► Facelifted coupe driven
► Nip-and-tuck styling tweaks
► How does it compare to Cayman and A110?
When it comes to facelifts it’s fair to say the 2018 Audi TT hasn’t exactly been subjected to the kind of major surgery you’d find lining the walls of a Hollywood dentist’s waiting room.
But then again all three versions of this car have aged very well indeed – first generation models arguably look just as fresh 20 years on.
There’s also very little need for Ingolstadt to be constantly fettling its small coupe. With the VW Scirocco phased out the TT has few natural rivals, at least not with a practicality-enhancing rear bench – although two seat rivals are more plentiful.
Within those strict parameters the Audi only really needs to worry about the BMW 2 Series and Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ, plus the larger Ford Mustang.
Has the Audi TT changed at all then?
A bit of a nip and tuck here and there – a new grille and bumper design, two new paint colours and a different wheel designs to keep 2014’s car looking fresh.
Sportier models (S Line and TTS) get additional air intakes and vents front and rear for additional purpose, although we’re not sure they do anything practical as they’re blanked off.
You do get more standard kit than before – Audi’s Drive Select system, light and rain sensors, multifunction steering wheel, heated door mirrors and the central rev counter layout for the Virtual Cockpit from the TTRS. And light-up USB ports, would you believe.
Any new engines?
Sort of – but here’s where it gets a bit confusing. Like the VW Golf R the 2.0-litre TTS now features a gasoline particulate filter to reduce its carbon footprint, which subtlety changes the noise it makes and more importantly means a reduced power output of 302bhp.
Usefully though you get 15lbs-ft of torque and a new seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox as standard (with no manual option any more) so the 0-62mph time is one tenth quicker, at 4.5 seconds.
You won’t notice the drop in power or the extra torque, because in reality the TTS still rips along at a remarkable pace, in the utterly unflustered way we’re come to expect in fast Audis.
Does it drive like a fast Audi?
Of course, but that’s no bad thing, if that’s what you want. Our test route for this updated model was the mildly terrifying Isle of Man mountain road – the one that gets used for the TT road race and doesn’t have a speed limit, you know the one.
Given that you don’t really have any run-off (unless you count a drystone wall or hundred meter drop as run-off) we were quite grateful to be in a forgiving but pacey all-wheel drive coupe.
Confidence-inspiring grip from the standard issue Quattro all-wheel drive makes this a great point-to-point car, with two-dimensional handling balanced neatly with the sensation that it’s got stacks of ability held in reserve.
It remains an easy, but not rewarding, car to drive very quickly indeed, particularly now you get Audi magnetic ride – a more advanced type of adaptive damping system – as standard.
The old car always felt very firm and while the 2018 TT isn’t exactly a limo it’s much better at absorbing bumps without compromising its tidy body control and sharp turn-in.
As a result we thoroughly enjoyed driving the TT on its namesake route on the Isle of Man – although in reality you’d have fun piloting the Chuckle Brothers’s pedal-powered car up there.
Audi TT coupé: verdict
The Audi TT majors on breadth of ability, so while two-seater rivals like the Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110 are better to drive, they don’t offer the same practicality or ease of use.
We think the TTS in particular is a real sweetspot in the range – the TTRS being more impressive vocally but so fast as to be all but unusable most of the time in the UK, and considerably more expensive.