With its spirited performance and sleek design, the Audi TT pushes into an elite league of sportscars, writes Alvin Thomas.
The Audi TT has to be one of the most stereotyped sports cars ever built. Debuting almost two decades ago, in 1998, the car quickly became known as the “hairdresser’s car”, owing to its curvaceous looks and its “pretty” physique.
Therefore, there were questions regarding its authenticity as a sports car. Sales figures reflected the statement, too: more than 60 per cent of the car’s initial sales were concentrated in Europe, and only a handful of them ever made it on to the roads of the Sultanate.
However, since the early days, a lot has changed. The second generation of the TT (introduced in 2006) took the market by a storm (and much surprise). Even I wanted one! It looked foxy and it drove like a dream.
However, now the Audi TT is in its third generation and from the looks of it Audi has nailed every single aspect of creating a thoroughbred sports car.
History: check! Gorgeous exterior design: check! Classy interior: check!
For starters, the exterior design of the TT looks like no other TT ever built. It stands lower than the previous generation TT, and possesses a much more aggressive front fascia when compared to its predecessors.
There are no real curves on the body as such. Instead, everything is sharp and angled. Even the LED daytime running lights have a matrix-like chiselled feel to them. Furthermore, there are bold strikes on the bonnet, as well as a hexagonal grille and flared wheel arches to round off the new design language.
My TT Quattro also came with the S Line package, which gave it grippy 48cm rims and the usual S Line and “2.0 TFSI 45” badges around the car. The “45” in the latter reportedly stands for how well the car accelerates so if you see an Audi TT with “60” badges on the boot, it’s best not to challenge the driver to a drag race.
The interior also gets a major overhaul from the previous generation. My Quattro variant looked especially stunning with the jet engine “fin” inspired air-vents with digital screens in the middle.
Inside, I also got leather-wrapped sports seats with excellent bolstering and eight-way seat adjustment, as well as a perfectly sized, thick-rimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel.
I was also treated to a brilliant-sounding Bang & Olufsen stereo system and Audi’s awesome “Virtual Cockpit” in the instrument cluster.
Now, I must also mention that the Audi TT, despite being a sports car and all, is still “technically” a four-seater. Of course, I couldn’t fit myself in the back but I was able to stick my eight-year old sister in there with no worries whatsoever. But things can get a bit claustrophobic back there.
So I politely asked her to leave, and headed to the old, abandoned road that connects Muscat to Yiti. This 11km-long menacing piece of Tarmac has to be one of the most rugged roads that has ever graced the Sultanate. I was not going to let this TT go easy.
So without further ado, I switched the drive selector into “Dynamic” and floored the accelerator. There’s an instant surge in torque (370Nm) from the engine, which powers you from a standstill to a steady 100kph in six-and-a-half seconds.
After that, it’s a constant gush of pure, unadulterated induction power, coming from the 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine. The power figure stands at 230hp but you’d be wrong if you thought it was slow. The engine, coupled with Audi’s outstanding six-speed dual-clutch transmission means you’ll hit your mark every single time.
The steering is also extremely well weighted and precise but because it is electric it lacks any sort of feedback.
But mind you, that doesn’t mean it cannot take corners. The Audi TT munches on corners like nothing else I’ve driven in a long, long time. The car stays absolutely planted to the ground, with only a hint of understeer, even in sudden dips on the road, wherein most cars would simply lose traction and go into a tank-slapper (a quick shun).
This can partly be attributed to Audi’s rear-biased all-wheel drive system (Quattro), and partly to the brilliantly tuned and stiff chassis set-up. Thanks to this layout, the grip I received was also exceptional.
Driving on the old, deformed road in “Dynamic” mode wasn’t as bone-shattering as I expected. The ride is surprisingly smooth, and tolerable – which came as a surprise, considering I was sitting quite low down.
But I decided to have some fun and switched off the ESP (unadvisable).
Suddenly, the Audi TT became something I least expected it to be – a drift machine.
Upon doing this, the car let the rear end slip into the corner, allowing me to project myself into the corner like a racecar driver. But because the system is so clever, it will also save you from going into a long slide.
At the end of the day, I learned that driving the Audi TT was something more than just driving from A to B. It makes driving more thrilling, and above all, it makes you feel special. The Audi TT is a brilliant car, folks! Do I want to buy one? Most definitely!
[styled_box title=”Audi TT S Line” color=”black”]