The latest iteration of Audi’s unique TT preserves an outline first seen in 1995, when the TT debuted in motor shows across Europe. Since then, Audi has sold half a million of the slinky coupes, with few variations on the theme.

It’s been very careful not to disturb the TT’s distinct character and, in contrast to the model development of other cars, the new TT hasn’t got heavier, required bigger engines, or added newer versions that would detract from the feeling of a go-kart with a funky body.

But two brand-new features captured my interest in this Gen-3 TT Coupe.

Firstly, Audi’s “Virtual Cockpit” will excite the digitally wired consciousness of TT buyers. There are no instruments as such; a 12.3-inch display screen in the instrument binnacle runs a powerful chip at 60 frames per second so you can see the tacho spinning around the dial in real time. The navigation system has a panorama view that can fill the screen but, one button away, classic-style speedo and tacho images morph into view, with the map remaining in the centre.


The all new navigation system. Picture:


Audi followed Apple’s lead — a highly complex system with an ultra-simple interface that can all be accessed from the steering wheel.

Included is Audi’s voice-command system. Why keep that old restaurant list when you can tell your TT “I am looking for Chinese food”. It will list the closest takeaways and direct you there.

“Turn left and park. The restaurant is on the opposite side the road.”

Pity it doesn’t pay the bill.

The second eye-catching update are three large aircraft-style binnacles plumb centre of the dash that direct the strong climate-control airflow, and the controls are in the centre of each dial — fan speed, temperature setting and mode. This eliminates a complete panel of switches and is one of the most logical solutions I’ve seen. Everything else now seems clumsy.


The interior. Picture:

All TTs now have a 2.0-litre TFSI engine developing 169kW and 370Nm of torque. The car is limited to 250km/h, takes just 6secs to get to 100km/h (5.3 for the all-wheel-drive Quattro version), and in its 2WD form, uses just 5.9L/100km.

Twisty Tasmanian roads were the perfect place to illustrate TT’s outstanding roadholding and handling, which I am confident would reward even the best drivers. The Active Lane Assist applies a gentle tug in the direction you are turning as the car senses a bend through either the lane markings or the road edges. It’s even fun tooling around in traffic.

Audi has built the car with a longer wheelbase and wider track, even though it is shorter and narrower overall than the Gen 2. It’s also 50kg lighter, 23 per cent stiffer, and has a 10mm lower centre of gravity. The already brilliant Quattro drive system has new software developed in-house that shifts power to the rear wheels as you turn in, even before applying the throttle.

TT maxed out in sales in 2008 in Australia, selling 942 units. Last year was a paltry 125 as the model ran down and Gen 3 went on sale in Europe.

The local team plan to sell about 50 a month here and I suspect those buyers who park one in the garage this year will be Audi TT converts for many years to come.


The Audi Gen-3 TT Coupe's innovative design. Picture:




Models 2WD; Quattro

Price: $71,950 (man), $74,950 (auto); $77,950

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol

Outputs: 169kW/370Nm

Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto

Thirst: 5.9 L/100km-6.4L/100km


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© The West Australian

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