The Audi TT Sportback, unveiled on the eve of the 2014 Paris motor show, shows that Ingolstadt has plenty more niche derivatives up its sleeve.
In an age where the A4 saloon spawns a two-door coupe called the A5 which morphs into a five-door hatchback called the A5 Sportback - perilously close to the original starting place - it’s proof that the Germans are hellbent on finding ever more niches.
And, yes, the TT Sportback has a production future. Even Audi’s tech chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg is remarkably candid about its prospects of reaching a showroom near you.
‘The TT Sportback concept unites two concepts to form a new member of a potential TT family,’ he said. Our interpretation? The TT shooting brake is nailed on for launch, probably in 2016.
Audi TT Sportback: what is it?
This is quite a strange car to get your head around. The TT coupe and roadster twins are already well established, but this is an attempt to broaden the sports car DNA into something more practical.
Hence four doors, an elongated roofline and a liftback rear. Suspiciously like an Audi A3 saloon, no?
The engine room: a 395bhp TFSI
Audi is signalling its intent to push its four-cylinder engines ever further northwards in the power war. The TT Sportback uses the familiar 2.0-litre TFSI engine, but here it’s turbocharged to produce a whopping 395bhp.
In metric measurements, that’s the full 400ps - or 200 horsepower per litre!
Audi consequently claims 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds, thanks to peerless Quattro traction and a fast-shifting seven-speed S-tronic twin-clutch gearbox.
Yet such supercar-slaying performance is paired to CO2 emissions of 162g/km. That’s downsizing for you… And this engine is also production-bound.
Anything else about the TT Sportback?
Most of the tech story here is stock TT. Aluminium features widely to keep weight in check, but there are some novelties to interest Paris motor show goers. Check out the laser spot beam built into the LED headlamps, claimed to improve dramatically the driver’s view on a dark, twisting road at speeds over 37mph.
How much bigger is the Sportback than a TT coupe? Quite a lot. This car’s footprint is 29cm longer and 6cm wider, although it hunkers 3cm lower to the tarmac.
The question is, does that still make it a TT? Blistered wheelarches housing 21in alloys only count for so much… But at least rear-seat passengers won’t risk being decapitated when you shut the bootlid, a perennial risk in a TT coupe.
Audi claims two full-size adults can be comfortably accommodated in the back of the TT Sportback.
Click here for more Paris motor show coverage.