The Truth About Cars » audi tt The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:25:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » audi tt Beijing 2014: Audi TT Offroad Concept Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:43:57 +0000 Audi-TT-offroad-concept

Perhaps due to a trademark conflict with Alfa Romeo, the compact SUV concept that Audi has shown at the 2014 Beijing auto show will likely be marketed as part of the TT line and not get the Q4 badge.

The TT Offroad Concept is expected to come to production in 2016 and may be called the TTQ. Alfa Romeo has previously used Q4, appending it to 4WD versions of the 156 wagon. Alfa also has used Q2 on FWD models of the 156. That may be why the Audi Q1 subcompact crossover didn’t get named Q2 as expected.

Whatever it’s called, the production version of the TT Offroad Concept will be based on MQB modular architecture that is proliferating across the VW Group. It will be about the same size as the compact Q3, but it will have a more sporting character and will be competing against vehicles like the Porsche Macan and BMW X4. Though the concept has an eTron hybrid drivetrain with 408 total horsepower, you can expect the production TTQ to be introduced with more conventional gasoline or diesel powerplants.

So far, Audi has shown coupe and shooting brake versions of the 3rd gen TT and a roadster is expected at the Paris show in October. Putting all of those into production along with a crossover/SUV platform-mate would give Audi something in the TT subbrand similar to what BMW is doing with MINI.

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Geneva 2014: Audi TT Makes The Scirroco Obsolete Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:48:30 +0000 2015-Audi-TT-S-01

Why do we continue to lust after the Volkswagen Scirocco when the Audi TT exists? They’re similar cars, with a similar shape and if the two were to be sold in North America, their pricepoints wouldn’t be terrible far off one another. The answer is simple – because we must fetishize every vehicle that doesn’t make it to our shores are a priori superior to whatever dull crap is being gobbled up by Americans. Except that the TT has just leapfrogged the Scirocco, and it will be coming to North America.

Based on the MQB architecture, the newest TT will use the same 2.0T motor as the Volkswagen GTI. The base model will come with 230 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. Though it will come in front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is optional), the base TT will weigh roughly 2,700 lbs, or as much as a Scion FR-S, thanks to the weight savings of MQB. A hotter TTS with 310 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque and gets standard all-wheel drive. Audi is even claiming fuel consumption of 34 mpg (likely highway, though they didn’t specify) for the base car. Suddenly, the Scirocco doesn’t seem so enticing anymore.

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Review: 2012 Audi TT RS Mon, 16 Jul 2012 13:00:30 +0000

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that the Audi TT is based on the VW Golf, which can be had for under $18,000. And it can seem silly when people buy an econobox then pour multiples of the purchase price into mods. When Audi does the same to create the $57,725 TT RS, how can we take the end result seriously?

Audiphiles will notice the subtle changes Audi has made to distinguish the RS from other TTs, and approve. The rest of us will see an Audi TT with a tasteful, non-retractable wing spoiler and gorgeous five-spoke alloy wheels. We might notice the enlarged intakes beneath the headlamps. There’s nothing to proclaim to those not in the know that they’re in the presence of a 360-horsepower bullet. Aside the big grille that started them all, outrageous styling details just aren’t the Audi way. The TT itself remains as iconic and beautiful as the day it sent car designers around the world racing back to their sketch pads. The car’s shape authentically communicates its front-engine, all-wheel-drive layout.

Little of the extra money over the $39,175 base TT went into the RS’s interior. The nappa seats (with faux suede center panels and contrasting stitching) and door panel inserts pass muster, but much of the rest looks and feels suited to a car half the TT RS’s price. Such is the danger with any special performance model where over $16,000 goes towards upgraded hardware. This said, little seems cheap, just purposeful (though the clicky buttons on the base audio system wouldn’t make the cut at Hyundai). Amenities are limited; a universal garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, and heated power front seats are standard, but keyless ignition and driver seat memory aren’t even available. One owner commented that a sunroof would have been nice to let some light into the dark interior. Also, Audi’s latest infotech hasn’t yet made it to the TT. A note for all auto makers: metal has no place on top of a manual shift knob. You’ll want driving gloves on hot, sunny days.

The front seats are very supportive and moderately comfortable (as is often the case with my particular back, no position of the four-way lumbar felt quite right). The back seat is headroom-limited to preteens and height-challenged adults, and these only if the people up front are willing and able to shunt forward a few inches (we had two kids in back for one short trip, not something we’d want to do daily). But there is at least a back seat for those who sometimes need one, and it folds in two sections to nearly double the 13 cubic foot cargo area. The TT’s windows aren’t large, but they all start low enough and the pillars are thin enough that you can easily see all around the car from the driver’s seat, in sharp contrast to a 370Z (the predecessor of which lifted more than a little styling inspiration from the TT). The forward position of the windshield header can obstruct traffic signals, but this lesser crime doesn’t crimp confidence once underway.

Make that rapidly underway. Volkswagen’s rarely praised long-stroke 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine has been boosted and heavily modified to yield 360 horsepower (at 5,500 rpm) and 343 pound-feet of torque (at 1,650), a healthy 95-horsepower bump over the already quick four-cylinder TTS. Ford’s EcoBoost V6 produces similar numbers at a higher torque peak—with an extra liter of displacement. I’ve driven plenty of highly pressurized engines that feel much less torquey at low rpm than their specs suggest they ought to. A torque peak south of 2,000 rpm often doesn’t mean much in practice. This isn’t such a case. The TT RS mill explodes out of even the tightest corners. Wind it out, and the shove only grows more forceful, with a throaty burr from the exhaust once over 3,500. The sound isn’t that of sophisticated machinery, but it’s also far from agricultural and clearly not that of an inline four. Hit the Sport button to open up the dual mode exhaust sooner (it still doesn’t drone when cruising). The information center suggests that boost builds gradually, but there’s never a sensation of lag, only a tsunami-class surge.

In other TTs a clutch is no longer available. In the TT RS, it’s mandatory. Clutch and shifter efforts are fairly high, but their action is so fluid and precise that this meatiness energizes rather than tires. The slop-free electro-mechanical steering has a similar character, with a more direct feel and more nuanced feedback than I’ve experienced in any other recent Audi. Pushing the car hard through turns, your fingertips and the seat of your pants know exactly which direction the front tires are pointing and how much they’re slipping. At highway speeds, the steering becomes very firm and virtually locked on center (with sport mode bumping it up another notch). Oddly, the one car I’ve driven in the past year with similar steering was a Cadillac, albeit the much-praised CTS-V.

Unlike with the CTS-V, fuel economy surprises in a positive direction. The trip computer reported an average of 8.5 miles per gallon for a few hot laps around my favorite handling loop, but I’ve observed as low as five in some other cars.The EPA rates the TT RS at 18 city, 25 highway. The car’s trip computer routinely reported much better numbers: low-to-mid 20s in the suburbs, and high 20s to low 30s on the highway. Doubting its veracity, I asked a man who owns one. He measured low 20s in aggressive mountain road driving. A MazdaSpeed3, with nearly 100 fewer horses and front-wheel drive, has the same EPA ratings.

All-wheel drive ensures a drama-free transfer of the turbo-five’s prodigious power to the road, even when exiting sharp curves with your foot planted. Others report reaching sixty in a little over four seconds. On the other hand, all-wheel drive combined with the very nose-heavy 60/40 distribution of the car’s 3,300 pounds (only 153 more than a base 211-horsepower TT) means that the TT RS isn’t going to handle like a conventional sports car. But until you approach the tires’ high (but not quite Boxster S-high) limits, the Audi doesn’t understeer substantially (a change from the less graceful first-gen TT). Instead, it feels like a solid chunk of machinery that simply goes where it’s pointed with little if any untoward drama. With a smooth hand on the wheel and a steady foot on the throttle, the rear tires initially slip about the same time as the fronts, defying physics. Extreme measures withstanding, oversteer isn’t happening, even with the stability control disabled. I tried to provoke some in a large, empty parking lot, and failed. Nail the brake with the steering wheel turned, and you just scrub the hell out of the outside front tire. The tight chassis nevertheless engages, even titillates. The weight distribution extracts the largest penalty from braking. Hit the pedal hard at speed and the front tires are much more easily overloaded than in a more balanced car. A 2013 Boxster (no new Cayman until next year) should prove more playful on a road twisty enough to exercise it and open enough to wind out its peaky flat six. But I’ve never driven a four-second-to-sixty car that is remotely as easy to flog around my off-track “track” as the TT RS. Yet it’s also a blast, literally and figuratively. In the cut-and-thrust of suburban driving the Porsche does its best to mimic the livability of a Toyota while the Audi continues to entertain. Not for a moment in the latter car will you forget what you’re driving.

And the Audi’s livability? Not bad, actually. The ride is firm, but unless you engage sport mode it’s rarely harsh. The lightning-quick adaptive dampers earn their keep. Restrict their range with sport mode, and the car jostles more on imperfect roads and rhythmically bounces down a concrete highway much like a late model STI or Z. The difference with the TT RS is that this bouncing is avoidable. A Jetta GLI reacts more sharply to broken pavement and generally seems less refined. (At less than half the price, it better.) An Evo is considerably more brutal, and a non-NISMO 370Z rides much like the Audi does in sport mode, while a 2013 Boxster (when fitted with its own trick shocks) is modestly easier on the teeth. Noise levels inside the TT RS are moderately high on concrete highways—if you need quiet, get a bigger Audi—but a Z or Corvette is much harder on the ears. One nit: if you lower the windows at highway speeds, there’s buffeting. But if you’ve lived with any other high-performance sports car on a daily basis, you can easily live with this one.

The tested TT RS included a $2,700 bundle of “titanium” (i.e. metallic gray) wheels, “titanium” grille, and sport exhaust (which allegedly deepens the tone a bit). For rear obstacle detection, steering-linked headlights, nav, and a Bose upgrade from the marginal base audio you need the $3,500 Tech Package. Or not. Neither package seems a good value unless you absolutely must have their contents.

Not twins, a.k.a. under the influence

At the TT RS’s price there are plenty of other contenders. Among sports cars without drop tops, the Nissan 370Z NISMO is over $16,000 less before adjusting for feature differences and about $11,000 less afterwards (based on TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool), but it’s much harder to see out of, much trickier to handle, and generally much harder to live with. A Chevrolet Corvette 3LT with adaptive shocks costs about the same as the Audi. The more brutal Corvette weighs less, but feels larger, partly because it is ten inches longer but also because GM has yet to get the car’s steering quite right (we’re all hopeful for the C7). If you can’t instantly choose between these two cars, you don’t know what you’re looking for. Do without any options, and the recently superseded 2012 Porsche Cayman S listed for “only” $5,000 more than a TT RS. But check enough boxes to equip the Porsche roughly the same, and it flew another $12,000 out of the ballpark. Of course, if you happen to need either a limited-utility rear seat or all-wheel-drive, then the TT RS becomes your only option in the bunch.

Beyond the back seat and all-wheel drive, the TT is simply a different animal than the others. As much as I’ve sung the praises of rear-wheel-drive dynamics, I find myself drawn to this highly charismatic, chuckable chunk of an Audi. Perhaps this is because I’ve also long had a thing for hot hatches. I own a Protege5, greatly enjoy the MazdaSpeed3, and am very much looking forward to the Ford Focus ST. Take that class of car, with its inherently safer handling yet often more lively “point and shoot” disposition at legal speeds, dial the engine and chassis up to 11 while lowering the driving position, tune these bits and pieces to form an unusually coherent firm-but-not-stiff whole, and you essentially have the Audi TT RS. Yes, there’s a Golf under there somewhere, but for anyone who has loved a hot hatch this could well prove a deal maker rather than a deal killer.

Audi provided the TT RS with insurance and a tank of gas.

Scott Vollink of Suburban Porsche in Farmington Hills, MI, provided a 2013 Boxster S so I could compare the two cars. His dealership also sells Audis. Scott can be reached at 248-741-7980.

Michael Karesh operates, an online source of car reliability and pricing information.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail TT RS front, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS front quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS front quarter high, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS side, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS rear quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Under the influence TT RS interior, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS back seat, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS cargo area, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS groceries, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh TT RS wheel, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ]]> 52
Review: Audi TT-S Fri, 13 Nov 2009 16:24:03 +0000 DSC_0637

It is said of Frank Lloyd Wright that he was an unbelievably annoying and offensive man; worse than that, every home he ever built ended up with a leaky roof. More than eight years ago, the first major gathering of North American TT owners took place, not at a racetrack or in the banal confines of a convention-center parking lot, but in the shadow of Wright’s residential masterpiece, Fallingwater. It was an apt choice for an automobile which has chosen form over function since its introduction. Among the quartet of small German sportsters — Audi TT, Porsche Boxster, BMW Z, and Mercedes SLK — only the TT is a transverse-engined front-driver, only the TT is currently supplied in North America with a four-cylinder engine, and only the TT features rear seats, improbable as they may be. Those of us who remember the Sesame Street song “One of These Things Is Not Like The Other” will have no trouble picking out the Audi as the one which, indeed, is not like the others.

DSC_0544It is your author’s humble opinion that the TT, like most design-centric products, is most satisfying taken in basic form. The standard front-wheel-drive, DSG-shifted two-liter turbo TT costs approximately $39,000. It is usefully lighter and more nimble than the Volkswagen GTI with which it shares a powertrain, and it is absent any of the hypermacho German posturing which would ill-suit a tidy little sporting hatchback of this type. Naturally, not everyone will agree, and for those people Audi supplies this fifty-two-thousand-dollar, Haldex-driven TT-S model, complete with an extra sixty-five horsepower from a strengthened variant of the base engine.

This would be a TT to take to a track rather than to Fallingwater, so we packed it up in company with my 2009 Audi S5 and a borrowed 2009 Audi R8 “R.tronic” and went to the iconic but diminutive Waterford Hills Road Course near metro Detroit. Of the three cars, only the TT-S truly felt at home; the S5 was plagued by understeer around Waterford’s many sharp turns and the R8 was obviously too big and fast for such a small track. Which is not to say the TT-S was the fastest; both of the V8 Audis handily pulled out of sight within a lap or two. But it was the happiest and most pleasant to drive.

VW/Audi’s DSG gearbox is very probably the best mass-market self-shifter available. Around town, it’s cheerful and relaxed, slurring shifts and offering the proper gear rather more often than DSC_0634any torque-converter automatic. At the track, it’s a revelation. The rather peaky turbo four stays on the boil thanks to instantaneous, rev-matched swaps up and down. Adding a CG-Lock seatbelt clincher to the TT-S makes it possible to left-foot brake all the way around the racetrack, which is always an aid to going quickly. The instant change in revs every time the twin clutches trade places has to be heard to be believed and it’s very, very Formula Unnnn.

Although the TT-S carries a “quattro” badge, it’s not the traditional longitudinal engine and Torsen center differential found in other Audis. Instead, there’s a more Rube Goldbergesque arrangement that transfers power just a beat or two behind the moment when it’s needed. As a consequence, there are no tail-out antics to be had in a TT. In fact, antics of any kind are in short supply. To get the most out of a TT-S, simply floor the throttle on the straight, brake at the ABS threshold to the turn-in point using your left foot while squeezing the left paddle five or six times (it will not select too low of a gear) and then floor the throttle again as you pass the apex. The drivetrain will sort it all out and you will fire out the other side of the corner with a rather satisfying “blat” as the ignition cuts out between shifts. The brakes are not spectacular but they are sufficient, which is more than can be said for the stoppers on my S5.

audittsintAfter about twenty laps in the little coupe, I parked it in favor of its mid-engined big brother, which can be hooned around a racetrack in tail-out fashion and which offers an even more satisfying engine note. It wasn’t until the evening that I drove the TT-S again, this time down the freeway to Ohio.

Here the Audi truly satisfies. It’s rapid enough on the street, the sound system is outstanding, the seats are good, the steering wheel is very sporting and serious. It’s a handsome car, even if it’s missing some of the original TT’s purity, and it’s built exceptionally well. Of course, all of this is also true of the considerably more affordable base model.

Frank Lloyd Wright reportedly once asked a tall guest to leave one of his houses because the man’s height was “ruining the architecture”. The base TT is a splendid little car, but the boy-racer bodykit, extra power, Haldex lag, and staggering markup associated with the TT-S goes a long way towards spoiling the architecture. It would take more than 265 horsepower to make this car keep up with a base Cayman around a road course, and the TT-S is actually priced head-to-head with the outrageously stickered Porsche coupe. When it comes to Audi’s little architectural coupe, simpler is better.

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