Audi TT Coupe (2014 - ) review
Read the Audi TT Coupe (2014 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives
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The original Audi TT made its name on its ground-breaking design, so it’s perhaps a little surprising that the latest TT looks quite a lot like the Mk2 car it replaced. The relationship is particularly evident in the profile and the rear end. However derivative the styling, though, the TT is still a great-looking car, with lots of sharp-edged details to complement the flowing lines and prestige badge. All models get alloy wheels, a retractable rear spoiler, twin exhausts and xenon headlamps with LED running lights as standard, while sportier S line models have bigger wheels, sportier bumpers and skirts, plus swooshy LED indicators that look really cool. The top-of-the-range Black Edition adds an extra-snazzy alloy wheel design and privacy glass, as well as black highlights to the grille, bumpers and door mirrors.
You’d expect any Audi, especially a posh one like the TT, to deliver a very plush interior. It doesn’t disappoint, either. The materials and the fit and finish are simply gorgeous, giving the cabin just as much glamour as the outside. It has a very high-tech feel as well, with air-con dials built into the air vents, and a huge digital display behind the steering wheel that displays all the infotainment menus as well as the regular instruments. However, while it’s great to look at thanks to sharp graphics, it’s not so great to use due to confusing menus and an operating system that’s not very intuitive. That said, the low-slung driving position is spot on and has plenty of adjustment, and all-round visibility is pretty good.
A sports coupe is never going to be the last word in practicality, and that’s certainly the case with the TT, but it doesn’t do the job any worse than rivals such as the Peugeot RCZ and Toyota GT86. The rear seats are so tight on head- and legroom that only small children will fit, and even then, they’ll struggle to find any room to put their feet. You’re better off viewing your car as a two-seater, and folding down the rear chairs to extend the TT’s already surprisingly generous 305-litre boot to an even more generous 712 litres. The space is a usefully square shape, too, even if it is rather shallow.
Ride and handling
Audi calls the TT a sports coupe, and luckily, it has the dynamic ability to back that up. With strong grip, taut body control and fast, predictable reactions from the steering, gearshift and throttle, the TT feels excitingly nimble in a set of bends. And that’s the front-wheel-drive cars. Some versions are available with four-wheel drive (and a twin-clutch gearbox), giving you even more traction out of bends. But to be honest, they’re no more enjoyable to drive, and we’d save the extra cash they cost. All the conventional TTs also deliver a ride that’s impressively slick and smooth, and the lowered sports suspension that’s standard on S-Line and Black Edition models manages to increase the stiffness and cornering ability while stopping short of being crashy over rough surfaces. The sportier TTS isn’t anywhere near as smooth as the conventional cars, but we think that it’ll be comfy enough for the hardcore buyers it’ll appeal to. That said, it’s neither as fun, nor as comfortable, as a Porsche Cayman, which costs about the same. However, for properly scorching performance, the hardcore TT RS is well worth checking out, and we have a separate review of it here.
For the moment, all TTs are powered by 2.0-litre turbocharged engines, apart from the TT RS. The 227bhp petrol gives all the performance most buyers could ever want, accelerating from 0-62mph in just six seconds, and displaying impressive punch from anywhere in the rev range. The 181bhp diesel is no slouch, either, with an acceleration figure of 7.1 seconds, and it feels almost as flexible as the petrol. What’s more, it delivers incredible economy and emissions for a car like this. The TTS version, with 306bhp, is properly fast. However, when the less exotic versions are so quick already, we feel that spending the extra on the TTS is a needless frippery.
The TT costs a fair bit more to buy than rivals such as the Peugeot RCZ, Toyota GT86 and Mini Coupe. However, it also delivers more than those cars in terms of fun, comfort, quality and desirability, so we think it’s easily worth the extra. The TT also has super-strong resale values in its favour, which will trim the cost of long-term ownership. Your other running costs should be manageable, too. The diesel is particularly impressive, because even with its prodigious power output, it returns an official average of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 110g/km. This makes it very affordable to run if you’re lucky enough to have this car included on your company car list. The 2.0-litre petrol doesn’t do badly on fuel and CO2, either, with figures of 47.9mpg and 137g/km (these figures are obviously worse for the Quattro versions – another reason to stick with front-wheel drive).
According to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, Audi’s reputation for reliability isn’t an enviable one. The brand languishes near the bottom of the manufacturer standings, and the previous TT wasn’t one of the company’s better performers. However, other reliability surveys place the brand, and the TT, rather higher, and most of the engines and parts are used in countless other Volkswagen-Group models.
Stability control is provided across the range, as are four airbags. It’s not a particularly impressive specification, but it’s pretty much par for the course in this class. During Euro NCAP crash tests the TT received a four star rating - partly because the tests are now tougher than they used to be, and also because Audi does not offer automatic emergency braking on every model in the range. Even so, it did do well for both adult and pedestrian protection, scoring 81 and 81 per cent respectively in these key areas.
Sport trim forms the entry point into TT ownership, and these versions come with decent kit as standard. Bluetooth, air-conditioning, part-leather upholstery, keyless go, Audi Drive Select (which varies things like steering weight and throttle response according to the driving mode you select) and the all-singing multimedia interface are all included. S line cars come with cosmetic upgrades inside and out, but not much in the way of other extra kit; automatic lights and wipers, but that’s about it. Black Edition cars add an upgraded Bang and Olufsen sound system.
If you want a small coupe that’s fun and comfortable to drive, dripping with quality and desirability, and that’s still affordable to run, then the TT is it. No other car does the job better. Sure, it’s not the cheapest option, or the most practical, but it’s still our favourite car of its type.