Pure sports cars are bait. They tantalize, excite and bring prospects into showrooms. Often the customers leave, or buy something more practical with extra seats and doors. So if you're going to play in the luxury/performance park, then the price of admission could be a sports car such as the 2016 Audi TT.
Audi presents its all-new 2016 TT, which comes as a two-seat, fabric top convertible or as a 2+2 coupe. The latter has a mostly useless back seat. In the convertible -- Audi calls it a roadster -- the space is used to stash the top, which is cleverly designed to form its own boot cover when folded. There's a shallow trunk with 8 cubic feet of space.
The cockpit is so well protected that there's no wind blocker. But the roadster has built-in roll bars and a motorized trunk-mounted spoiler.
Power comes from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. In this application it is turbocharged and tuned to deliver 200 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which Audi says delivers a zero to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds with a top track speed of 130 mph.
Some enthusiasts likely will be disappointed by the lack of a manual gearbox. The only transmission is a six-speed twin clutch automatic with steering wheel mounted paddles for manual shifting. Power goes to all four wheels through Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive.
To enhance the driving experience, the TT offers an array of performance choices. A tip of the shift lever selects either "drive" or "sport" in the automatic mode. Unfortunately, there's no in-between setting. In "drive," the transmission shifts into the next gear at low rpms to enhance fuel economy. In "sport" it holds each gear to higher rpms to maintain power.
In addition, the TT offers four different driving modes, which alter suspension and steering: comfort, dynamic, auto and individual. The last can be programmed to driver preferences.
In the dynamic mode, the power is biased toward the rear wheels for more precise handling. But there's not a great deal of difference in feel among the settings. They all deliver quick handling and a supple ride that is surprisingly comfortable given the TT's tidy dimensions. It is 13 feet 9 inches long but weighs 3,186 pounds so it has a heavy, planted feel.
The twin clutch automatic transmission rapidly snaps shifts up and down. But it's hesitant off the line and, combined with some turbo lag, the driver is forced to be aggressive with the throttle to get rapid acceleration.
Gamers and screen time fans likely will appreciate the TT's new so-called virtual cockpit, which eschews a big center screen in favor of a 12.3-inch digital layout behind the steering wheel that displays everything from the speedometer and tachometer to the navigation screen, audio information and vehicle readouts.
The system can be mainly operated from the steering wheel, although Audi also offers its MMI controller that incorporates touch and voice control to operate navigation, audio and communications. As with other Audi vehicles, the TT can be equipped with a WiFi hotspot.
With all that, the TT does not come cheap. The base price of the tested roadster was $47,325. With the technology package that included navigation and the MMI system, 19-inch alloy wheels and a sport seat package that included Nappa leather seats with diamond stitching, the bottom line came to $54,700.
For those attracted to Audi's sophisticated and stylish interiors, the Quattro AWD and the TT's array of state of the art equipment, including LED headlights and taillights, the price will not seem excessive.
Copyright © 2015 Motor Matters
|Base price||$47,325 (as tested: $54,700)|
|Curb weight||3,186 lbs.|
|Engine type||16-valve 4-cyl. turbo w/TFSI|
|Epa mileage rating||23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway|
|Fuel capacity||14.5 gal.|
|Horsepower (net)||220 at 6200 rpm|
|Overall length||164.7 in.|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||258 at 1600-4400 rpm|
|Vehicle type||2+2-passenger AWD roadster|
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