The Audi TT has the unenviable task of being a better sports car than the Porsche Boxster and it’s hardtop sister, the Cayman. Sure it beats them on price but what about the on road dynamics. The Mark II TT was a great car especially in TTS guise and the base engine was the very good 2.0 Turbo from the Golf GTI, but it did suffer from some under-steer on the limit.
Enter the 2016 Audi TT and it has been completely reworked including, and we will go into detail later, one of the best interiors we have ever seen. Cars for the US market will come standard with an S tronic sequential transmission. No manual transmission will be available and yes, I hear your collective groans, but don’t worry this TT with the dual clutch is sensational. Audi has also evolved the quattro all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring and electronic limited slip in hopes of cutting down on under-steer providing oversteer (YES) in certain situations. For the first time, the quattro’s behavior has also been linked into the Audi drive select system, which adjusts torque distribution in depending on which mode is selected and steering angle. We can tell you it works!
The suspension is a MacPherson strut set up in the front and a four-link setup at the back with a magnetic ride adaptive damping system available (but not on our tester, standard on TTS). The car sits on the now familiar MQB platform, same as the VW Golf and according to Audi the curb weight has been reduced by as much as 110 pounds.
So How Does It Go?
In a word….well….in more than one word, it’s a grin inducing thrill ride. We spent most of our time, during the week we had the car, in Dynamic mode because its the most fun. Audi’s dual-clutch gearbox is spectacularly good when left in full auto sport mode offering super quick upshifts and downshifts, although we did occasionally catch the system napping and there was slight delay before we got the gear we wanted.
Of course the first place we headed were the mountains to the east of San Diego, as this is where we expected the TT to shine……and it did. Contrary to some rumors the engine puts out the same power as Golf GTI with Performance Pack, 220 hp and 258 lb ft. At full chat the motor sounds great and elicits a throaty snarl on upshifts and perfect rev matching on downshifts. You can hear the high pitch of the turbo but that’s not a bad thing. From a standstill you do get that slight turbo lag before it takes off but this is not a drag race car so it’s never an issue.
It’s on the twisty bits that this car really shines, it feels so planted and regardless of the turns the body stays very composed. We entered some corners at really high speeds to see if we could get some under-steer but to our surprise we felt the back end kicking out slightly and then straightening up again. Wonderful. Brakes are pretty strong with good pedal feel and only after several runs under hard braking did we experience longer pedal travel and a hot smell. For most these are very much up to the job. Steering is much improved and you can get some sense of road feel from the fronts. On regular streets you do notice the firm ride but it is easy to switch to comfort mode.
Once we had the Vbox attached we launched 4 times and got a best of 0-60 mph in 5.16 seconds, which is over half a second quicker than the outgoing model. 30 – 70 mph was dispatched in a quick 4.77 seconds, perfect for passing slower vehicles on the back roads. We never felt like the car lacked power at all so when the TTS becomes available we will have to see if it is indeed worth the extra money.
This has to be my favorite Audi interior yet. The most noticeable thing is the lack of center infotainment screen because everything has been relocated to the space in front of the driver’s eyes. It’s what Audi calls their virtual cockpit. It was developed in partnership with Nvidia, Japan Display Inc., and Bosch, and display sits directly in front of the driver where traditional analogue gauges would normally be. From there there you can configure maps, speedometer, tachometer and a whole host of things at the touch of a button. The only downside is that the passenger doesn’t have anything to look at except for the beautifully designed dash, shaped like an airplane wing if look from above, and the amazing jet engine vents with A/C and seat heater controls in the center of each one. Fantastic.
The front seats (ours were the optional sport seats with Nappa leather) are very supportive and it’s easy to find a comfortable position for all sizes of driver. That’s not the case for the token back seats which are reserved for children or adults without heads. You wouldn’t want anyone back there anyway, this is a car to be enjoyed on your own.
Our test car came with optional 19 inch 5 star design wheels shod with 245/35 summer tires and a Bang & Olufsen sound system together with the Tech package I mentioned earlier to take the price to $50,025.
The 2016 Audi TT is fun to drive hard but docile when you need it to be. The interior is superb as is the quality of the materials. It’s my favorite Audi so far and it’s the one that I would put in my garage.
2016 Audi TT Specifications
|AS TESTED PRICE||$50,025|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|POWER||220 hp @ 4,500 rpm|
|TORQUE||258 ft-lb @ 1,600 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,186 lb (mfr)|
|0-60 MPH||5.16 seconds|
|30-70 MPH||4.77 seconds|
|50-70 MPH||2.87 seconds|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMBINED||23/30/26 mpg|