We’ve already driven the hottest version (for now) of the all-new Audi TT, the 306bhp TTS model. Now it’s time for a look at the TT for buyers as fuel-conscious as they are image-conscious, the diesel-powered 2.0-litre TDI Ultra. It’s forecast to be the biggest seller of the range in the UK. We Brits love a diesel, apparently.
If the on-paper figures are anything to go by, the black-pump TT puts forward a pretty compelling case for itself: 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds, a top speed of 150mph yet combined fuel economy of 67.3mpg and tax-friendly CO2 emissions of 110g/km.
Even if you take the manufacturer fuel economy figures with the usual vat of salt, this is still one very frugal Audi TT.
2015 Audi TT TDI performance
For now, the diesel TT is a front-wheel drive and six-speed manual gearbox affair only, though an auto option can only be a matter of time.
There’s 182bhp on tap but more pertinently 280lb ft of torque (more than a Seat Leon Cupra) and it’s the latter that makes it a surprisingly brisk car. When you need it, there’s rapid and pleasantly lag-free acceleration available and when you don’t the TDI lump is smooth and hushed.
The new 2015 Audi TT TDI diesel sounds okay too – no Massey Ferguson clatter here, which bodes well for the Roadster model to be unveiled at the Paris motor show in autumn 2014.
The old TT had a tendency to push its nose wide under power and that’s still the case if you’re greedy with the throttle and allow all that torque to overwhelm the front tyres. It does feel more positive than before, though, turning in keenly before adopting a typically grippy and stable pose. Overall it feels a shade more playful than the outgoing model if still not the last word in involvement.
We drove the TT in S line spec, which means 19-inch rims and a stiffer suspension setup, lowered by 10mm. This can be swapped for the softer standard set-up as a no-cost option and you might want to consider that if you live near any lumpy roads – it’s certainly firm.
What’s the new Audi TT interior like?
Quite fascinating, actually. The TT has always been home to a techy, boutique cabin and the third instalment in the franchise doesn’t disappoint.
In front of the driver is the foot-and-a-bit wide LCD ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrument panel you’ve already heard so much about, with switchable displays including different layouts for the tacho and speedometer and a full-bleed navigation map (which isn’t always as easy to follow as you might hope).
The display is sharp and attractive, impervious to both bright sunlight and polarised sunglasses and straightforward to command, using a mixture of steering wheel controls and the latest generation of Audi’s familiar turn ’n’ click MMI controller near the gearlever. After a bit of trial and error even the most technophobic of drivers will have the measure of it.
The passenger's view of the Virtual Cockpit is a little restricted so it’s difficult for them to help with programming the sat-nav or choose a music soundtrack while the driver’s occupied behind the wheel.
For that reason, although Virtual Cockpit is very much a sign of things to come, don’t expect to see a carbon copy of this layout on larger, more family-focused Audi models in the near future.
What else is new?
The circular air vents, a TT hallmark, have evolved too for the 2015 coupe. They now integrate the controls for the air-con and heated seats, with a neat digital display in the vents’ centres. It’s such a logical idea you wonder why no-one’s done it before.
‘We had to push the Audi board to clear the Virtual Cockpit and the vent interface,’ interior design Artur Deponte told CAR. ‘If we’d been allowed one of those features I’d have been happy but to get both on the production car is fantastic. I’m proud that this isn’t one of those interiors where you look at the concept car and can see ideas that didn’t make it to production.’
As before, the TT Coupe’s a 2+2 and the rear seats are just as useless as before. The boot (13 litres larger than before) is entirely usable though, and with the seat backs pushed forward there’s a useful load space.
The new Audi TT can only be viewed as a success. It’s still not a car for die-hard driving enthusiasts, but it takes everything that was good about the old one – exterior kerb appeal, a superb interior and a strong engine range – and brings it bang up to date with bleeding-edge tech and, in the case of the TDI diesel model, eye-opening efficiency.
Audi’s not dropped the ball on this one.
>> Read our Audi TT S review here