(Almost) 25 years of the Audi TT | PH Video

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Historically it might be silver for the Audi TT’s twenty fifth anniversary, however this being PH we have picked out a much more applicable present: we’re reassessing its popularity as a sports activities automobile. The TT has solely been in manufacturing for 22 years however the TT idea, first proven on the Frankfurt motor present in 1995, will attain the quarter-century this September.

I wasn’t out of major college in 1995 however I do keep in mind seeing this futuristic-looking coupe within the pages of magazines – at a time when the Montego had solely simply gone out of manufacturing. The facet home windows have been reshaped for the showroom mannequin and, finally, a small rear spoiler was tacked on to the bootlid, however for probably the most half the present automobile’s minimalist, faintly Bauhaus design was stored intact.

Since then, the unique TT has turn out to be an automotive design icon and made business titans of the lads who penned it, most notably Peter Schreyer. However Audi’s 2+2 coupe, which all through its life has been extra intently associated to the standard VW Golf in a mechanical sense than Audi wish to admit, has by no means earned itself a lot of a popularity as a driver’s automobile.

So the query is that this: with the good thing about hindsight and the help of the sportiest variations of all three generations, have we in truth been unnecessarily harsh on the TT in our judgement of it as a sports activities automobile? It was on a really misty day in South Wales that we gathered collectively a present TT RS, a second-generation RS and probably the most uncommon TT of all of them, the Mk1 Quattro Sport, to reply precisely that. You may watch the video under to seek out out what we concluded, or just learn on.

Quickest, most costly and latest of the bunch is the Mk3 RS. Its 400hp five-cylinder turbocharged engine might be one of the best efficiency motor with fewer than six cylinders on sale as we speak. Flexing its muscular tissues by way of a dual-clutch gearbox and four-wheel drive, it punches the RS to 62mph in 3.7 seconds and on to 155mph (though you’ll be able to pay to have the limiter raised to 174mph). The RS begins at Β£54,895.

You may choose up a Mk2 RS for round 1 / 4 of that. You may be giving up 60hp from what’s principally the identical engine and, when you please, you’ll be able to have a guide gearbox, as within the case of the automobile we borrowed for the video. The primary TT RS arrived in 2009 and set the blueprint for the one which adopted: thumping turbo five-pot, four-wheel drive utilizing Haldex {hardware}, large point-to-point tempo and a really effectively appointed cabin. It managed 62mph in 4.5 seconds and likewise topped out at 155mph.

The Mk1 Quattro Sport, lastly, is from 2005 and one in all solely 800 constructed for the UK. Quattro Sports activities have been primarily based on the mid-range mannequin with the 1.8-litre turbo engine reasonably than the stronger 3.2-litre V6, albeit with energy notched as much as 240hp (now inside 10hp of the V6 model). 62mph got here by in 5.9 seconds and the highest velocity was 155. The bodykit from the range-topping V6 and two-tone paint gave the Quattro Sport a glance all of its personal, whereas retuned suspension for sharper dealing with and a 49kg weight reduction programme (achieved by ditching the spare wheel and rear seats, the latter changed by a chunky strut brace) meant it was probably the most driver-centric TT Audi had but produced.

Not all Quattro Sports activities obtained the fixed-back Recaros, though our check automobile has them. Mixed with the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and the large void the place the rear seats must be, the Quattro Sport would not a lot have a whiff of Porsche’s 911 GT3 as stink of it. Leggy automobiles commerce arms for round Β£6,000 as we speak whereas one of the best examples are double that.

The present TT RS appears small, vast and squat but additionally highly effective, like a bull terrier. Instantly you realise its steering is over-sharp, as is the best way with so many steering methods these days, however whereas it lacks any sense of connection it’s not less than correct and constant sufficient to be no form of hindrance after the primary few miles. In true Quattro trend there’s monumental mechanical grip, actually crisp and optimistic drive away from a good bend with steadfast traction, plus bundles of stability.

It is not arduous to see the place the automobile’s colossal cross-country tempo comes from. Energy, torque, near-instant gearshifts, grip, traction, stability, fairly compact dimensions… that is just about the blueprint for it. Excessive-performance Audis have not at all times been supple sufficient to smother poor street surfaces, however the TT RS does simply that. Or not less than it does to a degree. You may pay attention to the suspension busily and successfully doing its factor, just for the street to show actually three-dimensional and the floor to alter for the more serious. After that, the chassis runs out of concepts and the automobile will both go spookily gentle over crests, thud closely into its bump stops, or the feel of the street beneath will rattle your complete automobile prefer it’s making an attempt to shake it to items.

For probably the most half, although, the TT RS is significantly succesful. What can be quicker alongside a Welsh B-road? Nissan GT-R, maybe. John McGuinness out for a Sunday trip. However not a lot else. The factor is, velocity alone has by no means been the defining attribute of a fantastic sports activities automobile. The place’s the throttle adjustability, the intuitive sense of connection, the exploitable steadiness, the predictable bleeding away of grip? All absent, reserved just for the easiest driver’s automobiles.

The engine is a masterpiece, although. It is heartening to know you could possibly have one in a TT for less than Β£15,000 or so. The Mk2 RS has the identical pugnacious stance because the Mk3 and though its cabin feels rather more dated, its seating place is definitely much better. The clutch pedal is heavy whereas the gearshift is gentle, albeit with a barely notchy throw. Beneath your proper foot you will have quick response and bucketloads of energy and torque. I simply want the exhaust wasn’t fairly so restrictive as a result of the gruff, vocally off-beat soundtrack that you realize should be in there someplace by no means fairly finds its means out.

The Mk2 behaves lots just like the Mk3 on the street, simply in a much less subtle means. The suspension feels extra brittle and there is not the identical exact particular person wheel management. Whereas it would not handle a tough street floor something like as effectively, it stays astonishingly quick alongside a street. What helps is the huge entrance finish grip, which even on greasy surfaces by no means appears to decrease. Who says this stuff understeer?

Comparable in character, however not as effectively resolved because the Mk3 TT RS, the Mk2 is not any unheralded sports activities automobile masterpiece, both. However what of the oldest automobile right here, the Mk1 Quattro Sport? It jogs my memory that even a automobile of solely reasonable technical functionality can nonetheless be massively pleasurable to drive. The soundtrack is unusually muted, as if the engine and full exhaust system are wrapped in thick blankets, however there’s robust, pressing efficiency in a straight line. Once more, traction is absolute due to four-wheel drive. The gearshift is as gentle as a metropolis automobile’s and the steering the slowest of the group. It’s important to recalibrate for that, however even if you’re tuned into it there isn’t any actual interplay.

The Quattro Sport’s largest shortcoming from an goal viewpoint can be the factor that makes it probably the most pleasurable automobile of the three to drive. You can criticise the chassis for its failure to maintain the physique in verify, permitting it to rise and fall exaggeratedly over the form of the street, generally scraping the underside of the automobile in opposition to the asphalt or letting wheels and physique get hopelessly out of part. However then you definately would lose the automobile’s expressive and loose-limbed means of navigating a hillside route.

I loved stroking the Quattro Sport alongside at eight-tenths excess of I believed I’d, feeling the automobile rising and falling, its weight shifting over to the skin rear nook the second you tip it right into a bend. After the pair of RSs, which mistake uncooked velocity from level A to level B for involvement, the Quattro Sport is basically fairly an enticing factor to bob alongside in.

What it is not, although, is any kind of cut-price 911 GT3. It would not come near backing up the promise of its bucket seats, Alcantara wheel and stripped out cabin with a driving expertise to match. At finest it is a cosplay of the Porsche – the appropriate costume, however not one of the substance.

So in gentle of all of that, will we now have to revise our opinion of the TT as a sports activities automobile? No, I do not suppose we do. I swapped one for one more from dawn till sundown and by no means as soon as sensed any actual sports activities automobile genius in any. The sheer efficiency that sure variations of the Audi TT are in a position to extract from VW Golf underpinnings, nonetheless, is outstanding. They are often extremely succesful all-weather efficiency automobiles, efficient grand tourers and easy on a regular basis gadgets. However really nice sports activities automobiles? Nah. They seem to be a completely different factor altogether.

SPECIFICATION | AUDI TT RS Mk3
Engine:
2,480cc, five-cyl, turbo
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch
Energy: 400hp @ 5,850-7,000rpm
Torque: 354lb ft @ 1,700-5,850rpm
0-62mph: 3.7 secs
High velocity: 155mph
Kerb weight: 1,450kg
MPG: 30.7-31.0mpg
CO2: 181g/km
Worth: Β£54,895

SPECIFICATION | AUDI TT RS Mk2
Engine:
2,480cc, five-cyl, turbo
Transmission: Six-speed guide
Energy: 340hp @ 5,400-6,500rpm
Torque: 332lb ft @ 1,600-5,300rpm
0-62mph: 4.5 secs
High velocity: 155mph
Kerb weight: 1,450kg
MPG: n/a
CO2: n/a
Worth: from Β£15,000

SPECIFICATION | AUDI TT QUATTRO SPORT
Engine:
1,781cc, four-cyl, turbo
Transmission: Six-speed guide
Energy: 240hp @ 5,700rpm
Torque: 236lb ft @ 2,300-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 5.9 secs
High velocity: 155mph
Kerb weight: 1,416kg
MPG: n/a
CO2: n/a
Worth: from Β£6,000

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