Audi TT review - Sharp design and improved dynamics for stylish coupe

The third generation TT moves the game on, being even better to live with but also sharper to drive

The Audi TT Coupe is now into its third-generation and, to drive, it’s the best yet. Although built on the VW Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, it retains the Audi Space Frame aluminium and steel hybrid construction of the previous models and, as you would expect, is lighter, more efficient and faster than before.

While the latest design update might be a bit conservative (from the outside, at least), the interior is by far one of the best put together of any road car currently on sale. As ever, it's a car that is just as much about style as it is driving dynamics and while more affordable models struggle to live up to their sporty looks, it's hard to deny that it isn't a desirable package.

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> Read our Audi TT RS review

The seperation between entry level diesel and front-wheel drive petrol models is significant when compared with the range-topping TTRS. The idea of a 227bhp 2.0-litre TFSI will likely be enough for most TT drivers, but it's hard not to ignore the 394bhp TT RS and its supercar-matching 3.7sec 0-62mph time.

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Audi TT - in detail

> Performance and 0-60 time - Even the slowest TTs are quick cars - the frugal diesel hits 62mph in 7.1sec. At 3.7sec to 62mph, the TT RS is mightily quick. Read more about the Audi TT's performance here

> Engine and gearbox - A manual transmission is standard in the TTS, with an S-tronic ‘box that adds a launch control function available as an option. Diesels have recently gained the option of all-wheel drive. Read more about the Audi TT's engines here

> Ride and handling - Multiple driver modes and the ability to tweak the minutest detail of the car’s driving dynamics means it’s hard to find an ideal setup. We suggest leaving everything in dynamic, apart from the dampers which do better in comfort. Read more about the Audi TT's ride and handling here

> MPG and running costs - The Audi TT isn’t a hugely cheap car at entry level spec, but it does deliver savings in fuel economy and road tax. Read more about the Audi TT's running costs here

> Interior and tech - A well built interior with a focus on simplicity and technology make the TT a nice place to sit. Read more about the Audi TT's interior and tech here

> Design - The TT’s unique shape has evolved in this latest generation, yet it remains instantly recognisable. Read more about the Audi TT's design here

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Prices, specs and rivals  

Pricing for the Audi TT coupe starts at £28,080, with drop-top TT Roadster versions £1765 extra. All come with classy niceties such as the MMI infotainment touch screen radio and the electromechanical parking brake. The S sports seats can be had with various leather and trim combinations while the extensive options list includes push-button starting, hill hold assist, high-beam assist, an LED interior lighting package and front seat heating. There’s a connectivity package, too, and if you want the whole nine yards  the 'MMI Navigation plus' set-up with its flash memory, two card readers, DVD drive, Bluetooth interface and voice control system.

Audi has recently introduced the combination of TDI and quattro to the UK, with coupes in Sport specification beginning at £34,230 with the diesel and all-wheel drive combination. It remains a frugal option, even with the extra driven wheels - 52.3mpg combined is the claim.

> Read our Porsche Cayman review here

The 227bhp petrol and 181bhp diesel models get 17-inch alloys as standard with the 18s and 19s available at extra cost, while Quattro models can be optioned with 20-inch wheels. The S line specification gets a unique look for the bumpers, air intakes, grille, sills and rear diffuser, as well as larger wheels and the no-cost option of 10mm lower sports suspension.

Porsche’s remarkably talented Cayman and BMW’s irrepressibly entertaining M240i are obvious competitors for the Audi TTS while, lower down the range, cars like the Volkswagen Scirocco R are right on the money for pace and dynamics.

We like the new Audi TT RS, but its high price tag (£51,800) puts it into the same ballpark as some fairly tempting metal, both new and used. Given a TT RS evo recently tested cost not far short of £70,000, a lightly-used Audi R8 may even be a rival.

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