No doubt the Audi TT was a cool looking coupe and even better looking roadster right from the get go back in 1998. Still, it didn’t really offer the same performance feel of other Audis, let alone rival two-seaters. Issues that even a gen two TT failed to completely resolve. So now another redesign has arrived with more promises of change. Let’s see if they’ve been fulfilled.
The 3rd-generation of the Audi TT, this 2016 Roadster, along with the Coupe, don’t look all that different from the original. But, fortunately, it has been macho-ed up a bit.
And the fact that it’s now riding on the A4’s MQB architecture means weight is trimmed over 100 pounds, helping the fun factor go way up.
Top operation is smooth and quick, and there’s only modest wind buffeting at speed.
Think of the optional heat vents in the seats as tiny dragons that breathe fire on your neck for those 50-degree mornings when you can’t resist going topless.
They say that familiarity breeds contempt; but spotting VW’s 2.0-liter I4 turbo under the hood gave us quite the opposite reaction, as it’s truly one of our favorite 4-bangers. It’s currently delivering 220-horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque here in the TT.
A 6-speed S tronic DCT is the lone available transmission; and all TTs are equipped with quattro all-wheel-drive which gets updated, becoming more fully integrated into Audi’s Drive Select system.
There’s a very simple layout to the interior, with no big touchscreen in the center stack. Rather, almost all pertinent info is displayed in the 12-inch IP screen. There are seemingly endless configurations, and the ability to bring a navigation map, google earth, and even the backup camera up full, front and center, is great.
But pushing the TT to the top of Mt. Cleverest, is Audi’s hiding of the climate controls and even heated seat controls in the actual vents themselves. It’s quite a revolutionary interior and high-tech minimalism at its finest.
More traditional minimalism describes the cargo space at 7.5 cubic-ft. As for human comfort, even big-and-talls will find plenty of room; and the seats are very cozy.
But it is the added wow factor to the driving that is the biggest change for us. This car impresses you at the seat of your pants level much more than ever before. Any rough edges that were present in previous TTs are long gone. The S tronic gearbox works almost perfectly in full auto, and there’s manual control when you want it.
Changing the drive modes brings a very noticeable change to the TT’s character. In Dynamic mode the car is very responsive with firmer suspension settings, and more responsive shifts. Auto mode is a good compromise for daily use, reacting to your driving style; save Comfort mode for the interstates.
Regardless of drive mode, off the line, quattro ensures a speedy launch; but the car never feels particularly powerful. Still, we hit 60 in a swift 5.4-seconds and cleared the ¼-mile in 13.9 at 99 miles-per-hour.
In similar fashion, through the cones, it feels more like an entertaining diversion, than an outright performance car. Though it’s noticeably stiffer than before and transitions very quickly with only a hint of body roll.
Steering is now sports car direct and precise; feel is light, but pretty decent compared to what we get these days. Stopping from 60 took a tidy…yes sports car like…111-feet. Good overall, but a firmer pedal would make it perfect.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in at 23-City, 30-Highway, and 26-Combined. So our 29.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular average was also quite good. As is the Energy Impact Score with 12.7-barrels of oil being used yearly with CO2 emissions of 5.6-tons.
If there’s a negative, it’s that TT Roadster pricing starts at $47,325. That’s a healthy 3-grand increase over last year, and of course you can still get a coupe for $43,825.
All told, our open air 2016 Audi TT felt exactly like what it is, a highly sophisticated, luxuriously appointed sports car. Think Golf Roadster with all the trimmings. And that’s not a put down at all as the Golf is one of our all-time favorites cars period.
Those seeking hardcore performance will still find promises partially unfulfilled. Still, this car shows it has potential to go much further and the innovative interior is just icing on the cake. So while you don’t need to spend nearly 50G’s for top down driving thrills, with the Mark 3 TT, you’ll be glad you did.
Engine: 2.0 liter I4
Torque: 258 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 99 mph
EPA: 23 mpg city/ 30 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.6 tons/yr