pipes mounted at each edge of the bumper. The Audi TT is a centimeter shorter now, but the wheelbase increased by four centimeters which is said to result in better handling.
The revolution part is said to be found within the interior and yes, it’s very different! The MMI – Multi Media Interface – now places all the information behind the steering wheel. The 12,3 inch display has a resolution of 1.440×540 and is powered by a nvidia t30-quadcore cpu. The aim is to present the driver all necessary information without having to moving the head to the center console.
The MMI can be controlled via the steering wheel. The driver can chose between two display settings. The normal mode is much the same as we know from other cars. Two round circles show rpm, speed and infotainment. In infotainment mode, the rpm and speed circles are smaller and the infotainment uses the whole rest of the display. The TTS additionally offers a display mode with centered rpm, to underline its sportscar character and for those who drive it sporty.
Those that use the internet, can enjoy a superfast LTE connection and can use navigation targets with google earth and streetview. On the center console are the usual quick access buttons for nav, media etc. The center console MMI knob has a new touch screen interface which handles like a smartphone. Zoom with two fingers, scroll or write a few letters and the MMI search engine offers you what it finds.
The centre console air condition control units are also gone. You’ll find the controls now separated in the turbine looking air vents. The new sport seats in the Audi TT are not only 5 kilograms lighter, the driver also sits lower in the car. This gives it a sportier feel whilst also making it more comfortable for tall persons.
Every eighth Audi TT is a TTS, that’s why Audi decided to offer the TTS now from the beginning. The TTS has a power output of 310 bhp from a 2.0 four cylinder engine with a maximum torque of 380 NM. The new TTS has more power and is lighter, as such, it sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds and hits the electronic limiter at 250 km/h.
Those that prefer a normal Audi TT over the TTS, can chose between a 2.0 diesel engine with 184 bhp and a 2.0 petrol engine with 230 bhp. Due to its weight loss of 50 kilograms compared to the predecessor, the 230 bhp TT weights only 1,230 kilograms and sprints to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds!
We doubt that Audi will offer the TT with a natural aspired 6 cylinder engine, as the space for engine and gearbox seems too small and such a gas guzzling engine doesn’t fit with the downsizing portfolio. But there’s no doubt that Audi will bring back the TT RS with the lovely 5 cylinder engine! Unfortunately don’t expect the RS before 2016/2017.
We enjoyed our first detailed view on the new Audi TT and TTS. The car looks more grown up, more masculine and offers a lot of extra options for its segment, especially those that increase safety. We cant wait to test its sportscar capabilities!