A cult car, an icon - the Audi TT, launched in the autumn of 1998 - took the sports coupe segment by storm and sharpened the brand profile. Now the second generation of this successful model is making its debut. The new TT Coupe is even more dynamic than its predecessor- in terms of its design, its drivetrain, and its running gear.
The very architecture of the new Audi TT Coupe embodies the style, stability and power of a pure driving machine. The bullish stance of the base body and the low, narrow styling of the greenhouse together form a sculpture of simple, unfussy lines. The Audi design team has lovingly adopted and enhanced the visual code – the motif of circles and domes – of the predecessor model. The new TT appears more stretched, and even at a standstill seems to be striving to move forward; taut panels emphasise the impression of dynamic movement. The new TT is 5.4 in. longer than its predecessor at 164.5 in., and 3.1 in. wider at 75.2 in.
The first generation of the TT has become a milestone in automotive design, an icon. The design adhered to pure geometric lines, embodying a functional purity and austerity harking back to the Bauhaus style of the 1920s. The core motifs were the circle and the curves of the roof line, and front and rear overhangs. This timeless architecture guaranteed that the Audi TT was an eminently recognisable presence out on the roads, and simultaneously gave the development of the entire brand decisive momentum.
Audi has lovingly retained and stylishly enhanced this genetic code. On the new TT the geometric shapes merge fluidly into a uniform whole. A low, narrow greenhouse is supported by slim pillars sitting on broad, powerful shoulders. The base body beneath is compact in looks, conveying a feeling of confidence and strength. The convex and concave curves of its surfaces lend it the character of an athletic sculpture straining forward.
The front end has gained greater expressiveness and resolve. The single-frame radiator grille serves as its defining element. The large air inlets hint at the potential of the engines, and the sharply cut, sloping headlights emphasise the mature appearance of the car. The rear styling, characteristic of the TT, conveys power and dynamism through its wide wheel arches. The lights generate a three-dimensional effect thanks to their visual depth. The powerful exhaust tailpipes, the wide diffuser and the centered rear fog light echo the world of motor sport.
When the new Audi TT is stationary, its electrically operated rear spoiler is visible only as an unobtrusive lip. When the car reaches a speed of 75 mph, the spoiler is extended in a two-dimensional curve motion, thereby improving the downforce on the rear axle. When the car’s speed drops below 50 mph again, the spoiler automatically retracts. The underbody design also helps to reduce lift.
The original TT was itself one of the few coupes on the market to offer genuine sports car design in its interior. In the new model, too, the fluid dynamism of the exterior is echoed in the interior.
A sweeping line provides a transition between the interior trim of the door and the instrument panel. It embodies the classic circles motif of the TT in a number of ways, such as in the three center air vents. All lines converge in the instrument cluster, with its two large scales for speed and revs. New features include a large digital speedometer in the display of the driver information system.
The new standard-spec sports steering wheel fits snugly in the hands. Its solid rim, trimmed in high-grade Nappa leather, is flattened at the bottom, similarly to the Le Mans quattro sports car study. The driver’s and front passenger’s sports seats are fitted even lower down than in the predecessor model, providing a truly sporty seating position allied to firm side restraint. Like the steering column, they can of course be adjusted longitudinally and in height, offering a perfect sporty seated position for every driver.
The new Audi TT, like its predecessor, is initially available as a 2 + 2-seater coupe; a roadster model is scheduled for later launch. The dynamic impression that it creates stems from its modified proportions. The coupe is 5.4 in. longer and 3.1 in. wider than its predecessor, but only 0.2 in. higher. It is now 164.5 in. long, 72.5 in. wide and 53.2 in. high. The TT’s wheelbase is 97.2 in.
The interior, too, has benefited from this increase in size: it has grown by 3.0 in. in length to 62.1 in., by 1.4 in. in front shoulder width to 53.2 in. and by
0.9 in. in rear shoulder width to 47.5 in. In the basic configuration, the luggage compartment beneath the large lid accommodates about 10.2 cu. Ft. of luggage. It grows to approximately 24.7 cu. Ft. when the rear seat backs are folded down, and its length of 66.9 in. is ample for two golf bags. With these practical characteristics, the TT Coupe sets standards in its class.
The body of the new TT is constructed in lightweight ASF design. The three letters stand for Audi Space Frame – the ground-breaking aluminium technology developed by the company in the early 1990s for the first A8 series. The ASF combines aluminium and steel for the first time. Aluminium accounts for
69 percent of the weight of the body. Fully galvanised steel components are located principally at the rear of the floor panel. The doors and luggage compartment lid are also made of steel. This ensures that the axle loads are distributed evenly, thus considerably improving the handling of the vehicle.
The bodyshell of the TT weighs 453.2 lbs, 308 lbs. of which is aluminium and 145.2 lbs. steel; were it built entirely of steel, it would be 48 percent heavier. Its low weight is one of the key factors behind the impressive road behaviour of the new TT Coupe. The unladen weight of the TT 2.0T is just 2772 lbs. – placing it at the forefront of this performance class. And the 3.2 quattro weighs only 3102 lbs.
The new-style ASF on the Audi TT features properties that are truly worthy of a genuine sports car. Its static torsional rigidity has been improved by around
50 percent over its predecessor. In terms of crash safety, too, the new TT is utterly uncompromising.
The new Audi TT is powered by two transversely installed engines – a four-cylinder turbo and a V6. Both units provide it with high levels of power and performance. Their performance enables the TT Coupe to perform impressively on the road.
The optional S tronic dual-clutch gearbox and quattro drive for the V6 – both of them exclusive technologies in the sports coupe segment – transmit the engine’s power into propulsion.
The four-cylinder turbo engine, with the abbreviation TFSI, develops its power from a swept volume of 1,984 cc (2.0 liters). An international jury of experts voted it "Engine of the Year" for two years in succession, in 2005 and 2006 – praise indeed for its innovative technological package. The TFSI combines the Audi-developed gasoline direct injection technology FSI, which has impressively demonstrated its superiority in the R8 racing car, with a turbocharger – a perfect combination.
The four-valve engine responds spontaneously to the throttle and is ultra-refined. It puts 207 ft.-lbs. of torque onto the crankshaft even at engine speeds as low as 1,800 rpm, and is able to keep this high level of torque constant up to 5,000 rpm. The nominal power output of 200 hp is delivered between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm. The 2.0 T accelerates the Audi TT Coupe from 0 to 62 mph in just 6.4 seconds (in the version featuring the S tronic dual-clutch gearbox).
Even more power is on tap from the V6 engine, with its 3,189 cc (3.2 liters) capacity. It develops a maximum torque of 236 ft.-lbs. between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm, and at 6,300 rpm delivers a power output of 250 hp. The characteristic features of the long-stroke unit are the continuous adjustment of all four camshafts – by 52 degrees on the intake side and 42 degrees on the exhaust side – and the extremely narrow cylinder angle of just 15 degrees.
On the road, the 3.2-liter V6 unit reveals itself to be high-torque and high-revving. It produces a fascinatingly sonorous response at every engine speed, emphasising above all the intake sound. The TT 3.2 quattro sprints from a standing start to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (with S tronic).
The standard-spec transmission is a six-speed manual gearbox in a weight-saving magnesium casing. A technical highlight, and a unique feature in its class for the TT, is the optional S tronic dual-clutch gearbox. The system’s dual-clutch technology enables it to change gear in just 0.2 seconds, producing no discernible interruption to the power flow. In manual mode, the driver does the gear-changing, either by tapping the selector lever or by pulling one of the shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel, like on a racing car.
The four-cylinder TT is a front-wheel-drive model, while the V6 features permanent four-wheel drive. Its quattro drive system operates with an electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch. In order to improve the distribution of axle loads, the clutch is placed at the rear of the TT. The mechanical construction and control efficiency of the unit have been further enhanced relative to the predecessor model. In normal conditions, the clutch directs 85 percent of the torque to the front wheels, but in extreme circumstances it is able to transmit as much as 100 percent of the forces to one of the two axles.
The sport suspension on the new TT Coupe also helps to deliver top-class dynamics. This is thanks in part to its elaborate layout, as well as its 0.4 in. lower center of gravity. The Audi dynamic suspension layout has been redeveloped and retuned. The emphasis here has been placed on the wider track, the larger wheel cross-sections with diameters ranging from 16 to 19 inches and the extensive elastokinematic measures.
The front suspension is pivoted on an aluminium subframe. It has a wide track of 61.9 in. The steering comprises a rack-and-pinion assembly that supplies its electromechanical servo assistance as a function of road speed. The steering is characterised by direct transmission and a high degree of precision.
A new feature compared with the torsion-beam design of the predecessor is the four-link rear suspension with a track of 61.3 in. In this instance, the coil springs and shock absorbers are separate. The trailing links absorb the propulsive and braking forces. As an aid to ride comfort, their configuration is relatively soft.
The three wishbones per wheel, on the other hand, are connected rigidly in order to introduce the transverse forces into the body precisely.
The TT 2.0 T features 16-inch cast aluminium wheels, fitted with 225/55 R 16 tyres as standard. The 3.2 quattro features forged 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels, fitted with 245/45 R 17 tyres. All Audi TT models are fitted with newly developed disc brakes on every wheel. The new brake pads develop particularly high friction coefficients, thereby improving brake responsiveness and performance. The newly developed electronic stabilisation program is designed to maintain a dynamic driving style – it promotes the TT’s self-steering behaviour, which is in the range of neutral to slightly understeering. This sporty characteristic delivers thrilling agility, maximum driving fun and magnificent handling.
The high-tech damping system, Audi magnetic ride, is available as an option – an innovative technology that resolves the age-old conflict between comfort and driving dynamics. The shock absorber pistons on the TT do not contain conventional oil, but a magneto-rheological fluid in which microscopically small magnetic particles are enclosed. When a voltage is applied to them, they alter the damping characteristics within milliseconds. This adaptive system simultaneously maintains astonishingly high levels of ride comfort and thoroughly sporty dynamism with perfect roll stabilisation, according to the specific driving scenario and the preferences of the driver. The driver can choose between the basic programs "Normal" and "Sport" at a switch. None of the TT’s competitors offers a similarly advanced technological concept.
The standard equipment of the TT reflects the sporty character of the TT Coupe. The interior of the TT is resplendent with grey inlays and various aluminium-look components. The sports seats are adjustable longitudinally and in height. The sports steering wheel is covered in Nappa leather. The automatic air conditioning system regulates the heating and ventilation depending on the angle of sunlight.
The driver information system and the audio system round off the standard specification of the driving area. The rear seat backs of the TT, divided 50:50, can be folded down separately. The luggage compartment features four lashing points.
The infotainment technology in the Audi TT Coupe is entirely new. The navigation system, with convenient operation for the telephone and a monochrome six-inch display, takes its cues from the exemplary MMI concept familiar from the Audi A6, A8 and Q7 model lines.
For mobile phones, the new Audi TT offers a universal kit with a Bluetooth interface fitted in the center console.