The Audi TT is Audi's 911. Okay, it’s 15-years-old rather than 50, but it’s the sports car that made the Audi of today. And the all-new, third-generation TT wants to challenge the 911 like never before, with sharper dynamics and more performance, especially in 380bhp TT RS form.
Wildly ambitious? Not necessarily, because the TT has a not-so-secret weapon in VW’s new platform, the catchily named ‘MQB’. It sounds like a bad Scrabble hand but is the excellent base for the new Audi A3, VW Golf and so on. With the current TT, Audi replaced some steel structures with aluminium, and engineers will take this lightweight material ethos further, to reduce the new two-door’s weight by some 60kg. That will peg the four-pot coupe at around 1200kg, some 300kg lighter than Nissan’s V6 370Z and 180kg below a 911 Carrera.
The reduced weight won’t just sharpen agility and boost acceleration, there’s a fuel economy benefit too. Other efficiency enhancing measures include a revamped Quattro four-wheel-drive system to reduce friction, superior aerodynamics aided by a boomerang-shaped rear spoiler, and more frugal engines with more poke.
The meat of the range are 178bhp 1.8 and 222bhp 2.0-litre petrols, plus the diesel-sipping 2.0-litre TDI with 180bhp and 258lb ft of torque. While today’s TDI is four-wheel drive, its replacement only spins the front-wheels; Quattro will be optional on the 2.0-litre petrol. These engines are coupled to six-speed manual or dual-clutch ’boxes, though the seven-speed S-tronic will filter through in 2015. Stop/start and a clever energy recuperation system are standard.
The TT S Quattro runs the smooth and rapid 296bhp 2.0-litre turbo from the S3. Its more rabid brother, the TT RS, promises to add some deftness to today’s explosive pace. It retains the iconic turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder, with peak power cranked up to 380bhp – bang in the middle of the 911 Carrera and S models. Expect 0-62mph in close to 4.0sec flat.
As befits Audi’s icon, the Mk3 retains the TT’s character and silhouette – just like a 911 does. A new feature is a kink in the C-pillar and the lower front air intakes are now vertical rather than horizontal, otherwise this is the coupe that will hit Audi showrooms in summer 2014. The soft-top roadster won’t be far behind.
Although Audi has toyed with additional TT concepts such as a shooting brake (Tokyo 2005) and a spyder (Wörthersee 2007), projected sales don’t seem to justify anything other the status quo.
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