The third generation Audi TT and TTS are intentionally evocative of the first-generation design classic and enthralls with dramatic design, pronounced dynamics and groundbreaking technology
Wiith its launch of Audi TT and TTS, the automobile company seems to have achieved what not many could – reinvent itself by revisiting its past.
It was in 1995 when Audi presented the first Audi TT as a concept study for a sports car with high everyday practicality. The production model, with its formally coherent design language, was a milestone of innovative automotive design. Its aspiration was clear in the tiniest of details: aluminum elements in the interior, progressive wheel design, a short, spherical gear knob and round, closely spaced tailpipes.
In 2006, the second generation of the successful sports car followed. Its design was more tightly integrated into the Audi design language.
And now, with the third generation of Audi TT, groundbreaking technologies such as Audi Space Frame (ASF) lightweight construction, TFSI engines and the sonorous five-cylinder engine take the ride to a completely different level.
Sportier, dynamic and more innovative than its predecessors, what stands out with the new TT and TTS, is indeed the design. Though compact, the coupé is 4.18 metres long with a wheelbase of 2.51 metres and correspondingly short overhangs. The single frame grille is broad and flat; struts structure the interconnected air intakes. The optional full LED headlights are also structured with dividing struts, which constitute the LED daytime running lights.
Artistically carving steel and aluminum, the new models use an advanced version of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The idea is to synchronise when needed – the electrohydraulic, multi-plate clutch sends the power to the front wheels during normal driving, but can divert power to the rear wheels virtually instantaneously.
With a McPherson front suspension, the rack of the standard progressive steering is designed such that the ratio becomes more direct with increasing steering input. The four-link rear suspension can process the longitudinal and transverse forces separately.
Complete with its elaborate chassis and firm setup, the new models offer highly precise handling. If the customer chooses the TTS, the S line sport package or Audi magnetic ride, the body is lowered by ten millimetres. The TT 45 TFSI rolls on 18-inch wheels and 245/40 tyres. The TTS comes with 18-inch wheels and 245/45 tyres. Wheels sizes up to 20 inches are available as options.
The vented front brake discs measure between 312 and 338 millimetres in diameter depending on the engine version. The electromechanical parking brake acts on the rear wheels. The TTS is equipped up front with newly developed, particularly lightweight aluminum fixed-caliper brakes.
The interiors have a touch of class, custom-made keeping the comforts of the driver. All control elements are grouped around the driver. It also has a virtual cockpit – a fully digital instrument cluster with highly detailed, versatile graphics – which replaces the analog instruments and Multi Media Interface (MMI) monitor.
The driver can switch the 30 cm, all-digital display between two different view modes. The MMI control element, which is also new, has just six physical buttons. In combination with MMI navigation plus, it includes the MMI smart touch wheel – the touchpad on the top of the rotary pushbutton – with which the driver can do such things as zoom on the navigation map and enter characters. The menu structure was inspired by a smartphone and includes a search function. All key functions can be reached with just a few clicks, and the buttons on the side provide access to intelligently linked functions and options.
An example of the high standards to which the premium brand aspires with respect to the function, design and workmanship of all cabin components is the air vent, which houses the controls for automatic air conditioning system. The controls for the recirculation mode, temperature, air flow distribution and air flow strength are located on their axes.
Audi has also gone ahead experimenting with seating. Featuring low-mounted sport seats which together weigh five kilograms less than the seats in the previous model, the cars offers the option of S sport seats with integrated head restraints and deeply sculpted, pneumatically adjustable side bolsters.
Generous in incorporating standard equipment such as cruise control and electrically adjustable front seats, the cars also offer driver assistance systems like standard park assist with 360 degree display and rear view camera to the optional Audi side assist or Audi active lane assist.
Even though it is intended to be a sport car, the 2+2-seat TT has been designed with a high degree of everyday practicality. The luggage compartment beneath the long rear hatch offers a capacity of 305 litres, 13 litres more than in the previous model.
With its flair for luxury, a pursuit for speed and an unquenchable thirst to offer comfort while on the road, Audi seems to have created another masterpiece, which after many years, will surely be revisited when it is time for reinvention.