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Audi TT 2.0 TDI long-term test review

Published: 25 March 2009

Long-term update – 25 March 2009

Had a very interesting discussion with my wife yesterday about the TT. What surprised me was her opinion on the diesel engine. Having tooled around in the TT for a while, she has no doubt that if it was her money she was spending she would go for the TT diesel every time – and it has nothing to do with fuel economy.

She loves the TT’s torque and in-gear acceleration. Stretching a car to the redline is tantamount to mechanical abuse and, perhaps more tellingly, rather uncouth as far as she is concerned. She enjoys a quick car (she has a Mini Cooper), but she wants a quick car to surrender its performance without histrionics and noise.

Me? I’m the complete opposite. I once thought about putting a GSX-R1000 engine in my old Citroen AX GT…

I guess the fortunate thing here is that we aren't in the market for a sporty coupe, because if we were I’d be very interested in a TT (petrol) but the missus would want a TT (diesel) and that could be grounds for divorce.

By Nick Trott

Logbook

Total Mileage

Overall MPG

Claimed MPG

Fuel Costs

Other Costs

Highs

Lows

 5608 miles

 42.5 mpg

 53.3 mpg

 £573.89

 None

 Fuel economy is improving…

 But still nowhere near the claimed 53.3mpg


Previous reports

12 March 2009 DSG dilemmas
11 February 2009 Escaping the snow
28 January 2009 First report
 
 

12 March 2009 - DSG Dilemmas

Nudging 4000 miles now in the ludicrously over-specced Audi TT TDi and the chunky little grey-bomb is feeling nicely run-in. Initially, the power delivery felt too lumpy – lethargic off-boost and loony on-boost – making steady progress difficult and passengers nauseous.

This characteristic has largely disappeared and the 170bhp four-pot diesel is delivering its 258lb ft of torque with greater linearity – something I exploited on a recent blast around Silverstone. Steady and secure, if unspectacular, is how I’d describe the TT TDi on-track. And me too, come to think of it. A quick-shifting twin-clutch ‘box would smooth-out the acceleration characteristics even more, but alas it’s not an option on the TDi.

CAR Online user ‘astroman 042000’ asks a valid question about the new TT RS’s optional twin-clutch ‘box (see comments below). At the moment, the TT RS is only available with a new six-speed manual, however we understand an S-tronic is on the way for the RS but it’s the new seven-speed unit (also seen in the MkVI Golf) and not the current six-speed twin-clutch ‘box. Apparently, the new seven-speeder can cope with around 360 lb ft.

Sadly, we’ll have to wait until the next generation TT TDi before we see this ‘DSG-7’ gearbox mated to an oil-burning motor – although we hear this new TDI engine will have 200bhp and a 300 lb ft… .

Fuel economy is still hovering around the 38mpg mark – nothing like the 53.3mpg Audi claims for the combined cycle. My journeys tend to be pretty ‘combined’ – an equal division of A/B roads, motorway and towns – and yet I can’t get the TT over 40mpg unless I’m on a motorway.

It’ll be interesting to compare this to some ‘real-world’ figures from a TT 2.0-litre petrol TFSI Quattro manual – anyone out there with such a car feel like posting a few figures in the comments box below?

By Nick Trott

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Escaping the snow - 11 February 2009

The UK's had a recent spell of bad weather, you may have noticed. The worst snow for 20 years in fact. Chris Chilton’s Lexus IS-F got stuck in the snow and Tim Pollard’s Jaguar XF attempted an impromptu Scandinavian flick – much to the surprise of Mr Pollard himself. Both cars are rear wheel drive… No wonder everyone's been squabbling for the keys to a Range Rover TDV8 that passed through the office last week.

Me? Well, despite having major reservations about the TT’s need for quattro 4wd, this week I have been utterly blown away by the Audi’s traction and composure in these snowy conditions. Rarely has the ESP light flickered, even in compacted snow, and the sports-oriented Continental ContiSportContact3 tyres have keyed into the surface with surprising tenacity.

Of course you can’t cheat physics, especially not with a car that weighs 1370kg standard or 26.4-tonnes fully loaded with options (like mine) – which means that while quattro traction has been impressive in these conditions, braking is another matter entirely. No matter how many letters Audi throw at the chassis (ESP, ABS, ASF, ASR, EDL), ice + rubber + over 1300kg of sporty coupe cannot defy Newton.

ABS gets confused in snow and a switchable system (ironically last seen on another Audi quattro – the MkII 80, if memory serves) would be mega in these conditions. Saying that, the last time we had this kind of weather in the UK the continents were joined. 

By Nick Trott

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First report - 22 January 2009

'My' Audi TT is here – and what a beauty. OK, the TT’s looks aren’t for everyone but to me the Audi’s looks are just on the right side of retrofabulous. Mine is mildly cartoonish too, thanks to a set of huge 19-inch alloy wheels – a £1650 option.

Ay yes, the options. Audi has thrown everything at my TT. From an OTR price of £26,600 my Audi has plumped up and become a £36,675 car thanks to (are you ready for this?) metallic paint (£500), fine nappa leather (£550), satellite navigation 'Plus' (£1650), those RS-style 19-inch alloys (£1650), electric heated front seats with lumbar (£975), Xenon adaptive lights (£975), short shifter (£150), magnetic ride (£1150), multi-function sports steering wheel (£180), extended coloured leather package (£450) auto dimming, folding and heated electric mirrors (£450), CD changer (£320), BOSE surround sound (£475), cruise control (£215) and mobile phone preparation (£385). Overall, that’s £10,075-worth of extras. If I was speccing this car I’d go for the paint and wheels but I’d think seriously about the rest, especially as £36,675 is not far off the price of a boggo Porsche Cayman – one of my favourite cars. The TT has an enemy within too – the standard four-cylinder 197bhp petrol TT is such a sweet little car (and at 36.7mpg not exactly juicy) that our TT TDi is really going to have to perform to justify the extra £1000 for the diesel engine.

This engine won’t be for everyone. VW/Audi’s 1968cc, four-cylinder 16-valve oil-burner sits under the bonnet, albeit tweaked to give a sportier power delivery. Quattro and a six-speed manual are standard (2WD and double clutch S-tronic are not available on the diesel) and performance promises to be pretty sprightly thanks to a whopping 258lb ft torque.


First impressions are good. Modern Audis are superbly manufactured and there’s a sense of solidity that cars costing three times the price struggle to match. We’re still running in, so I won’t go on too much about the lumpy power delivery, but so far the TT feels good for every one of its 258lb ft torque. The optional magnetic suspension is providing a smooth ride although I’m not sure if our huge 19s are working with, or against, the clever little metal particles in the Audi’s dampers.

And fuel economy? Well, I haven’t strayed over 4000rpm yet so I was expecting some magnificent figures. Audi claims 53.3mpg on the combined cycle – I’m getting 37.8mpg. Confused? Yep – but thankfully I’ve got another few months to see how close the TT TDI gets to its claimed mpg. 

By Nick Trott
 
  

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By CAR's road test team

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