Audi TT TDI Quattro – Review
By Liam Bird
An important appointment with my colleagues from the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers left me with a bit of dilemma recently. You see, between them they’re a discerning bunch. So, what car exactly, should I show up in?
I needed something capable of swallowing a weekend’s paraphernalia, something without a hefty thirst, and above all something that was going to entertain me on the 70 or so miles of twisty Welsh roads that separated my place from my meeting in Bala.
On paper at least, Audi’s TT TDi Quattro looked just about perfect. The 2 litre common-rail diesel engine promises not only 170bhp and 258lbft of torque but also 53.3 MPG so both the hills, and the fuel prices in the more rural parts of mid-Wales, need not be a worry. The TT’s reputation as a driver’s car, the claimed 0-60 in 7.5 seconds and its on-demand four-wheel drive system meant I should arrive with a smile on my face too.
“Feels virtually indestructible”
It didn’t disappoint with looks either, as the delivery driver turned in to my drive. In Misano red, sitting on 19” alloys and with the benefit of the S-line pack “my” TT looked every bit as good as I’d hoped it would. I’m still not sure if I prefer the original Bauhaus inspired shape of the first generation TT’s but there’s no denying that the more fluid, smoother shape of younger cars such as this one means that even now, 13 years since its launch, Audi’s little coupe still turns heads.
Slipping down behind the flat bottomed wheel, the first thing you notice is just how spacious, in the front at least, a TT’s cabin is. The large glass area means visibility is good nearly in all directions. Despite its compact dimensions there’s more shoulder room than expected. Build quality is excellent. Most of the TT’s switches are shared with Audi’s three-times-the-price R8. As such, like everything else you touch, they feel virtually indestructible. Knurled aluminium knobs, optional leather trim and perfectly legible dials add the finishing touches.
“Hugs you in all the right places”
However, don’t think a TT will seat four. The rear bench might look big enough to sit on but head and leg room back there are virtually non-existent. With the rear backrests folded though, a TT becomes surprisingly practical. Turn the key and there’s no hiding the familiar diesel rattle. At first the engine note and its shorter rev-range seem a little at odds with the TT’s sleek looks. With time though, you learn to adjust your driving style, selecting a gear or two higher and using more of the engine’s torque.
It’s better to think of a TT TDi as a long-legged GT car rather than an out-and-out sports car. The steering is perfectly weighted and it corners and grips beautifully thanks to that Quattro system. The seats hug you in all the right places. The only downsides seem to be a chassis that’s been set up on the hard side of firm and a little too much turbo-lag if you’re lazy and let the revs drop too far. Keep things spinning between 1800 and 4000 rpm though and the TT’s perfectly capable of showing slower traffic a clean pair of heels.
Ultimately, as I found out when I turned up in Bala, putting a diesel engine in a sports-coupe splits opinion. Some think that it serves only to spoil the fun and dull the driving experience. Others, however, think that the promise of lower day-to-day running costs and very nearly the same performance take an already good looking car and make it an even more attractive one.
Audi TT 2.0 TDi Quattro S-Line Engine:
1968cc 4Cyl Diesel with VTG Turbo
Power: 170 BHP @ 4200rpm
Torque: 258 lbft @ 1700 – 2500rpm
Transmission: 6 speed manual with Quattro permanent all wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.5 sec
Max Speed: 140mph
MPG: 53.3 Combined
Price: £29,530 (car pictured £34,470)