Majorca, Spain -- I’ve been blabbing about evolution in my reviews (and at home when referring to life as a whole) for a number of months. My friend Merriam-Webster defines evolution as “the process of working out or developing.” We’ll all agree that something has to “be” in order for it to evolve.
The Audi TT “became” in 1998 and set forth a kind of revolution in design that, like all things great and small, must evolve. Now, in the car business, the process is generally quick. In the TT’s case, real evolution takes place every 8 years. It’s about that time now.
Auto123.com got a taste of the Coupe a few months back, but this time it’s all about losing the top. Audi’s TT carries forward with its exotic car looks, sports car performance, and is all about having a good time with few compromises, if any.
TT = Styling
The new 2016 Audi TT is a looker. No matter the angle, one or more details capture the eye and it all gets better when your vision takes in the car as a whole.
The most distinctive element about the Roadster is its fabric roof. It is available in three colours and will stow away or rise in only 10 seconds at speeds up to 50 km/hr. Its Z-fold design is such that it does not encroach on trunk space, thus never affecting the available 280 litres of maximum luggage space.
From there, the TT Roadster is all sexy curves, sharp lines and lust-worthy accents. The xenon plus or LED headlights are especially noteworthy thanks to the signature Audi daytime running lights. The taillight’s LEDs mimic the front lights, tying the car together nicely from end to end. Bumpers are deep with prominent aerodynamics and the TTS’ quad exhaust pipes are giggle-inducing. Between the two extremities are some superb wheel-arch flares and chiseled character lines
A very driver-centric cockpit counters the exterior’s geometric perfection. The few controls held by the dashboard are angled toward the driver, while those on the centre console will only show you what they’re doing on the TT’s instrument panel.
On the latter, much can be said. Analogue gauges are standard, while Audi’s Virtual Cockpit (which features a fully digital screen in place of gauges) is optional; and the 12.3” TFT display, with a 1,440x540 pixel resolution and 24-bit colour depth, is nothing short of impressive. There are numerous ways to customize what and how indicators and navigation information are displayed and despite what we might think, the Virtual cockpit’s location behind the steering wheel makes it less distracting than it could be if it were mounted on the centre stack.
The optional “S” seats with what Audi calls “headroom heating” (blows hot air on the back of your neck) are thin yet supportive; they were put to the test along Majorca’s sinuous coastline roads. The S-Line flat-bottomed steering wheel is a masterpiece in both form and function. A word about the air vents: they’re still inspired by jet engines, but now house the HVAC controls in their centres. The idea is quite novel and even more functional.
To match the new TT’s racy exterior and remain true to the roadster’s vocation, the Audi drop-top is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine; quite possibly the best in the business today. This boosted mill produces 220 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque in the TT. The TTS is gifted with 290 horsepower and 280 torques.
I spent the vast majority of my drive time at the wheel of the TT and thoroughly enjoyed every second. The S tronic ‘box when mated to the TFSI is likely one of the best compact powertrain combos available in the world today.
The 2.0L suffers no lag, nor does the transmission. As such, throttle response is immediate, intuitive almost in “Dynamic” when selected through the optional Audi Drive Select. It is exceptional in execution as all modes do exactly what is expected of them, including “Efficiency.”
Drive Select also controls the Audi adaptive magnetic ride damping system. Left in “Auto,” the dampers adjust instantly to driving and road conditions. Its work and the resulting ride quality are impressively good regardless of speed or degree of banking.
The revised quattro permanent all-wheel drive now uses an electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch. It is its job to allocate power to front and rear depending on overall driving conditions. The electrohydraulic pump keeps some pressure going at all times unless the TT is in “Efficiency” mode.
Quattro, as always, is competent regardless of the time of year. In Majorca, the coastal roads were covered in sand, dirt and some gravel, and most were recently moistened by rain. The tires do their best to maintain grip, however, it is quattro’s torque vectoring through the car’s stability control that effectively brakes the inside wheels, directing the car in the desired direction. Despite coming in a little hot into some corners, quattro set me straight. As an extra measure of grip, the system can send 100% of available power front or rear.
The all-new TT Roadster is another example from Audi of a car that can serve on a daily basis. If the daily routine includes trips to the track on weekends, the TTS, with its larger brakes and extra power, will do the trick without ever punishing you.
The relatively lightweight 1,300+ kg roadster lines up with the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster. The TT’s quattro AWD is a huge advantage especially for those who plan on tackling winters with the car.
Pricing has not yet been set for Canada. Expect the new 2016 TT to arrive in showrooms sometime between August and September of this year.